Hedge fund manager Marshall Wace is queuing up to IPO their Peer to Peer lending fund – seeking to raise £200 million. The global investment fund wants to capitalize on the seismic shift from traditional bank finance to P2P lending platforms. The shares are expected to list on the London Stock Exchange – additional details regarding the forthcoming offer were not available.
The announcement comes in the wake of last months acquisition by Marshall Wace of Eaglewood Capital Management – described as a P2P specialist. Reports indicate that the fund will invest in a cross section of P2P asset classes as well as the equity of the fast growing companies. Many P2P platforms are closely held but as the companies grow expectations are increasing that these companies will become publicly listed as they supplant the banking industry. Lending Club, the leading US based P2P platform most recently valued at $3.75 billion is presently preparing for a public offering within months.
Recently New York based Eaglewood Capital Management announced that it had completed a $47 million increase to the $53 million securitization of the first ever securitization of P2P consumer loans. The $100 million combined transaction securitized unsecured consumer loans originated through the LendingClub Corporation and purchased by Eaglewood’s inaugural fund, Eaglewood Income Fund I, LP.
P2P assets may offer a higher rate of return at a lower risk level currently available from traditional debt based securities. Marshall Wace is one of the first significant hedge funds to recognize this unique opportunity and have quickly moved to take advantage of it.
UK research group NESTA estimated that over £480 billion was lent by P2P companies in 2013. This amount is predicated to increase dramatically in 2014.