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Woodford and Artemis ramp up stakes in P2P firm

Woodford and Artemis ramp up stakes in P2P firm

Neil Woodford and fund group Artemis have added to their stakes in RateSetter, after the peer-to-peer lender conducted a funding round to finance the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA.

RateSetter has raised £13 million from existing shareholders, including Woodford and Artemis, in a fundraise that valued the unquoted business at over £200 million.

RateSetter has now raised more than £40 million from investors since its launch in 2010. They include Citywire A-rated Woodford, who held a stake worth around £9 million in his £10.1 billion Woodford Equity Income fund in the company prior to the latest funding round.

John Dodd meanwhile holds a stake worth £1.6 million in his £149.2 million Artemis Alpha (ATS) investment trust, while William Littlewood has a stake of the same size in his £801.2 million Artemis Strategic Assets fund.

RateSetter is one of the big three peer-to-peer lenders, alongside Funding Circle and Zopa, having lent nearly £2 billion since its launch seven years ago.

So far its fund manager backers have made a paper return on their investment, with the valuation of the business rising from £150 million to £200 million in under two years.

RateSetter said it would use the proceeds of the fundraise to 'scale up the business' ahead of the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA.

These new ISAs, which will house peer-to-peer loans, have been a long time coming. Previous chancellor George Osborne announced plans for the new savings vehicles as far back as the 2014 budget, and while the new rules came into effect in April, last year, the products have been slow to come to market.

Lenders have been l from the Financial Conduct Authority and authorisation from HM Revenue & Customs to launch the schemes.

In a note on its website RateSetter said it was 'in advanced stages of obtaining full authorisation - we cannot confirm a date yet but we can confirm it is progressing well'.

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