Peer-to-peer lending's fiercest critic has decided that alternative finance might be good for society after all. To those among us who thought he was also p2p's worst informed critic, this is something akin to the Vatican conceding that Galileo was right about the earth going around the sun. The damage won't be repaired until his new message reaches the people who were frightened away by the old one.
The former regulator made a speech at the LendIt Europe conference on Tuesday, in which he made it clear that he no longer believes the highly emotive things he said on Radio 4's Today Programme in February. He now believes that it has a valuable contribution to make, could make credit crunches less likely, and is "likely to become a stable, significant and useful part of our total credit supply system."
Oscar Williams-Grut of Business Insider was at the conference and has more details. If we find a full transcript of the speech, or a video, we'll post a link.
In a report of Lord Turner's speech, the Telegraph made the highly pertinent point that "unlike banks, peer-to-peer lets us examine the risks." it does. It'sup to you whether you do examine the risks, so if you're not comfortable making the effort to check your investments, you might want to pass up on the opportunity. But peer-to-peer offers superior returns to those who are willing to apply a little intelligence to some basic evidence.
We're grateful that Lord Turner took a look at the evidence about peer-to-peer lending, and changed his mind when he understood the facts. We're also unhappy that he spoke first before he had the facts, but you can't have everything.
Conference organisers take heed: the next time you book a controversial speaker to address your event, you may get let less than you bargained for.