Aegon and Funding Circle have announced a strategic long term partnership which will see the Dutch financial giant pump £160m into UK SMEs over the next 12 months.
The partnership will see Aegon invest in loans to UK small businesses originated through Funding Circle, a leading lending platform for small businesses.
The partnership will see Aegon fund £160m of loans in the first 12 months under a framework agreement, with the intention to extend this step-by-step into a four year funding program.
In the first year the investment will help approximately 2,600 UK businesses to access finance, creating an estimated 6,400 new jobs and providing a much-needed boost to UK small businesses.
The economic secretary to the treasury, Stephen Barclay, said: "Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and it's fantastic news that Aegon are investing through Funding Circle to help them thrive and grow.
“This partnership with one of the UK's largest fintech firms is further proof that the UK remains the global leader in fintech. Aegon's venture also shows that there is significant appetite for inward investment into the UK and we hope to see more deals of this scale in the future."
Aegon joins a wide range of investors lending directly to small businesses through Funding Circle, including 65,000 individuals, local councils, the government-owned British Business Bank, the European Investment Bank and other financial institutions.
By bringing together industry leading risk management and cutting edge technology, investors in the UK have earned an average 6.6% per year and around £135m of net interest over the last seven years.
Mike de Boer, CFO at Aegon Bank NV said: "Funding Circle allows small businesses to access much needed funding. The strategic partnership we have signed with Funding Circle is another important step in the strategy of Aegon to cooperate with Fintech partners in the direct lending landscape.
“This partnership gives Aegon access to attractive small business loans over the next four years, which helps to further diversify our investment portfolio. High savings inflow of our successful Fintech Knab banking operation is used to invest in the Funding Circle loans."
Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle said: "This partnership is validation of the attractive risk-adjusted returns that are being generated to investors by lending through Funding Circle. Now investors of all shapes and sizes can benefit from the stability of the asset class whilst also providing much-needed job creation and economic growth. We hope our joint programme with Aegon will develop to deliver increased lending to UK small businesses over the coming years."
To date, Funding Circle has facilitated more than £2.5bn of loans to 26,000 businesses in the UK. The platform allows any investor, big or small, to lend directly to small businesses and today's news is recognition of the role lending platforms have to play in stimulating the real economy, whilst providing investors with attractive risk-adjusted