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ZOPA was the first P2P lender in the UK. Zopa was founded in March 2005 by Giles Andrews, James Alexander, Richard Duvall, David Nicholson, Tim Parlett. Giles became chairman in 2015 and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the 2016 New Years Honours List (Part of the British Honours system).
ZOPA means Zone Of Possible Agreement, a negotiating term identifying the bounds within which agreement can be reached between two parties.
In 2011 the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association was established, with ZOPA as a founding member. ZOPA has a yearly celebration in Central London for its investors so they can all network, but this seems to have stopped. Typical returns ranges between 3.3% ~ 5.5% but is subject to P2P market variations.
The ZOPA platform has gone through many changes. Initially you were presented with different markets based on risk and could select your own interest rate - knowing that if you went too high you would lose takers and if you went too low you would get little return on investment, you also had to deal with defaults. A few years ago this was replace with just two markets: ZOPA core (about 4%) and ZOPA Plus (about 5.5%), although these change quite often but are update every four weeks and sent by email to ZOPA members. The return are certainly better than most banks but still not the highest, Funding Circle often has returns of 7%, although these returns are getting lower and lower every passing year from the initial 8%.
ZOPA has changed locations several times during it's 13 year history. It started in some back-street office but now resides in the Cotton Centre near the Thames with views over the city and HMS Belfast.