Preferred P2P platform award 2015

December 1st, 2015
Saving Stream
MoneyThing
RateSetter

We are pleased to announce the winners of the P2P money Preferred P2P platform award 2015, as voted for by members of the P2P Independent Forum.  The winners are as follows:

WINNER: Saving Stream

RUNNERS-UP: MoneyThing, RateSetter

There is also a noteable mention for Assetz Capital who came fourth, as positions two to four were all very close.  It is also noteable that RateSetter were the only one of the big three companies to feature within the top 5 positions.  The highest placed European platform was Mintos in eighth place.

The members of the P2P Independent Forum are some of the most knowledgeable individuals on peer-to-peer lending, and as such these awards should carry some weight.  Previous winners of the P2P money awards 2014 were RateSetter, Funding Circle and Zopa.

Full story »

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).

TrustBuddy files for bankruptcy

October 19th, 2015
TrustBuddy

We recently reported that TrustBuddy, one of the leading European peer-to-peer companies, announced that it has closed following "suspected misconduct within the company".  TrustBuddy has today announced that they have filed for bankruptcy.

While few UK lenders would be affected, this will raise some concerns for European and UK lenders, regulators and governments, considering TrustBuddy was regulated by the Swedish FSA.

Here is the full statement from TrustBuddy:

Further investigation has revealed that the situation is increasingly complex and it will not be possible to continue operations in any form. The Board of Directors concludes that the company is insolvent. To ensure fair treatment of all stakeholders, the Board of Directors, with great disappointment, has decided to file for bankruptcy. The District Court in Stockholm has appointed Lars-Henrik Andersson of Lindahl law firm to handle the process going forward.

The services of the company will continue to be closed, and the trading in the share will not be resumed.

Simon Nathanson, Chairman of the Board of TrustBuddy AB, comments:

As a result of the misconduct, our ongoing discussions with stakeholders, lack of liquidity and inability to operate a regulated operation, TrustBuddy cannot move forward with the business. Today’s decisive action will give all stakeholders the opportunity to receive fair treatment in a structured process. The Board of Directors and management will continue to support the process going forward in any way we can.

Lars-Henrik Andersson, Lindahl law firm, comments:

My immediate focus will be to fully understand the critical questions of the business in order to find the best way to safeguard the interests of the creditors and other stakeholders. One action is to immediately take control over all assets of the company. I am looking forward to an efficient cooperation with the current board and management of TrustBuddy.

Webcast for additional information

An audio webcast for investors is planned for today at 13.00 CET. The Chairman of the Board, Simon Nathanson, CEO Philip Mikal and Lars-Henrik Andersson will give a presentation on the background and the processes going forward.

To participate in the audio webcast and have the opportunity to ask questions, please dial the following number: +44 (0) 1452 567058, pass code 1929786.

The webcast will also be available on http://engage.vevent.com/rt/webcasting~20151019.

For more information:

Lindahl law firm will communicate on the development of the bankruptcy on www.lindahl.se/trustbuddy.

Claims and documentation can be sent to [email protected].

Media is welcome to call on +46 (0)8-527 70 777 and to search for information on www.lindahl.se/trustbuddy. The receivers will answer the questions to our best endeavours and in accordance with the bankruptcy assignment.

TrustBuddy closed

October 13th, 2015
TrustBuddy

One of the leading European peer-to-peer companies, TrustBuddy, has announced that it has closed following "suspected misconduct within the company".  Some staff have been suspended and all current and former employees have had their lending accounts frozen while investigations take place.  The Swedish regulator and police have been informed.

Thankfully there should be very few UK lenders affected, but this will be a shock for the industry and clearly indicates that the platform risk is not zero, and should be priced into lending calculations.  This is likely to cause European and UK regulators to pay greater attention to the sector in the short and medium term.

Here is the full statement from TrustBuddy:

Ongoing rights issue in TrustBuddy AB (publ) suspended – peer-to-peer platform closed after suspected misconduct within the company

An investigation initiated by the new management of TrustBuddy AB has indicated serious misconduct within the company. The Board of Directors has informed Nasdaq OMX and the Swedish FSA about the situation, and the FSA has demanded that TrustBuddy is to stop offering its services with immediate effect. As a consequence, the company’s planned rights issue is suspended. The Board of Directors will prepare a control balance sheet and are currently evaluating all available options in order to find a viable solution for all parties.

Simon Nathanson, Chairman of the Board of TrustBuddy AB, comments:

We are of course very disappointed in the situation that has arisen. With the new management team in place, TrustBuddy had both the platform and the capacity to create a company built for growth and industry leadership. In light of the recent events, we now have to redirect our focus to find a solution that is in the best interest for all stakeholders.

Background

The new management team has been in place since early September, 2015. In connection with the repositioning of the business, an investigation of the business activities undertaken by the former management was initiated. The investigation is ongoing, but has so far pointed at several breaches of internal or external regulation:

  • The Company has used lenders’ capital in violation of their instructions, or, without their permission. As a result, there is currently a 44 MSEK discrepancy between the amount owed to lenders and the available balance of the client bank accounts.
  • The total amount currently lent out on the platform is approximately 300 MSEK, of which, 37 MSEK is not assigned to lenders.
  • The Company has re-assigned existing loans, a significant portion of which were likely non-performing, to new capital deployed by lenders.

The investigation indicates that these practices were likely in place since the TrustBuddy platform began operation.

Actions taken by the new management and the Board of Directors

The questionable practices mentioned above, limited to the Company’s short-term lending business, have been stopped with immediate effect.

Further, the Board of Directors informed Nasdaq OMX and the Swedish FSA about the findings. Based on the findings, the FSA demanded that TrustBuddy is to stop offering its services with immediate effect. As a consequence, the planned rights issue, scheduled to run from 14 October 2015 to 30 October 2015, is suspended.

Due to the severe breaches of the internal and/or external regulation, the Board of Directors has also decided to file a report to the Swedish Police Authority.

The Dutch subsidiary Geldvoorelkaar, which focuses on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, has been operating on a stand-alone basis and has not been subject to misconduct.

Members of the previous management team that are current employees of the Company have been put on suspension while additional investigation takes place. Current and former employees that have participated as lenders on the TrustBuddy platform have had their accounts put on hold.

The Board of Directors will as soon as possible prepare a control balance sheet, and will also investigate the potential impact of the events on other significant agreements.

Information for lenders and investors

All services and products of the parent company TrustBuddy AB are being suspended. Therefore, it is not possible to make any withdrawals or deposits. More information can be found at http://investor.trustbuddy.com.

The trading in the company’s shares has been halted since 7 October, and will continue to be halted until the company has presented new information.

Webcast for investors

An audio webcast for investors is planned for today at 10.00 CET. The Chairman of the Board, Simon Nathanson and CEO Philip Mikal will give a presentation on the background and the processes going forward.

To participate in the audio webcast and have the opportunity to ask questions, please dial the following number: +44 (0) 1452 567058, pass code 1929786

The webcast will also be available at http://engage.vevent.com/rt/webcasting~20151012.