Online peer-to-peer lending portal opens for business with equity raising from Swiss bank

A new online peer-to-peer lending platform for UK commercial property is to launch next month, with potential initial lending capacity of £250m.

Relendex is the first platform in the fast-growing world of peer-to-peer lending that will provide loans secured against commercial property.

It will bring together prospective lenders and borrowers through an online platform that matches up the financial needs of both sides.

Peer-to-peer lending is a huge growth area of the financial and technology sector. The Centre for Study of Financial Innovation reports that sites such as Zopa, which provides unsecured personal finance, are set to lend £500m in the UK this year.

Money

Relendex has appointed Swiss private bank Mirabaud Securities to raise up to £250m from wealthy individuals and institutions to invest in loans through the platform. It will aim to provide returns of 5%-10% on senior loans and 10%-17% on junior loans.

Multiple investors can buy stakes in single loans, which will range from £500,000 to £25m.

The loans are originated, evaluated and monitored by the property arm of an international investment bank.

The platform was set up by property entrepreneur Sam Rosen, who was one of the co-founders of Burford, and Michael Lynn, a former financier with Charterhouse Group.

Former Rothschild head of lending Peter Johns is chairman of the company, and agent Mark Shipman is a non-executive director.

Michael Lynn, chief executive of the new lender, said: “Relendex was conceived to provide a simple solution to a major problem. With the banking sector all but moribund, property owners cannot satisfactorily refinance high-quality real estate assets.

“Meanwhile, investors are becoming frustrated at the lack of returns on traditional investment and asset classes. We’re solving this by bringing lenders and borrowers directly together in an open, transparent and trustworthy online exchange.

“Essentially, we are enabling private and institutional investors to become bankers to keen borrowers, thus creating a virtuous circle of high-quality capital. And we won’t stop there: our ambition is to become the Ebay of commercial property lending.”

Rob Roscoe, director at Mirabaud’s alternative investments division, said: “Relendex is a game changer: we believe that its disruptive technology could revolutionise commercial property lending.”

Read what acting editor Mike Phillips has to say about Relendex and new tech ideas in his Leader column.