ISLAMABAD: With an aim to increase access to finance for small businesses, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has notified the regulatory framework for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending. The new framework, introduced under the NBFC Regulations, 2008, sets out the eligibility requirements and the process of applying to SECP for permission to work as a P2P Service Provider.

Under the framework, a lending NBFC having a valid license is eligible to apply for permission to act as P2P Service Provider subject to fulfilling certain requirements including additional equity; demonstrable technological, entrepreneurial and managerial resources; viable business plan; and a robust and secure information technology system.

Furthermore, the prudential norms under the framework specify the limits for loan size, exposure to lenders, maximum investment, maturity period of loans and eligibility of lenders and borrowers.

The rollout of P2P Lending Framework, following its successful testing under SECP’s Regulatory Sandbox, is a value addition in the financial landscape of Pakistan and is expected to contribute significantly towards improving financial inclusion in the country, especially for small business enterprises that otherwise do not have access to formal finance.

Globally, tech-enabled P2P lending has emerged as an alternative to formal bank lending. It provides an online marketplace that matches investors willing to lend money, with the borrowers seeking loans; hence, eliminating the need for financial intermediation by conventional financial institutions.