From today, ordinary investors can only deposit up to ten per cent of their assets in peer-to-peer loans, unless they’ve received regulated financial advice.
The cap has been introduced by the city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in a bid to prevent consumers over-exposing themselves to risk and to protect them from poor practice.
It forms part of a package of measures from the FCA aimed at cracking down on the industry.
Under the new rules, peer-to-peer platforms will also have to assess an investor’s knowledge of P2P and make sure they understand their money is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) before they allow them to invest.
Platforms will also need to adhere to stricter marketing rules, including a ban on mass advertising campaigns. This means advertising can only be targeted to high-net-worth or sophisticated investors.
When the rules were announced in June, Rhydian Lewis, chief executive of platform RateSetter, said the limit on savers’ first investment is “unnecessary and just patronises normal people”.
Today, he said: “For first-time P2P investors, ten per cent is a sensible place to start and once you are experienced you can invest more. This is exactly what we have seen over the last ten years, with people dipping their toe in and then growing as they see the value. The limit will become a target, encouraging every investor to think about diversifying some of their money into P2P.”