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Zopa’s CEO included in the FinTech 40

We were pleased to see that Zopa’s CEO, Giles Andrews, was included in Financial News’s annual FinTech 40, a list of the most influential people in European FinTech.

He was one of six alternative finance CEOs who made the list, which also included Samir Desai of Funding Circle, Anil Stocker of MarketInvoice and Jeff Lynn of Seedrs. Industry news site AltFi Finance pointed out that the number of alternative finance industry representatives on the list has trebled since 2014.

This provides an interesting snapshot of the FinTech industry and alternative finance’s place within it.

Alternative finance is growing rapidly

The rapid growth in the number of alternative finance representatives on the list is certainly in keeping with the sector’s expansion. The latest alternative finance report from Nesta (PDF), out last December so already likely to be out-of-date, found that the UK alternative finance sector has doubled in size every year since 2012. Some sectors, for example equity crowdfunding, are registering growth rates in the hundreds of percent. Here at Zopa, we’ve doubled our loan volume in the last year.

And the UK is at the heart of the boom

All six alternative finance CEOs are based in the UK. This isn’t surprising as the UK is the European leader for alternative finance, home to £2.4 billion of the continent’s £3 billion market according to the FT.

Together they make up 15% of the list. This is a significant presence, which reflects the influence the sector is having on FinTech and financial services. This is partly to do with the rapid growth rate, which will see alternative finance account for a larger and larger market share, but also to do with the disruptive effect of its ideas and ways of working.

Alternative finance is the future says World Economic Forum

The focus of recent World Economic Forum report on the future of financial services reflects this. It’s an interesting read, and looks at how the financial services sector’s future is tied up with the alternative finance sector and the technologies it’s pioneering, from peer-to-peer platforms to cryptocurrencies. Unsurprisingly, it concludes that alternative finance will re-shape the future of the whole financial services industry.

Back to the FinTech 40 list, we were pleased to see that within the six alternative finance entries, peer-to-peer is strongly represented. Joining Zopa and Funding Circle are CEOs of two peer-to-peer investment funds, GLI Finance and Eaglewood.

It’s a great endorsement for Zopa. As the pioneers of peer-to-peer lending, we have seen a diverse, innovative and influential fintech industry emerge, which is challenging and changing the face of finance for the better. We’re already awaiting next year’s list, and expect to see even more alternative finance CEOs in the 2016 FinTech 40.