Stephenson Harwood and Travers Smith advise on P2PGI IPO

Stephenson Harwood and Travers Smith took key roles on the launch and flotation of peer-to-peer (P2P) loans business P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) on the London Stock Exchange’s main market.

The IPO has made P2PGI the first ever UK-listed company dedicated to investing in loans originated by global P2P and online lending platforms. P2P lending platforms are growing in popularity, connecting borrowers with lenders online to provide cheaper finance than banks – marking a continuing trend away from traditional bank finance.

Another P2P lending platform, $3.75bn US business Lending Club, is also thought to be preparing for an IPO.

Stephenson Harwood advised P2PGI on all the legal and regulatory issues involved in the IPO, as well as assisting with the business’ application for an FCA interim permission for consumer credit regulated activities in connection with its investments in UK consumer loans.

Corporate partner William Saunders led for the firm, alongside associates Kate Longman and Carolyn Hall.

Travers Smith advised placing agent Liberum Capital on the deal, led by listed funds head Aaron Stocks and investment funds senior associate Will Normand.

Background to this deal:

The deal is thought to mark Stephenson Harwood’s first-ever mandate from P2PGI’s investment manager Marshall Wace, a London-based alternative fund manager.

In preparation for this launch, Marshall Wace acquired a 90 per cent interest in New York-based peer-to-peer specialist Eaglewood Capital Management in April 2014. On that transaction, Seward & Kissel advised as US counsel alongside Simmons & Simmons in the UK.

Back in 2008, Marshall Wace instructed legacy Herbert Smith on its listing of hedge fund MW Tops. Stephenson Harwood also scored a role on that transaction, with financial adviser Hoare Govett turning to the firm for advice (25 February 2008).