Neil Roberts steps down from Harmoney's board but remains CEO and majority shareholder

Neil Roberts steps down from Harmoney's board but remains CEO and majority shareholder

The founder, CEO and majority shareholder of New Zealand's first licensed peer-to-peer lender, Harmoney, has stepped down as a director.

Companies Office records show Neil Roberts ceased to be a director of Harmoney on July 24.

Harmoney chairman Rob Campbell told interest.co.nz it was Roberts' decision, and confirmed he remains CEO and hasn't sold down his shareholding.

"He can of course, with his majority shareholding, reappoint himself to the board at any time," Campbell, who said Harmoney has lent about $86 million to date, added.

He said there were no plans to add another director to the board to replace or represent Roberts.

 "Every director is committed to acting in the best interests of Neil and the business so we do not perceive any issue there," said Campbell.

Aside from Campbell, Harmoney's other directors are Bell Gully Partner David Flacks, the CEO of Localist Christina Domecq, Tracey Jones who is chief financial officer and chief operating officer of private investment portfolio Tappenden Holdings Limited, and Trade Me chief financial officer Jonathan Klouwens. Trade Me owns a 15% stake in Harmoney and Heartland Bank 11%. Roberts owns 50.7%.

Campbell said Harmoney was continuing to work on regulatory approval to enable it to operate in Australia.

"That work and preparation to operate in that market is well advanced and we have senior management in place for that. Harmoney as a whole is making great progress, coming up to our first full year of operation. We will be giving the market a full update at that point (September)," Campbell added.

Meanwhile, Harmoney says July has been its best month yet for retail investor deposits, with 250 new sign ups and $3.4 million deposited.

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Hmmm....all kinds of issues going on over from a lender's perspective. It was all looking so good and exciting.

Their first set of results reported the other day were not that clever either - $6m loss?

A start-up posting a loss is to be expected. I wouldn't read anything into that.

Given the rather small amount of business they 'wrote' (to borrow an insurance term) it looks rather a sizable sum to me. At any rate it looks rather probable that their business model is shortly to be tested rather harshly in the cauldron of a NZ recession. Lets see how their lenders feel being exposed to sub-prime borrowers for a minimum of 3 years (unless they have recently changed those onerous terms) under recessionary conditions shall we?

Gulp. Yes, I hear you. it's not just the stability of the borrowers I'm concerned about now. Perhaps I should have double downed on a CBD apartment. Looking to miles safer.

that's a massive loss in the finance game. its not like they require heaps of capital like banks/finance companies - so what's happened?

Doesn't their logo say it all? 'Borrow for Less' , up there on the top. Whilst the 'Invest for More' bit is upside down on the bottom like a dead fish!