Money&Co pipeline

February 11th, 2016
Money&Co

Money&Co have announced that have a pipeline of loans in excess of £4million over the next quarter.  This was announced in an email sent to lenders providing an update on their business.  Money&Co also stated that they they are to offer asset backed loans in order to broaden their offering.

Here is the full email:

We are conscious that 2016 has started without an auction on the site, which is disappointing, and so the purpose of this message is to give you an update regarding the strength of our transaction pipeline going forward.

It is important to emphasise that Money&Co. consciously differentiates itself from other peer-to-peer business lenders by employing a more forensic approach to its due diligence.  The downside of this is that lead times for a transaction are typically longer than for other sites, but lenders should take comfort from the knowledge that a more rigorous appraisal of potential borrowers is undertaken, which is reflected in the quality of the current loan book.  In addition, we have established a reputation with borrower introducers as a specialist in acquisition financing in its various forms.  Such deals typically require more analysis than a request for a conventional corporate loan and are likely to involve delays because of the involvement of a wider set of parties.  In our view, it is worth being patient in order to gain participation in these deals.

We are currently actively working on transactions with an aggregate value in excess of £4 million, including two deals with a total value of £2.7 million, for which credit applications are being prepared now with funding required in April/May.  We are also hoping to bring two smaller transactions to the site in the coming weeks.  Finally, we have been selected by a further three borrowers who are seeking exclusivity on their part in the hope of concluding acquisitions over the next eight weeks.  These transactions represent a further potential funding requirement of £1.8 million.

Against this background, and in order to grow our transaction flow going forward, we are increasing the size of the Credit Team and also extending our product range to include asset-backed lending in order to broaden our offering to lenders.  We expect the number of auctions to increase dramatically on the site in the coming months and we hope that you will continue to lend through Money&Co.

Thank you for lending with Money&Co.

Folk2Folk expanding nationwide

January 25th, 2016
Folk2Folk

South West based traditional business lender Folk2Folk are looking to expand nationwide by creating a national legal panel.  This is to support Folk2Folk's local and traditional lending model.

Here is the full press release:

Today, Folk2Folk, a leading Peer-to-Peer lender (P2P) to business, announced plans to team up with the legal profession with its launch of a national Legal Panel.  The Legal Panel will form a national network of law firms to support the company’s local secured lending model as a central part of its national expansion programme.

Folk2Folk offers a simple and approachable way for people in business to access interest only funds and a unique opportunity for people to lend within their local area whilst benefitting from a great interest rate.  This model has helped mobilise money in the countryside and reenergised many small businesses that would have otherwise lacked the necessary investment to develop. Rather than using the judgement criteria of banks, Folk2Folk takes a different and holistic view of the Borrower assessing each case individually.  As businesses continue to struggle to secure finance from the banks, Folk2Folkprovides a refreshing and friendly alternative.

Built upon traditional values, the company has enjoyed huge success since its inception in 2013, growing to become a leading lender to rural business and introducing more than £81 million of lending from local investment. Cumulative volume of lending increased 100% in 2015 from £40 million to £80 million. The company has supported businesses and facilitated millions of pounds of investment by introducing lenders to borrowers in various industries. The success in the South West is an indication of the strong demand for a different and people focused service such as Folk2Folk.

Fundamental to the success of Folk2Folk is the company’s focus on lending within communities - helping local money work for local people.  The creation of a national Legal Panel will enable Folk2Folk to expand nationally while maintaining its traditional values and local focus through a network of local law firms. Panel law firms will carry out the legal work necessary to complete loans in their locality and provide Folk2Folk with local knowledge as part of the security process.

The Legal Panel is a fundamental part of Folk2Folk’s wider national expansion strategy to develop an extensive and wide reaching group of professional networks; focusing on regions where demand is strongest, and extending its physical presence through an increased number of High Street branches.

The lending Folk2Folk has introduced to date has helped to deliver a broad range of projects including farm diversification, property development, equestrian centres, wedding venues, and golf courses. Lenders receive competitive returns on their investment and the security of a first mortgage, whilst at the same time supporting their local community.

Folk2Folk’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Dumeresque, said: “Local lawyers are a crucial part of the effective workings of Folk2Folk’s business model.  As we expand nationally, we are committed to maintaining our unique local focus.  So at a time when other Legal Panels are being disbanded, we are shining the spotlight on local law firms and actively seeking to recruit them to our Legal Panel.  Local community knowledge and expertise is paramount to the success we have seen so far and we are looking forward to teaming up with local law firms to continue that success across the country.”

Folk2Folk is currently recruiting law firms to join the Panel and is seeing strong interest from the legal profession.  Folk2Folk expect many more firms from across the country to sign up to the Legal Panel over the coming months.

Five suggestions on where to invest in 2016

January 13th, 2016
mintos

Guest entry by Martins Sulte, Mintos CEO and co-founder

Any investment carries a certain responsibility. Modern technologies make new investment possibilities ever more available and ensure reduced costs of investment, opening up investment opportunities to those with less funds to invest. Investing means looking for a suitable risk/return profile. Therefore, I suggest that you look at investment opportunities advisedly, seeking the most suitable solution for you.

There are several assets that one can choose depending on available funds and the strategy one has developed. One can invest starting with a small amount of money to understand whether a specific financial instrument is suitable; it is also important to start investing as early as possible in order to use the power of compound interest, that is, to earn interest on revenues from interest. Since people regularly, like me, know how to best invest their available funds, I offer five suggestions pointing to where it would be valuable to invest in the coming year.

1) Education

Before making serious investments, I suggest investing in education and first of all, educating yourself. It isn’t even essential if this is information about investments or another theme, the main thing is the process of education itself. A good education offers opportunities in the future and it is one of the safest investments when assessing a planned return. However, one should be aware that a good education alone does not ensure a job and it provides no guarantee against losing one’s job at some point.

Today an education requires less additional funds than it may seem, because one can invest in an education not only by learning in the classroom but also by buying a book for self-teaching, by participation in online courses or by using other easily accessible resources on the internet. For instance, there are massive open online courses (MOOCs) available on such platforms as Udacity, edX and Coursera, ensuring possibilities to a wider audience at far lower cost than one pays to learning in the classroom. At the same time getting high-level knowledge from world-renowned schools such as MIT, Harvard or Berkeley.

A good investment includes any new body of knowledge, that can be a language, new software or the skills needed to build a new device. In addition, this investment can start as a simple desire to to learn something without any commercial purpose. By investing in education, a person gets three essential benefits. Firstly, it provides moral satisfaction. Secondly, it is an opportunity to acquire new skills;this could help in the future because we presently don’t know what functions or knowledge may be necessary for a person in 10 or 15 years. Thirdly, a not unimportant aspect, is that investing in education is a reevaluation of existing things from a new viewpoint, which helps to find increasingly better solutions and to perfect existing solutions in various areas of life.

2) Land

Land is one of the best investments but one must emphasize that this kind of investment is suitable for a person planning one’s activities in the long term. The growth of the value of land in the future is linked to overpopulation. Land is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in many countries, with the result that buildings are being built at increasingly higher rate. Cities such as London, New York and Mumbai are clear examples of large numbers of people and the value of land. It is not for nothing that China is actively building islands in the sea, while in India, a large part of the city is land reclaimed from the Arabian Sea, this ensures the expansion of the city. The magazine Der Spiegel, analyzing the UN forecast for population changes, concludes that in 2100 there will be between 11.2 and 16.6 billion people on the planet. That means that the value of land will increase every year.

3) Company shares

To be sure that there are various companies in whose shares it is possible to invest, but I would like to emphasize companies that work in the areas of food and technology. Food, like land, will be increasingly in demand because of the growing population. For instance, already various startups are radically changing our thinking about food by investing and offering new products that offer maximum ease of use and offer balanced and sufficient nutritional value. That means that the rapid development of technological ease and will continue to ease people’s lives in the future. In turn, various technology companies, of which many have yet to be founded, will offer services that will be utilized by an increasing number of people. At this present time, we are unsure of what services will be necessary in the future, but I believe they will all be delivered with the help of new technologies. I see great potential in the virtual reality industry, which with help from technology, has already created a very close parallel world to real life, delivered to people through their senses. This industry is developing very rapidly and will continue to develop with large strides in the future. We are not far from a point when the real world and virtual reality will merge, which is exciting but at the same somewhat scary in the changes it may bring.

It is a positive factor that one can make both short-term and long-term investments in company shares, giving people a choice of the most suitable alternative. One should count on investing in shares as requiring patience, constant attention to one’s chosen strategy and especially psychological resilience in acting rationally, which as has been proven in most cases, is not an investor’s strong side.

4) Investment funds

Investing in funds is comparatively easier however, research and the selection of a suitable fund is necessary. In my opinion, investment funds that follow a particular market (tracker funds) are a good choice because the investment carries lower commission costs and does not require in-depth involvement. It is a perpetual subject of discussion on whether active or passive investments are best. However, more and more experts are leaning toward passive investing, which does not try to exceed the market and saves on commission costs.

On the whole, investment in funds results in a balanced return nonetheless, one must reckon with additional payments for the maintenance of each fund, which means the return will be lower. One must also be aware that changes are constantly taking place. The development of technology and new entries to the market develop this process, making investment cheaper and more accessible. This means that it is possible to start investing with significantly smaller sums. Such new services as Betterment and Wealthfront offer automated investment management services and make investment maximally accessible to all.

5) High yield investments

A higher return naturally means a higher risk. High risk bonds (junk bonds), shares and real estate investment trusts count among high-return investments. In addition to the aforementioned, the significance in the financial services sector is being proved by such new classes of assets as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. On crowdfunding platforms anyone can support another realizing person’s goals via the internet. Last year USD 2.66 billion were raised in this manner in the US. The largest platforms in the field are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Just by using Kickstarter, the Latvian startup success story AirDog raised USD 1.3 million to start in the middle of 2014 the production of drones that follow their users.

At the same time, peer-to-peer lending platforms bring together investors and borrowers. That means that investors, who want to invest free funds meet borrowers who need funding to realize their goals. These technology-based platforms offer not only a new class of assets to ordinary investors, but also significantly reduce costs and ensure the opportunity to invest much smaller sums which are not measured in thousands of euros. The peer-to-peer lending industry has experienced rapid growth, reaching almost USD 25 billion in loans financed in 2014, a figure that according to a forecast by Morgan Stanley, will reach USD 290 billion in 2020.

Author: Martins Sulte, Peer-to-peer lending platform AS Mintos CEO and co-founder

Martins Sulte

Fruitful stop making P2P loans

November 27th, 2015
Fruitful

Fruitful, who launched earlier this year, are have stopped taking new funds.  Existing lenders have been refunded 75% of their capital with the remaining 25% to follow.  The company will be focusing on servicing "a small number of long term investors" rather than "retail investors".

Here is the statement on their website:

First, thank you for asking! But no we’re not going bust, we’re changing direction.

Fruitful will continue to be a marketplace for borrowing and lending.

The thing that’s changing is the type of investor peers. Instead of individual retail investors, we’ll be partnering with a small number of long term investors who want long term and very low risk investments. Typically these investments will pay very low yields which aren’t attractive to individual retail investors.

So by enabling new types of investors to lend directly to borrowers, we’ll be leveling the playing field so people like you can make huge savings on the money you borrow.

Find out more about our unbeatable rates for Buy-to-Let mortgage borrowers.

Fruitful have also proved the answers to frequently asked questions:

Why can’t I access the last bit of my money now?

The remainder of your money is out on loan.

Since we’re not accepting new investments, the secondary marketplace (that enabled the withdrawal feature) has been closed off — meaning you cannot sell your loan parts off early.

You’ll continue to earn interest on the remaining balance of your Fruitful account.

Once these amounts have been settled, you’ll receive your remaining balance, plus the interest you’ve earned and you’ll be able to see this on your Fruitful dashboard.

How long will the process take?

We’re working to get the outstanding loan balances fully remortgaged (and repaid to you) within the next 12 months. Of course, we’ll be keeping you updated every step of the way.

Have I lost any of my money?

No.

As of writing (23rd October, 2015), we’re still working to offload the remaining mortgage balances on loan. As a bonus, you’ll continue to earn interest on these loans each month until they are settled.

Fruitful is being discussed on the P2P Independent Forum.

Crowdstacker offer early bird interest rate

November 4th, 2015
Crowdstacker

Unique peer to peer lending platform, Crowdstacker, is launching an opportunity to lend to Amicus Finance Plc (“Amicus”), offering investors 5.67% annual interest over a term of just 18 months – but investor’s need to be quick because this early-bird interest rate is only available until Friday 6th November.

The borrower, Amicus, is a leading specialist lender with a strong presence in the short term property lending sector providing solutions for commercial and private borrowers.

Regular interest payments to suit income investors

The 5.67% interest rate on the Amicus loan is available to ‘early bird’ investors before November 6th. After this date, the interest rate will be 5.43%.  Interest is paid quarterly to meet demand for income from investors.

The minimum investment is £1,000 and the offer investment closes on December 11th.

According to Amicus, demand for short term property lending has grown from around £1.4billion in 2013 to an estimated £3billion annually today.* Many traditional banks have withdrawn from the short term lending sector to focus on standardised long term loans, enabling specialist alternative firms such as Amicus to rapidly grow their market share by offering high quality borrowers a faster and more efficient service.

Amicus’s property loan portfolio is currently made up of 90% residential properties and 10% commercial properties, with 70% located in London or the South East. Its loans are repaid, on average, in 8.5 months and it typically lends between £50,000 and £5 million. It won Bridging Lender of the Year at the Bridging and Commercial Awards, and has lent more than £500million in 800 loans over the past six years.**

Crowdstacker positions itself differently to other P2P firms owing to the comprehensive due diligence process borrowers must undergo before being accepted onto its platform.

Amicus went through several stages of quantitative and qualitative assessment undertaken by Crowdstacker’s team of experienced professionals from the accountancy, legal and investment sectors.

Amicus is only the third loan opportunity offered by Crowdstacker since its launch earlier in 2015. Crowdstacker has ruled out more than 30 other potential firms because they did not meet its strict lending criteria.

Karteek Patel, CEO of Crowdstacker, said: “We start our due diligence process where other platforms stop. We offer the innovation, speed and flexibility of peer to peer lending, but combined with a highly selective approach to the borrowers we accept on our platform, and underpinned by the robust due-diligence practices one would expect from a major accountancy firm.

“Most of our customers are looking to diversify their investments, but they are also quite cautious and only want to lend to financially solid businesses. Amicus has a top level management team, exposure to a very strong market, and has only lost 0.15% of capital on its loans over 6 years. We think that makes Amicus an extremely attractive opportunity for those looking to earn a market-beating return over the next 18 months.”

Amicus CEO John Jenkins said: “By lending to Amicus, investors are provided with an exciting opportunity to receive a market beating return by sharing in our success in the fast growing short term property lending market. As our loans are secured against property in the same way as a mortgage, and we take personal guarantees from directors, we have an extremely low default rate and therefore can offer investors a high degree of security.”

Other current opportunities on Crowdstacker

Crowdstacker, is also running a second round raise for Quanta Group, offering the same 6.8% rate of return, with quarterly interest payments, which enticed lenders to invest over £700k at the start of this summer. The opportunity has been reopened for a number of reasons including in response to requests from existing investors to increase their investments. It is looking to secure further funding to be used to purchase run-down UK properties and refurbish them for immediate resale.

Finance raised from the first round has already been successfully deployed, with the funds being used to buy properties that have now been valued for resale at more than 10% higher than the purchase price.

As with the first round raise, money lent to Quanta Group will be secured in a number of ways including security over the portfolio of properties purchased, currently un-invested cash segregated in a separate bank account, and overseen by an independent FCA regulated administrator. Quanta Group cannot drawdown any profits itself before first ensuring that there is always enough capital to repay lenders their original investments.

John Pybus, an investor in the initial Quanta raise, explains why he was inspired to put his money in: “The beauty of this opportunity to lend money to a property refurbishment business is that you get to invest your money for an excellent rate of return, but Quanta does the hard work. It’s not like stocks and shares, which are harder to understand. You can see property, and you can see where the value has been added when it has been repaired and updated. The potential to make money is more obvious.”

Risk warning

Your capital is at risk if you lend to businesses. Lending through Crowdstacker is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. For more information please see our full risk warning https://crowdstacker.com/risk-warning.

Crowdstacker Ltd. is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (frn. 648742).