The advent of the new Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account (IFISA) is bringing the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector a considerable amount of media attention with, it seems, lots of investors' money to follow. We'll be rolling out our own IFISA soon.
Take the trouble to understand what you're putting money into. The things that you can gain access to via a crowdfunding platform such as Money&Co. are typically different from traditional bank accounts and savings products. They are a different type of asset, an alternative way of deploying money in what is known as the alternative finance sector.
Bear in mind that you're lending to a borrowing company. You're not lending to Money&Co. We vet the borrowing companies using a rigorous credit-analysis process. We're an intermediary, charging a fee. The P2P loan is directly between you and the company, and is facilitated by us.
Examine the borrowers' proposals in detail. We use our best endeavours to ensure that every representation of the borrower is true – about the market, the prospects, the company's track record, the reason for the loan, the veracity of the audited accounts, etc. But we cannot and do not warrant that this is so.
Don't be seduced by yield. The returns can be attractive, but a high yield can mean high risk.
Spreading your loan offers is a good idea. All Money&Co.'s borrowing companies have been through a careful credit-analysis process, but there is always a risk that a borrower might default on debt. We protect lenders' interests by taking a charge on the assets of the borrower, but please be aware that there is no profit without risk. Spreading money across several borrowers is seen by many commentators as a good way of spreading risk.
Access to your money when you become a P2P lender is typically not as instant as withdrawing cash from an ATM or a bank. Lenders can sell their loans to other lenders in the loan market. Sometimes it may take a while to liquidate a loan.Read the risk warnings on site. As we've stated above, there can be no profit without risk. If you're at all unsure about any of this, consult a lawyer, accountant or professional investment adviser.