Funding Secure – An Introduction

Introduction

Funding Secure started life in 2012 as a pawnbroking P2P platform. To date it has issued £175 million worth of loans and advertises an investor base 3,500. Although it started life as a pawnbroking platform, for the last 3 years it has taken on property backed loans also. Funding Secure loans are usually for 6 month terms and unlike some platforms who pay a monthly return, loans accrue interest daily but is not paid until the end of the term and only if the loan is settled.

Minimum deposit for Funding Secure is £100 made by bank transfer, with a £25 minimum loan part purchase. Rates of return on offer range from 12.00% to 16.00% per annum. There are no charges for lenders and Funding Secure offers a secondary market for early sell out dependant on a buyer being available.

The Secondary Market

Funding Secure’s secondary market place is a little more complicated than some of it’s competitors. When it comes to tax liabilities the individual left holding the investment at term is liable for the entire term. For example if you snap up a 3 month old loan hold it for the remaining 3 months you are liable for the tax on profit for the full 6 months. This is because the interest for the whole term is paid to whoever holding the loan part at maturity. To reflect this you can pick up secondary loans for as much as 1% discount (or a 1% premium if demand for a particular loan is high, or is closer to maturity) .

On the flip side of this if you are selling primary loans, and effectively passing on the tax liability, or selling for a premium (up to 1%) you can make a tidy profit (with a significant volume) when the it comes to tax liabilities at the end of the financial year. I would seriously suggest holding off from getting involved in the secondary market if you are either new to P2P or the Funding Secure platform for at least the first year because if you are not too savvy you may end picking up problematic loans with tax liabilities you ratter wouldn’t have. Some loans get dumped for a reason.

The Funding Secure dash board

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The Funding Secure dashboard

Available funds – is the in-active balance on your account. This can either be invested (£25 minimum) or withdrawn.

My current investments – shows the total principle you currently have invested in loan parts. These funds can only be released on term and repayment of the loan, or a successful sale on the secondary market place.

Allocated funds – shows any funds you have put to a loan part that have not yet been accepted (interest will not accrue until the borrower accepts you offer of funds). It can take a little a while for offers to be accepted ( I’ve experienced as long as 3 weeks ).

Available investments – lists the investments currently available on the platform for investment. Information includes –

  • Reference – the loan ID.
  • Title – a brief description.
  • Amount – total size of the loan.
  • Rate – Anual ROI.
  • LTV – is the Loan to value of the security (capped at 70%).
  • Progress – shows how much of the loan has been funded so far.
  • Updated (scroll right) – shows any recent material changes to the loan.
  • Invest (scroll right) – shows the button to invest.

Lending Works – 6 Month Results

6 Month Results

The results for the first 6 months of investing through Lending Works are as follows –

Expected ROI 5.75%
Actual ROI 5.24%

For the first 3 of the 6 months the 5 year rate was set at 5.5%, which then increased to 6% (3 year rate currently 4.5%, March 2018) , so the 5.75% ‘Expected ROI’ is the average over the 6 months. This is a unique feature of Lending Works, both the 3 and 5 year rates are reviewed on a weekly basis and can go up or down the for following week. The discrepancy with the ‘Actual ROI’ can largely be put down account roll up (deposits/invested funds not falling on complete months), this is something you need to consider with most of these P2P platforms. In an ideal world you want a deposit to clear and start earning interest on the 1st of the month so you get a nice full maximum return for the month, in reality this generally dose not work. A lot of platforms still only offer deposit via bank transfer (Lending Works do offer Debit Card deposits) which typically take 2-3 days to clear, and then it can take anywhere from 1 to 10 working days for the funds to be assigned an investment opportunity and start earning interest. Hence why you should generally expect a slightly lower ‘Actual ROI’ to ‘Expected ROI’. This deficit should reduce tough the longer you are in a fund, providing the platform is delivering what they claim to be offering.

Lending Works also has a reason to shout about, in October 2017 it became the first P2PFA member to be granted full FCA authorisation. This is no small feat, as the P2P sector develops in to a maturing market, a number of platforms have fallen foul of the FCA and consequently shut up shop. Lending Works was also able to launch its own ISA in February 2018, meaning investors now have a tax free (up to £20’000) offering. Lending Work’s is also set to break the £100 million in loans mark in April 2018, just four years after opening its doors.

There is simply no reason for me to consider dropping Lending Works from my portfolio at this time. The returns are healthy and pretty much as expected, the company appears to be in good health the the future looks promising. That being said it’s still very early days for the platform and it’s place in my portfolio, so i will cautiously grow my exposure to Lending Works over the coming months and optimistically wait to see what the future brings.

Lendy Results – 12 Month

12 month review

1 year has now elapsed since i started investing with Lendy and the results are as follows –

Expected ROI 11.83%
Actual ROI 3.77%
No. Live Loan Parts 12
No. Loan parts with repayments overdue 9 (75.0%)

To compare these 12 month results with the previous 6 month results, the ‘Expected ROI’ has been reduced as i picked up a couple of 11% loan parts rather than the usual 12% loan parts. As for the ‘Actual ROI’ i should point out firstly a change in strategy. Several months ago i decided to sell off all my healthy loan parts and withdraw 20% (the most i could sell) of my liability from Lendy. This was a result of increasing concern about the lack of action on deteriorating/overdue loans. This action has been a factor in the gap widening from ‘expected’ to ‘actual ROI’ from 61.83 % to 68.13 %, although even with this factored in the trend is still diminishing returns, as part of the return is made up from affiliate credit earned through this blog.

Loan parts were also reduced in the sell off from 16 to 12. A massive 9 (10) of 12 are over due or in difficulties. The possible 10th is one the most perplexing instances i have seen from Lendy. This was a London based property loan that went live before due diligence was complete and it was quickly discovered that the borrow did not have the facility to repay the loan. As a result secondary trading of the loan was immediately suspended and hence investors have now been left holding a loan they can not dispose of as a result of Lendy making a rookie error. I should add though at this time interest payments are being made but i believe Lendy are being very optimistic to dispose of this loan with in the agreed term, so i believe this is destined to become yet another over due loan.

I have drastically changed my strategy over the last few months from fairly passive to aggressively selling loan parts very early. Despite this returns have continued to diminish. Some loan parts in possession are now approaching 500 days over due with little end in sight. While some loan difficulties are understandable, i.e legal process such probate where Lendy has zero control for a protracted period. There are other loan parts that have promised resolution by the end of the month, month after month with no action. I also have concerns that several huge loans (plus £10 mil) have gone live with Lendy in the last couple of months, given the recent administration of Collateral UK , with an £8.5 million loan being a possible contributing factor, this makes me a little nervous. While i’m not suggesting such a drastic outcome for Lendy given their much bigger investor base and larger cash reserves, it is still increasing risk to a larger number of investors and if the loans were to fail the shock waves could very worrying.

Lendy has also announced that it will be Cowes Week title sponsor again this year, personally i’m ambivalent about this as i didn’t really witness much of uptake of new investors after last years sponsorship, but i have a very small window in to the platform. Lendy has also introduced an improved friend referral scheme. A referral through a unique link (as i use on this blog) now results in a 5% (up from 1%) share of the new friends account interest for the first 12 months, based on £1000 minimum deposit, plus a £50 bonus for both the introducer and the new customer, based on £1000 being invested for 3 months consecutively. This potentially now makes Lendy’s referral scheme one of the most generous on the market.

As for Lendy’s future within my portfolio, i have already taken steps to reduce my liability and will continue to reduce to a predetermined level when i am able to. I would need to see some serious action and repayment of the problematic loan parts over the next 6 months to consider Lendy having a long term future with-in my portfolio.

Collateral UK announces administration.

The UK based P2P lender Collateral UK announced today (28/02/2018) it has formally entered administration. The platform was taken offline on Monday 26th of February 2018 with nothing more than a ‘server upgrade’ landing page in it’s place. As speculation grew on forums over the next few days, from the plausible to out right ridiculous, as to the cause of this suspension in trading, a letter from the administrator was finally released late this evening.

The administrators letter cites the reason for the administration as ‘ The Company was operating in the belief that it was authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under interim permission. It has transpired that this is not the case and consequently the Company has ceased lending ‘.

It is still very early stages in proceedings but it would appear invested capital will be secured and wound down in an orderly manner. However it is yet been clarified what will happen to cash on account, what will happen to investments not yet drawn down, what will happen to this months interest due tomorrow morning and if or when the platform will go back online. If the platform does not go back live, many investors maybe left scratching their heads in obtaining exact and up to date figures of what they have on the platform. This could cause difficulties with capital claims or tax filling.

Emotions are still raw at this time and it would unwise to speculate further on how this situation came about in the first place. Undoubtedly more will be revealed over the coming days and i will update accordingly. However some comfort should be taken from the fact this is by no means the worst case scenario, if played out as purported investor losses should be minimal if any.

This is exactly why all investments carry risk.

Lending Works an introduction

Introduction

Lending Works is on online P2P platform. They offer unsecured personal loans at competitive rates, financed by individual lenders (consumer 87.3%, institutional 12.7% as of December 2017). Lending Works launched in 2014 operating out of an office in London and their total loans now amount £85’000’000 to date.

Funds can be deposited either by debit card (1 day clearance) or bank transfer (2-3 days). There are two rates of return on the Lending Works platform, either 4% for 3 years or 5.5% up to 5 years (correct as of December 2017). The projected rates can change with a weeks notice at the desecration of Lending Works.

The minimum you can deposit at any one time is £10. Interest earned on your ‘On Loan’ balance is paid out on the last day of the month. This balance will either go in to the ‘Classic Wallet’ for withdrawal or ‘Offers’ for re-lending as per your instruction.

You will notice there is a residual balance in the ‘Classic Wallet’, in this case £0.09. This is because unlike some platforms you can not manually choose which individual loans to invest in, Lending Works dose it for you. So the loans are broken down in to micro loan parts ( in the region of £0.85 ) so you are usually left with a few pennies waiting for further funds before being loaned out. One advantage of this is risk can be spread very wide, even with a relatively small balance. This insulates from most bad debts of defaults.

Lending Works also operates a provision fund that it calls the ‘Barrier’ to further insulate a lender from bad debts or defaults. This platform also operates a withdraw charge (on quick withdraws) of £20 or 0.6% of the balance, which ever is higher, designed to enforce stability of funds, this charge puts Lending Works straight in to the mid term investment prospect (2 – 5 years) before realising a profit. The only way to avoid this charge is to use the option to auto-withdraw monthly returns (for which there is no charge), this however means sacrificing compound growth.

The Lending Works dashboard

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The Lending Works dashboard

The dashboard for Lending Works is very simple to understand –

Classic Wallet – is the balance in your account unassigned to loans (this amount is available for withdrawal at any time).

Offers – is any balance you have instructed to lend out but has not yet been assigned to a loan. Loan assignments can take 5 to 10 working days depending on availability, and you do not earn interest on the offer balance.

On Loan – is the balance you have successfully lent out to borrowers. This balance is where the interest is earned.

Withdrawn – details all your withdrawals made from your account to date.

My repayments – shows the instruction you have given Lending Works regarding what to do with your repayments. You can either return them to your classic wallet for withdrawal or auto invest to maximise returns.