Advising Funding Circle on Listing and £150 million Equity Raise

30 Nov 2015

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has advised Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited (the “Company”) on its placing and offer for subscription of £150 million ordinary shares in the Company (the “Ordinary Shares”), the establishment of a £350 million share issuance programme, and the Company’s admission to the premium segment of the official list (“Admission”) and trading on the LSE’s main market (together, the “Issue”). The prospectus relating to the Issue was released on Thursday 12 November and Admission occurred this morning.

The Funding Circle group operates marketplace lending services which allow investors to lend money directly to small and medium sized businesses (“SMEs”). Funding Circle is the largest UK marketplace business lending platform, and in aggregate, was the fifth highest net lender to SMEs in the UK in the first quarter of 2015. In the US, more than US$55 million was lent via the Funding Circle US marketplace in the first quarter of 2015. In addition to the UK and US, Funding Circle has recently expanded its operations, by acquisition of the leading continental European business lending marketplace, into Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

The Company is a newly incorporated fund, whose investment objective is to provide shareholders with a sustainable and attractive level of dividend income. The Company will provide investors with access to a diversified pool of loans originated through Funding Circle’s marketplaces, and its investment policy will focus on small business lending in the UK and US. The Company will become a strategic lender to the Funding Circle marketplaces and is intended to grow in line with those marketplaces.

Martin Cook, UK General Counsel of Funding Circle commented: "The launch of Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited is an exciting new development in Funding Circle's journey, and a landmark transaction for marketplace lending in general. The Simmons team played an important role in this success and have supported us throughout the launch process across all disciplines, in particular in funds, corporate and tax. The counsel provided throughout has been first rate."

Commenting on the transaction, David Williams said: "We are proud to be advising on the launch of Funding Circle SME Income Fund Limited. This fund is a major new player in a highly innovative sector, and we are delighted to be leading the way in the fintech world. The launch also showcases the ongoing success of our leading listed funds practice."

The Simmons & Simmons team advising the Company is being led by funds partner David Williams and corporate partner Patrick Graves. Other key members of the team include Darren Oswick (partner, tax), Angus McLean (partner, IP), Penny Miller (partner, financial services regulatory), Charles Hawes (capital markets), Stephanie Featherstone (supervising associate, corporate), Charles Vermeylen (supervising associate, funds), Lydia Torne (supervising associate, IP), Aqeel Noorali (associate, funds), Matthew Norris (associate, tax), Katie O’Mahoney (trainee solicitor, corporate) and Athena Tan (trainee solicitor, funds). 
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5. Funding Circle (www.fundingcircle.com) is the world’s leading online marketplace for business loans, matching small businesses who want to borrow with investors who want to lend in both the UK, the US and across Europe. Since launching in 2010, investors at Funding Circle - including 45,000 individuals, financial institutions and the UK Government - have now invested more than $1.5 billion in 12,500 businesses, and currently lend $120 million per month. Funding Circle was the first marketplace to announce a formal referral partnership with Santander, one of the UK’s leading high street banks, and has since announced a similar partnership with RBS. It has raised $273m in equity capital from the same investors that backed Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb and Wealthfront.

6. For further information, please contact Heather McMaster, Senior Communications & PR Executive on +44 20 7825 3962 or at heather.mcmaster@simmons-simmons.com, or Lauryn Mann, Communications & PR Executive on +44 20 7825 3764 or at lauryn.mann@simmons-simmons.com