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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Innovative Finance #ISA

The Treasury has announced the details of its commitment to extend tax-free Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) to include peer-to-peer loans from 6 April 2016, effectively adding a third basket for your nest eggs. The enabling regulations will be published later this year. In the meantime, the government is also consulting on adding certain 'crowd-investment' instruments to ISAs in due course.

From April 2016, there will be a new "Innovative Finance ISA" in which individual investors will be able to hold P2P loans (formally known as 'article 36H agreements' in article 36H of the FSMA (Regulated Activities) Order 2001, and "P2P agreements" in the FCA's Handbook).

Advisers will be able to advise on P2P loans within the scope of their existing FCA advisory authorisation.

For ease of administration, each P2P lending platform is likely to become the ISA Manager for the Innovative Finance ISA that covers P2P loans agreed on its platform. 

P2P platforms (and other relevant ISA managers) will not be required to enable customers to sell their loans or to move their loans to another platform. But platforms may, if they wish, facilitate the sale of loans on their own secondary markets (as some do already) and enable the transfer of the cash proceeds to another ISA manager - indeed customers must be able to withdraw un-lent cash withdrawn within 30 days. However, it won't be possible for you to transfer only part of the money you subscribed in that tax year.

The different rules for P2P loans mean that they won't qualify for Junior ISAs or Child Trust Funds, which are less flexible than adult ISAs.