LendInvest beefs up management team

LendInvest has announced its second hire in a week ahead of a planned push into mortgage lending.

Online marketplace platform LendInvest has hired its first head of credit, Roy Armitage. The appointment follows hot on the heels of the firm announcing the hiring of its first head of distribution last week, Matthew Tooth.

LendInvest, which has originated almost £400 million of short-term loans for UK property entrepreneurs, is strengthening its management team as it prepares to target “significant growth” in the next few years.

Formerly head of risk, compliance and financial crime at UK residential lender Kensington Mortgages, Armitage will be responsible for building out LendInvest’s risk infrastructure. He will liaise with the company’s key stakeholders including institutions, regulators and rating agencies.

Armitage brings with him 40 years’ experience in mortgage and retail financial services. Most recently, he spent 14 years at Kensington Mortgages, which was bought by Investec in 2007. He oversaw a rebuild of the firm’s credit risk and underwriting framework, after it re-entered the post-crisis mortgage market. Prior to Kensington, Armitage spent two years at JP Morgan and 23 years with Halifax in a number of mortgage and retail financial services roles.

Christian Faes, co-founder and chief executive officer of LendInvest, commented: “With his wealth of experience and his enthusiasm to help build a nimble, fast-growing company like LendInvest, I am delighted that Roy is joining us. Under his leadership, our risk and underwriting team can develop the sort of market-leading checks and balances that our customers and creditors expect from us.”

LendInvest received the peer-to-peer industry’s first credit rating this summer, Faes said. “The demand for clear credit controls will only increase as we seek more recognised ratings in the coming months,” Faes added.

Armitage commented: “LendInvest does things in a more innovative way than traditional mortgage lenders, but at its core are sound mortgage lending processes and procedures.”

Last week, LendInvest announced it had brought on Matthew Tooth from FTSE 250-listed online trading group IG Group. Tooth, with 20 years’ experience in financial services, was a group-level business development director at the £2.7 billion financial technology company. At LendInvest, he will be responsible for improving the distribution channels and processes used to bring on board borrowers, brokers and investors.

Faes commented: “Adding Matt to our senior management team is a coup for LendInvest as we gear up to increase our share of the short-term mortgage market. As he builds on our reputation for quality service and technology, Matt can draw on his rare professional experience from his career at IG Group – one of the biggest FinTech success stories of the last ten years.”

LendInvest is on track to triple its lending in 2015 year-on-year, Faes said. “We are targeting significant growth over the next few years,” he added.
Tooth commented: “By ensuring that we do things with the speed, transparency, efficiency and authority that our investors, brokers and borrowers value most, LendInvest has the potential to become a leader in the UK mortgage market which is ripe for transformation.”

LendInvest, which spun out of Montello Bridging Finance in 2013, makes loans with terms of between 1 and 36 months. All loans are secured by a registered first charge against property in the UK and the firm said it has provided returns to investors of between 6 and 9 percent per annum.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, LendInvest became the first peer-to-peer platform to be rated by a regulated credit rating agency in June 2015. It received a rating of SQ1 from ARC Ratings based on the ability to originate dealflow and its underwriting and servicing capabilities.