SME Lenders Make Senior Risk Hires

By Ryan Weeks on Wednesday 22 July 2015

Alternative Lending

The UK’s largest P2P small business lenders are gearing up to protect themselves against the challenges of rapid growth.

Both Funding Circle and ThinCats have today announced senior hires in the field of risk. Funding Circle, the world’s largest SME-focused marketplace lender, has plucked Jerome Le Luel from Barclays Group, where he served as Head of Risk Analytics. Le Luel takes up the role of Global Chief Risk Officer at Funding Circle – with oversight of both the UK and US operations. The former Barclays man boasts over 2 decades of risk and analytics experience, having also held the role of CRO for Barclaycard, which involved managing a £40bn lending portfolio across the US, Europe and Asia.

The platform also welcomes Manpreet Dhot, formerly Chief Credit Officer at American Express within the Latin American market. Dhot becomes Funding Circle’s Chief Risk Officer in the USA. Dhot has more than 15 years of experience in commercial and consumer credit risk management.

Funding Circle CEO and co-founder Samir Desai said of the hires:

“Financial services is undergoing the largest revolution anyone has ever seen. Marketplaces like Funding Circle are at the forefront of this revolution and we’re investing heavily in scaling the team to address the unprecedented demand we’re seeing in the market. Jerome and Manpreet are strong leaders with proven track records in building best-in-class risk management systems that enable rapid and resilient business growth, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the team.”

Rival peer-to-business lending platform ThinCats has made a similar appointment. Jill Sandford has joined the platform as Head of Risk, on secondment from Baker Tilly. Sandford is a Director of Restructuring and Recovery at Baker Tilly, and will take on responsibility for managing ThinCats’ loan book – which is currently worth around £120m. Ensuring that the platform’s recoveries processes maximise returns for private investors, processing loan documentation, overseeing risk and compliance and training the platform’s network of sponsors will be chief among her duties. Sandford holds over 30 years of experience in restructuring and is JIEB qualified.

Kevin Caley, MD of ThinCats, observed:

“Jill has a wealth of experience to bring to this post and we are delighted to welcome her to the team. Her experience will improve our ability to manage recoveries and will fit well with the need to recruit and train new sponsors. I am looking forward to working with her to strengthen our team.”

Both Funding Circle and ThinCats are over the £100m mark in cumulative lending (with the former closing in on three quarters of a billion). Both platforms have an overseas presence (Funding Circle in the US, ThinCats in Australia and Poland). Both platforms are balancing both retail and institutional capital. Risk is ubiquitous when running such multi-faceted, rapid growth companies – and both platforms are hiring in acknowledgement of that fact.

Have they been reading Mike Baliman

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