As we have reported previously, Europe’s leading P2P lending provider TrustBuddy is currently applying for a Swedish License for Certain Consumer Credit-related Operations issued by Finansinspektionen (“FI”), the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, with the goal to operate as an authorised consumer credit institution.
After FI’s decision to reject the Company`s Credit Facilitator license application in the summer 2014, TrustBuddy has decided to exclusively conduct financial intermediation. This means that TrustBuddy is not taking any customer credit in their own book, but simply continue to convey loans between lenders and borrowers. TrustBuddy has during this period undergone extensive operational, financial and organisational changes in order to comply with FI’s rules and guidance, including the appointment of a new CEO. Furthermore, TrustBuddy manage to bring experienced individuals with good reputation in the financial community to its Board of Directors, such as Mr Simon Nathanson, the new Chairman of the Board.
Elsewhere, we note that TrustBuddy was assisted in the application by law firm Setterwalls, which has very good credentials. One of the lawyers involved in the process used to be head of Listing and Surveillance at NASDAQ OMX-Stockholm Stock Exchange and in the course of time also for NASDAQ OMX’s all seven stock exchanges in Scandinavia and Baltic countries between 2001 and 2008. Before that he built up and was responsible for the Compliance function within the SEB Group worldwide. Prior to his time at SEB, he was employed at the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority as head of licensing and supervision of investment companies, banks and investment funds.
Finally, we note that on December 8th 2014, TrustBuddy’s Swedish competitor JSM Financial Group AB received exactly the license that TrustBuddy has applied for. JSM Financial Group is a privately held company, operating Cashbuddy and Cash2you. Both platforms mediate loans between private individuals, with a maximum amount of SEK 25,000 and duration of 1 – 5 years.
All in all, we believe that chances are high that TrustBuddy will receive the Swedish License for Certain Consumer Credit-related Operations issued by Finansinspektionen. This would be an important acknowledgement of the quality of TrustBuddy. We find it important to note, nevertheless, that even in the unlikely scenario of a rejection, TrustBuddy could still continue to operate in Sweden, similar to the set-ups in Denmark and Norway it is currently running. Moreover, it is important to know that TrustBuddy already has several licenses in place. The recently acquired Dutch company Geldvoorelkaar is the first P2P lending platform with a credit licence issued by the Dutch Financial authority (AFM). Also, the acquisition of the Italian company Prestiamoci is conditional upon Prestiamoci receiving a payment services, PSD, license. Thirdly, TrustBuddy announced in August 2014 the purchase of a United Kingdom based financial services company with interim permission under the new regulation by the FCA.
Finally, we advice all interested investors to read the recent company presentation provided by TrustBuddy: http://trustbuddyinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/TrustBuddy-Group.pdf