Abundance boss joins government’s Green Finance Taskforce

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 19 September 2017

Alternative Lending

Bruce Davis represents P2P lending sector in government's new green initiative.

Bruce Davis represents P2P lending sector in government's new green initiative.

Bruce Davis, co-founder and MD of green energy-focused P2P platform Abundance, has been appointed to the government’s Green Energy Taskforce. The group has been set up to help accelerate the growth of green finance and the UK’s low carbon economy.

Abundance is the UK’s biggest green energy-centric peer-to-peer site, with roughly £50m in finance facilitated for projects to date, according to AltFi Data. Its investors are able to invest in debentures for projects such as wind turbines and solar farms, and can hold those investments in an Innovative Finance ISA.

Davis is the only representative of the UK’s nascent alternative finance sector to have been appointed to the taskforce.

“Abundance is proud to be included in the new Government Taskforce on Green Finance and wholeheartedly welcomes the aim to make the UK a global hub for green finance,” said Davis. “We are also keen to find ways to allow as many people as possible to put their money to work in a way that fits their values and directly supports the UK's transition to a clean growth economy.”

Davis is a veteran of the UK’s peer-to-peer lending sector. Before founding Abundance he was involved in the launch of Zopa, the world’s first P2P platform, back in 2005. 

Cuts to feed-in tariffs (or FITs) have significantly changed the landscape for renewable energy investment over the past few years. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) also used to cover renewable energy investments, but this was put a stop to in 2014. This combination of cuts has made life difficult for renewable energy investors.

However, Julia Groves, who runs Downing Crowd, a rival to Abundance, told AltFi in April that the IFISA may come to the rescue, as the only tax-break in town for investors with an appetite for renewables.

“Now that investors can use their ISA to invest in Crowd energy bonds, we can offer the scale of funding, at competitive enough rates, to back a resurgence in UK renewable energy projects, and in doing so give everyone a stake in a sustainable energy future,” she said at the time.

Doubtless Davis, in his new role, will look to drive uptake of the IFISA. The taskforce will host its first meeting in late September – and will publish its terms of reference shortly after.

Its membership is comprised of senior figures from across the financial services sector, including Nikhil Rathi, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, Michael Sheren, senior adviser at Bank of England, and Daniel Klier, group head of strategy and global head of sustainable finance at HSBC. Sir Roger Gifford is the group’s chair, representing the Green Finance Initiative.

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