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Matheson Advises on EIB’s First Marketplace Lending Investment
Matheson advises Funding Circle on the European Investment Bank's first investment in UK marketplace lending
Matheson acted as Irish legal and tax counsel advising Funding Circle in connection with the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) £100 million investment in loans to UK SMEs. This investment is to be originated through Funding Circle’s online marketplace lending platform by an Irish financing company. The transaction is the first marketplace lending investment by the EIB.
Funding Circle is the largest UK marketplace lending platform and has facilitated more than £1.3 billion of loans to over 16,000 businesses in the UK since its establishment in 2010.
Funding Circle SME Income Fund will also participate in the transaction alongside the EIB with an investment of £25 million. Overall, the partnership between the EIB and Funding Circle will enable over £200 million of new loans to be made to UK SMEs over a period of seven years and is indicative of the importance of marketplace lending as an efficient and effective way for SMEs to access non-traditional bank finance. Improving access to finance for SMEs is a top priority for the EIB. SMEs are important drivers of growth, employment and innovation in Europe and represent over 90% of businesses in the EU employing two thirds of the active working population.
Alan Keating, Partner in Matheson’s Structured Finance Group, who led the Matheson team advising on the transaction said:
“We were delighted to work with Funding Circle again on this new and innovative partnership with the EIB. It represents the first of its kind providing a further boost to the European marketplace lending industry as an efficient and viable way of funding SMEs."