Hedge Fund Marshall Wace Invests in Peer-to-Peer Lender

Hedge-fund manager Marshall Wace LLP bought a stake in a firm that will create a closed-end fund to allow institutional and private investors access to peer-to-peer lending programs.

Marshall Wace, the $12.4 billion firm founded by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace, bought a controlling interest in Exchange Associates (U.K.) Ltd. from investment bank Liberum Capital LLP, the two London-based firms said in a statement today. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Peer-to-peer lenders put investors together with individuals and businesses that need small loans, charging a fee for making that connection. Such lending “has the potential to transform consumer and small-to-medium enterprise lending practices worldwide,” Marshall Wace partner Michael Sargent said in the statement.

The fund is expected to be traded on the London Stock Exchange “in coming months,” according to the statement, without being specific.