Lending Works is a ‘hands-off’ investment platform which offers peer to peer personal loans. It targets lower risk consumers with higher credit ratings. It offers both a provision fund and additional insurance to protect against default on all its products. Since officially launching at the start of 2014, Lending Works has lent out over £39 million. Read more “Lending Works Review”
What if I told you there was an ISA-friendly way to invest in peer to peer loans without having to manually select and judge investments… or even figure out how to set up an auto-investment? What if I added that you can sell of out your holding at short notice, and that you can buy in today at up to 20% discount to the underlying asset value? As a final sweetener, I’d mention instant diversification across loans, platforms and geographical regions.
P2P Investment Trusts offer exactly this. Read more “P2P Investment Trusts”
*Update: November 2017. It’s been 10 months since I wrote this review, and since then the secondary market has slowed down significantly. My personal expectations of future returns is lower too. I’m still waiting upon any of my ‘buy-to-sell’ properties selling although it seems like several have been in the final stages for some time now.
Property Moose is one of the UK’s largest Property Crowdfunding platforms. It allows investors to buy shares of a property and receive ongoing rental payments and capital appreciation. For each property investment an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) is created. This is a distinct UK limited company which handles all rental income, costs, and has complete ownership of the underlying property. Along with Property Moose, there are 2 other large property crowdfunding platforms: Property Partner and The House Crowd. What makes Property Moose different is its focus on low cost, undervalued Northern/ Midlands properties with high rental yields. They occasionally have more complex leveraged investments and property secured lending, and you manually select which individual projects to invest in. Read more “Property Moose Review”
Moneyfarm is an investment robo-advisor, which uses underlying low-cost ETFs to invest clients’ funds. It manages your stock market/ bond investments for you and cuts out the transaction fees associated with investing directly yourself. You set up your investment goals and your risk profile, and their platform allocates your funds to an optimised, low cost investment portfolio. They have no platform fees on the first £10,000 investment and you just pay the underlying ETF fees. Beyond that there are platform fees (I’ll go into more detail and some case studies in this review).
I’ve been investing with Moneyfarm for just over 4 months. I’ve also been using TD Direct Investing, a traditional broker, for more than 5 years. So this review will look at this new robo-advisor through the eyes of someone used to a more manual, hands-on platform. I will compare an investment in a Vanguard LifeStrategy fund via TD Direct Investing with Moneyfarm. Read more “Moneyfarm Review: Robo-Advisors Versus Traditional Brokers”
Funding Circle is one of the largest P2P lending platforms, having lent £2.1 billion to businesses since it launched in 2010. Like Zopa and Ratesetter, it’s perhaps viewed as one of the safer platforms due to its established track record and the amount of investment behind it. So far, it has raised over £100million in external funding and in January 2017 joined the “Unicorn” club: tech startups with a valuation of $1billion and above. Unlike Zopa and Ratesetter, it offers far more control over which loans you chose to fund and has a secondary market to trade existing loans. Read more “Funding Circle Review”
As a UK tax-payer, so far I’ve stuck to UK based alternative finance platforms. I’m open to the idea of trying out a couple of continental European platforms: more diversification, some new customer cashback offers and potentially higher returns (12%+).
However, I have two big questions to answer before I go any further:
- Tax. What implications would investing in EU platforms have on my UK tax? Are they properly equipped to provide statements for my annual tax return? Could I lose out on certain tax benefits? Would a non-UK income, with currency conversions etc lead to additional paperwork? I will try to answer these questions in this blog post.
- Currency Conversion. What are the transaction costs to convert from £ GBP to € EUR? If transaction costs are significant that would eat up a significant proportion of the returns. I will look at this in more detail in a later post, tax considerations permitting!
I spoke to HMRC and then got in touch with some of the larger EU platforms (Bondora, Mintos, Twino, Viventor, EstateGuru and Lendix) as a sample to find out how geared up they are for UK taxpayers. Read more “Euro based P2P Lending for UK Tax Payers”
Twino is a Latvian peer to peer lender specialising in unsecured consumer loans. Of the continental European platforms, Twino is unique in that it also offers investments hedged in British Pounds to reduce currency risk for UK lenders. The company was originally know as Finabay, and operated in this form since 2009. They launched the P2P platform as we see it today in 2015. Of the €332 million they’ve lent as an organisation since 2009, about €115 million was as Twino. Read more “Twino Review”
Note: Article first written 1st Aug 2016, fully updated 19th Dec 2016.
Zopa is the oldest and largest P2P lender in the UK. This established track record and the massive size of its loan-book means it’s generally regarded as one of the safer P2P platforms. In March 2016 they restructured their investment products into three accounts: Access, Classic and Plus. These offer either easier access to sell out, or longer term investments with and without a safety fund. Read more “Zopa Review”