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Success Story – P2P Loan To Manufacturer

This article first appeared Lets Crowd Smarter, a digital publication about crowdfunding and investing in Singapore and Asia.

Not all crowdfunding schemes are fraudulent. We (the Let’s Crowd Smarter Team) have invested in over 50 crowdfunding schemes across different platforms and our overall experience has been great.

Yes, there are a few problem loans whose repayments are always late. And we’re lucky not to have encountered any outright default yet. But we have seen more successes than failures.

We believe that as long as investors stick to the more established crowdfunding platforms (such as Funding Societies, MoolahSense, Capital-Match, Crowdo and New Union) and have a widely diversified portfolio, the overall returns should be positive.

As an example, our p2p loan portfolio is earning a cash return of about 1.5% per month, or about 12% so far this year.

Read Also: Spotting Red Flags in Crowdfunding Schemes

Crowdfunding Success – A Real Story

Here, we’ll share with you a crowdfunding success story – a p2p loan that we participated with Funding Societies in December last year. The effective interest rate was a cool 23.6% per annum. (We also have similar successes with other platforms and will share them next time.)

The loan ID is SB-1512005 but we’ll respect the borrower’s confidentiality and not disclose its identity. Below are some of the key features of the loan.

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To summarize, this company is borrowing $100k as working capital for a $780k project. It promised to repay over 6 months. Effective interest earned by the lender is 23.6% per annum. As this is a 6-month loan, the actual  interest earned is roughly half of that.

Funding Societies provided further financial information and comments on the borrower. We did a quick review and find the risk to be acceptable. Hence, we decided to lend $1,000 on this loan in December last year.

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Prompt Repayment

Over the next 6 months, this borrower repaid promptly every month. The final repayment was in June 2016. On this loan, we earned the 23.6% effective interest rate per annum – exactly as promised.

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Verifying Our Return On Investment

Now let’s verify that we are indeed earning 23.6% effective interest per annum.

But before we do that, we’ll need to explain the difference between effective and simple interest rates.

Effective interest rate refers to the interest earned on the outstanding loan. When the borrower repays its loan every month, the outstanding loan balance declines. The interest earned by this declining loan balance is known as the effective interest.

On the other hand, simple interest is basically the total interest earned by the loan as a percentage of the initial loan amount. It does not take into account the declining loan principal or the repayment every month.

We prefer to use effective interest rate. Using Excel’s IRR function as shown below, we easily show that the effective return is indeed 23.6% per annum.

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Is it really so easy?

If crowdfunding is so easy, why are there still plenty of negative news about defaults and frauds?

In our view, most of these platforms that ran into trouble are poorly managed. Many are fly-by-night operators that nobody has heard of. Their loan underwriting process is not credible at all. For the recent First Asia Alliance case, there were so many red flags, including the fact that the director of the crowdfunding platform is also the shareholder of the investee companies.

But there are also well-managed crowdfunding platforms that already have or in the process of getting CMS licenses from MAS. This includes Funding Societies, Capital Match, MoolahSense, New Union and Crowdo.

We (at Let’s Crowd Smarter) are comfortable with and have invested our own money with this second group of crowdfunding platforms. Overall, our investing experiences have been great. Of course, we do have some problem loans and late repayments, but these usually form less than 10% of our total portfolio. Success stories still far outnumber the failures we had.

If investors choose the correct platforms, investing into crowdfunding schemes can generate attractive returns without too much risk as shown in this example.

Read Also: Traits Of A Successful Trader

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. Funding Societies is Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Default Rates in Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms

To paraphrase Crowdfund Insider’s “The Ultimate Crowdfunding Guide,” with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, the risk an investor accepts is default. Every P2P lending platform has its own policy on default, and all investors need to take the time to understand these policies in order to protect themselves.

Because every P2P platform has its own default policy, and because the P2P lending business model is relatively young, we must be cautious when making generalizations about default rates across all platforms. Specific to Funding Societies, we fully aim to keep default rates close to banks – not exceeding 4 to 5% of loan amount to secure healthy returns for investors, even accounting for the cost of default.

The industry’s youth may cause investors with low-risk tolerance to view P2P lending as an unpredictable instrument. Generally, there is a consensus among investors that P2P lending constitutes a higher-risk, but higher-reward investment.

Is this belief true and valid? Let’s take a look at the global trend of default rates in P2P lending platforms.

Default Rates on P2P platforms in the USa

Let’s begin with default rates in USA platforms. In this fascinating article, the author analysed historical trends of default in two well-known USA platforms, then drew conclusions about the default rate of the P2P industry.

(Note that the article was published in 2014, so some might find it dated. However, the analysis within is worth a read)

The writer pointed out that from 2007 to 2008, the USA economy was doing very poorly and that both Lending Club and Prosper were operating under their earliest and most imperfect credit models, which means the default rates of 2007 and 2008 can be waved off. Since 2010, both platforms have averaged a 5% default rate and are likely to continue having solid repayment rates in the future.

The article ends with a positive conclusion about the P2P lending industry. The author wrote: “I see refined underwriting algorithms and mailed borrower marketing, encouraged investor capital and purpose-built technology all repositioning itself over and over for the past eight years until they are arrive at the stable place they hold today. I see analysis and sweat and reanalysis in these charts, and in the end I see it culminating into one of the most simple and creative investments our country has ever seen.”

His statement underscores that under the right circumstances, which includes an innovative team and rigorous credit policies, P2P lending platforms thrive and provide attractive returns while lowering default rates. The key is in selecting a trustworthy platform to invest in.

Read More: 5 Reasons To Invest in Peer-To-Peer Lending

DEFAULT RATES ON P2P PLATFORMS IN THE Uk

Moving on, let’s focus on a well-known and respected P2P lending platform from the UK: Funding Circle. In their statistics page, Funding Circle claims that its average annual default rate stands at 2%. The rate has also remained solid over the years (calculated from 2012-2017), showing that platform maturity and good credit underwriting will stabilise default rates.

funding societies’ DEFAULT RATES

What about our own platform, Funding Societies? Here is our own statistics page. Historically, our default rate across the region has lowered overtime, which reflects the analysis of P2P lending platforms in the USA: continuous platform improvement and rigorous credit policies will lower default rates.

Another worthwhile read about the risks in P2P lending is the study released by the UK Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA). Some of the study’s pertinent points include:

  • The P2P industry has created more choice in the financing and investment market.
  • P2P lending platforms conduct credit risk assessment using the financial industry’s best practices.
  • P2P lending does not create systemic risk. Platforms are well-placed to weather a downturn in the credit cycle – defaults would need to increase at least threefold to reduce average interest rates for investors to below zero.

So let’s go back to the question we asked earlier: is P2P lending a higher-risk investment? Not necessarily.

However, the P2PFA study presented two caveats: that there is a good regulatory framework for the P2P industry and that investors are educated. For the first point, MAS has begun setting up regulations for P2P lending platforms. Funding Societies has always been compliant with regulations; we hold the CMS license required by MAS to operate, along with taking due diligence and our credit assessment process very seriously.

For the second point, there will always be risks in investing, including risk of default in P2P financing. But there are ways to mitigate such risks.

Read More: Investing In An Uncertain World

how can i diminish p2p investment risks?

How do you diminish P2P investment risks? You diversify your investment and reinvest your returns.

Diversification means distributing your funds across as many investment opportunities as possible to prevent loss in case of default. The more diversified you are, the more protected your investment. Even defaults hardly disturb your rate of return. If you choose not to diversify, you stand to lose most of your investments should a default occur.

Meanwhile, reinvestment refers to the act of funnelling your investment gains into new investment opportunities to maximise your returns. Without reinvestment, you only receive the expected rate of returns. But with reinvestment, you can maximise (sometimes doubling, even tripling) your returns while minimising your investment risks in case of default.

For more information on diversification and reinvestment, see here.

When investors fully understand the risks of P2P lending and take proper precautions to protect their funds, the advantages of investing in P2P lending clearly outweighs the risks. In fact, it’s very likely that most investors who keep diversifying and reinvesting their investment will continue to earn positive returns.


This is an updated version of an article posted on this blog. Click here for the original article.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Why Invest in P2P Lending?

Many people are new to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as an investment option. Questions arise. Is it trustworthy? Does it fit my needs as an investor? Who else have invested in it?

All valid concerns. Nearly no one wants to jump in blind when it comes to investing hard-earned money. Not billionaires, not angel investors – even they do extensive research prior to investing. People want examples of successful P2P investors and whether P2P lending works for their portfolio.

However, you’d be surprised by how flexible this form of alternative investment is.

Flexibility

Let’s start with individual or retail investors. Why is a relatively new investment opportunity so appealing to this segment?

The financial market can strike one as tangled, complicated, and unpredictable. Where does one even begin? P2P lending can feel like a breath of fresh air as it offers a much simpler concept. Basically, it is a form of alternative investment where investors collectively fund loans and earn interest-based earnings in return. Think of P2P lending as profitable crowdfunding! Where crowdfunding projects usually support charities and artistic ventures, P2P lending lets you collect attractive returns.

Due diligence and credit assessment guides your choices

Also, compare P2P lending with stock investment. Navigating the stock market requires expertise and research. Credible P2P lending platforms perform all the necessary due diligence and credit assessment to guide your investing choices, which saves time.

You still need to do some of your own research though, so you can decide for yourself which businesses you want to invest in. But overall, P2P lending jargon is more accessible compared to other investments.

Read Also: Three Key Risks of P2P Lending

alternative and affordable

Other bonuses? The affordable entry. At Funding Societies, you can invest in each small business with as little as SGD 100. P2P lending is also a profitable, with returns up to 14% per year.

It’s easy to see why individual investors are seeking alternative investments like P2P lending. Through it, you make passive income with ease and you earn higher returns from lower capital.

Read Also: 3 Alternatives To A Dividend Portfolio

More and more, P2P lending is gaining popularity. Respected media outlets such as Forbes have talked about its benefits. P2P infrastructure is thriving and all the indications point to one conclusion: P2P lending is here to stay!

This article was first posted on the blog of Funding Societies (Malaysia). Click here for the original article.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

6 Different Types Of Alternative Investments You Should Consider

Whether you’re just looking, or starting out in investing, it will be helpful to understand the major instruments with which people tend to invest. This video gives an overview of 6 main investment options, as well as their qualities and characteristics. 

Read More: Starter’s Guide: 6 Different Types of Investments For You To Consider

Read Also: This App Can Help You Kick Start Your Investment Journey

Find out more about alternative investing at Funding Societies here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

 

How Technology Can Revolutionise The Way We Invest

The older generations love gold and properties as their mode of investment and method to hedge against inflation. With the advancement of the Internet and technology, the new generation of investors are now more well-equipped with information and new investment opportunities. This is especially so in recent decades, when the huge leap in technology opens up a whole lot of new sub sectors in the digital industry which can potentially revolutionise the way we invest.

Let us look into 5 growing digital sub sectors and how it can create new investment opportunities.

1. Crowdfunding

According to Investopedia, Crowdfunding refers to the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Typically, crowdfunding is either reward-based or equity-based.

For reward-based crowdfunding, entrepreneurs or inventors will pitch their product idea to investors, in exchange for a free or discounted finished product. An example of such crowdfunding website would be Kickstarter, the world largest reward based crowdfunder where over US$2 billion has been pledged by more than 10 million people since they launched in 2009. Oculus Rift began as a Kickstarter project 3 years ago, and eventually raised US$2 billion. Pledgers of the project were promised to get the upcoming Oculus Rift for free (how we wish we knew this project back then!) However, this type of crowdfunding is not considered as an investment.

As for equity-based crowdfunding, investors can chip in for the projects in exchange for the equity of the firm. The more prominent equity-based crowdfunding platforms are Seedr and CrowdFunder. Locally, Fundnel also offers various funding methods for businesses and investors depending on their suitability.

Based on 2014 statistics, Asia is recording exponential growth in crowdfunding market, contributing 21% to the global funding volume. Globally, an estimated US$87,000 is raised every hour.

2. Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Lending 

P2P lending refers to a debt financing method which enables individuals to borrow or lend, without the traditional brick and mortar financial intermediaries. Investors can lend money to the businesses in exchange for periodic interest payment and the principal amount upon maturity. It is also known as social lending. Without the traditional financial intermediaries such as banks and finance companies, P2P lending narrows the interest spread between lenders and the borrowers which is beneficial to both parties.

P2P lending is usually deemed as risker as investors are lending their money to businesses that banks might have rejected their loans. However, there are many reasons why banks can reject a loan. And one of the main reason is that these SMEs do not have enough history of track records in earning ability or cash flows.

P2P lending platforms can help to assure the investors by doing first-round screening of the SMEs before posting them online. Financial information are also provided for the investors to do due diligence.

MoolahSenseFunding Societies and Capital Match are some of the P2P lending platforms in Singapore.

3. Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a digital currency (also known as crypto-currency) created in 2009 with the promise of lower transaction fee than traditional online payment methods. It is the most accepted digital currency and some businesses accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment for goods or services. Besides acting as a mode of payment, Bitcoin is also seen as a type investment for many people. However, price of Bitcoin can be very volatile. The highest recorded price was US$1,151 per Bitcoin in 2013 while the lowest was US$205 in 2015. As at 15 Feb 2015, price of 1 Bitcoin is at US$404.

To find out moreBitcoins Investopedia 

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4. Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI)

DPI enable consumers to buy basic life insurance policies directly from the insurance companies online, without having to go through financial advisors and hence, bypass commission charges. This initiative implemented by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to allow Singaporeans to have access to basic protection without any financial advice. Consumers can compare financial products offered by different insurance companies using online platforms like CompareFirst and take their time to decide which policy best suits them.

This initiative, together with vast availability of information online, people can make more informed choice and hence reduces the conflict of interest for insurance agents. The current commission based system might prevent some of the agents from recommend the soundest advice for their clients.

Read Also: Will Buying Life Insurance Online Be The Next Big Thing?

5. Ecommerce

Everyone loves Ecommerce. Yes, everyone, even the Durian sellers.

People love to buy things online for many reasons. It can be due to convenience, price competitiveness, price comparison or variety. The trend of buying things online is set to grow further and hence, listed ecommerce companies presents an unprecedented investment opportunities for the investors. The ecommerce sector is undergoing explosive growth, attracting US$112 billion worth of investments globally in 2014.

With increased connectivity and the advancement of technology, it spurs a new wave of innovation and the birth of new subsectors. This also presents more investment options hence moving investors away from the more traditional investment methods. It is worth looking more in-depth in digital sector than ever before.

To find out more about the digital sector, visit sgx.com/digitalsector

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Source of top picture

Growing Your Business Without Breaking The Bank

Do you know that 99% of businesses in Singapore are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)? They employ 7 out of every 10 workers and contribute over 50% towards the National GDP.

Yet only 1 in 20 SMEs gets bank financing. Why? Insufficient collateral and track record, staggering interest rates, or all of the above. The reality is that every business starts small and raising capital is a challenge. And in addition, startups are expected provide collateral, afford high interest rates, and have a proven track record, just to be able to get funded.

While traditional banks may be appropriate for big, established corporations, small businesses may be better served by a less traditional route, but one that has gained popularity and traction over recent years. Consider peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, also known as “social lending.” P2P lending allows for individuals to lend and borrow money directly from each other, doing away with the middlemen, financial intermediaries like banks. Just as it offers borrowers loans with low interest rates, P2P lending also benefits lenders (investors) with deserving returns.

How It Works

In a typical P2P lending scenario, you sign up to become a member at a P2P marketplace website. We at Funding Societies are among the first of such marketplace platforms in Singapore and South East Asia. Serving as the platform between borrower and lender, we take care of your borrowing and investment needs.

Borrowers

Before you can borrow from our pool of lenders, we first take some time to get to know you better. We look into business and credit records along with a personal interview to understand your business. Because we want to make sure everyone goes home happy, we only accept quality applications.

Let’s say you’ve been accepted (yay!). Our pool of lenders will see your approved application and make the decision to lend the funds to you. Once your loan is fully funded or funded to your satisfaction, the amount will be released to you.

Lenders

As a lender, you get to choose which ventures you wish to fund, and you can even spread your funds among several borrowers, spreading your risk. Because of the information transparency on our site, you’ll know what kind of business you’re lending to and to what end. You may sympathise with a particular industry’s story or venture, and the future success of the borrower and related industry can give you a sense of personal satisfaction knowing you contributed.

Getting Started

Whether you are a borrower or lender, you may look into P2P lending for your next venture and consider Funding Societies. We are a marketplace lending platform that facilitates funding objectives of SMEs who hit a roadblock when it comes to getting financing. From the borrower’s end, one business borrows from many lenders. From the lender’s end, one person lends to many small businesses, spreading and minimising risks. Investors or lenders get high returns (in comparison to most investment instruments) and borrowers get the loans they need at reasonable rates. And fast. All in all a win-win situation.

While we are confident in our mission, we realise that this operation comes with inherent risks and work with caution. In our efforts to mitigate any inherent or potential risks, we differentiate ourselves in that we work with a safer and less risky SME segment. With an interest rate of 10-20%, lenders can expect lower loan default. Being a marketplace platform, we are able to secure funds from not only retail investors, but also high net-worth individuals and institutional investors. From application to cash disbursement, the process time is short, with SMEs being able to immediately secure the minimum funding within days.

Our team is comprised of predominantly Southeast Asians, with a vision of making a positive contribution to the Southeast Asian societies, hence our name Funding Societies. Within three months since our incorporation in February 2015, we have put together a team of professionals, raised funds, and received large commitments from lenders. With access to the largest and most innovative marketplace lending players in the US and world-renowned thought leaders, and bringing into play the essence of the Silicon Valley startup culture, we work collectively to continually learn, deliver, and reinvent ourselves in this market.

Our customer service is rooted in our relationship with you. We are investing in our community and education to encourage discussion on relevant topics within the world of SMEs, safe borrowing, and investment, which is why you’ll see regular articles posted on our site blog. We have a dedicated team towards client service, ensuring that you will always be served and responded to in a timely way. Making the most of today’s technology, we operate efficiently to connect and facilitate the conversation among our community of borrowers and lenders (investors).

We understand that everybody starts somewhere, and it doesn’t matter where you are, our focus is to get you (the SMEs) the funding required to grow and for lenders (investors) the boost in returns you deserve. With your partnership, you’ll be helping us deliver our mission of serving local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. This is our social promise.

The thriving of our national economy is measured by the growth and success of its enterprises, small, medium, and big. Let’s work together not just for our individual accomplishments, but also for our collective progress as a community.

Read also: 8 Things to Ask Yourself Before Applying for a Business Loan

Find out more about the peer-to-peer loan at Funding Societies here.

How Invoice Financing Can Help Business Owners

Funding Societies is happy to announce the launch of our newest product: Invoice Financing. As an introduction, invoice financing is a product where sellers (“Borrowers” in this case) sell the future receivables or invoices they issued to their customers (“Debtors”) to get immediate cash.

Simplifying the concept further, say there is a business owner and a buyer. The buyer purchased goods or services from the business owner and was issued an invoice with a credit term of 60 days. This means the business owner will only receive payment after 60 days, at the earliest; but what if the business owner needs immediate cash? This is where invoice financing comes in. Business owners can sell their invoices at a discount, in exchange for immediate cash, thus enhancing cash flow.

Utilised wisely, invoice financing can be a fantastic tool for business owners. The process of getting upfront cash through invoice financing is significantly quicker than applying for a loan from a traditional financial institution. This is especially useful for business owners who need a quick cash flow fix. Perhaps he has the opportunity to fund business growth but most of his short-term assets are tied up in accounts receivables – he can apply for invoice financing and does not have to wait till the end of the credit term to get cash.

Here at Funding Societies, we can advance an immediate loan of up to 80% of the invoice value at interest rates as low as 0.67% a month. We charge no processing fee for the loan application and approval process, only a competitive fee upon successful disbursement.

For first time Funding Societies borrowers, it would take three to seven business days from application to disbursement – a process that is relatively quick and already includes a compliance check. Repeat borrowers are in luck: the assessment, approval, and disbursement process takes merely one to two business days.

Interested in learning more about our invoice financing product? Refer to our infographic below, or contact us to find out more!