Last week, the FCA sent a necessary and not-before-time letter to 65 peer-to-peer platforms whose operations they felt were not up to scratch. We welcome it being sent but suspect the same can’t be said for the recipients.

Now, we haven’t seen the letter at CapitalStackers because we’re not one of the 65. But we do have a vested interest in the FCA raising the bar to a level that excludes all but the most scrupulous. Not because it removes competition – the more the merrier – but because every bad actor in the market reflects badly on the rest of us.

We can’t stress too strongly that the charlatans, the incompetents and those who take risks beyond their expertise need to clean up their acts or clear out altogether. When you’re dealing with other people’s money there is no room for half measures.

So we welcome wholeheartedly the points noted in The Times (who have seen a copy) that the FCA have asked those firms to address in their 7-page missive.

Their criticisms include weaknesses in disclosure of information to clients, opaque charging structures and inadequate record keeping.

Let’s just take a moment here to shake our heads. These are fundamentals. Up there with restaurants not keeping pet rats and remembering to wash up every now and then. A financial institution should not need to be reminded that a flow of regular, detailed and accurate information from the borrower to the lender is an obligatory part of the deal. Verified by an independent party where appropriate. Those whose money is on the line need to be kept fully informed of the risks they’re taking. As former bankers and (current) accountants, the directors of CapitalStackers are lettered all through with this, and to us, it beggars belief that any financial platform can carry on without such prerequisites.

The FCA has also identified companies who advertise “headline-grabbing returns” that might lead consumers to take on “considerably greater risk than they appreciate”. There are two parts to this. One – return is an inextricable function of risk. They go together like the moon and the tides. A promise of big interest on its own should rightly ring alarm bells. An interest rate with an appropriate risk level is an invitation to do business. It’s what sophisticated investors look for – “How much will I make? Is that worth it for the risk?” – and that’s how they decide whether they’re in or out. The second part is, “Why are some operators selling risk to people who don’t understand it?” The new guidelines requiring all potential retail investors to complete a questionnaire assessing their knowledge of investment risks will certainly help – but only if adequate information is provided to them in the first place. Again, this is in our DNA at CapitalStackers. Investors visiting our deal pages will see detailed information on borrowers: their history, their plans, the up-hill-and-down-dale due diligence that takes into account everything from cost overruns to flooding forecasts to valuation sensitivity.

Which is another point brought up by the FCA. It highlighted an endemic problem in the industry with poor due diligence – not going deep enough into the background of borrowers; not monitoring the progress of developments closely enough, not being straight about default rates and recovery actions. Once more, we shake our heads. That anyone can run a financial platform without attention to these basics is beyond us. Default rates should be made clear. Of course, some would say that CapitalStackers is lucky to have incurred zero losses in our five years of business – but to paraphrase Sam Goldwyn, the harder we work, the luckier we get. Since nearly £2 million of our own money is invested in CapitalStackers schemes (and since we protect investors’ money as jealously as we do our own), we don’t mess around when it comes to due diligence before a deal is drawn down and then throughout its lifetime up to and including repayment. Even though we work in partnership with big banks on most projects, we don’t rest on their laurels. We accept their due diligence, of course, but we will have already looked into every nook and cranny of the deal, under every carpet and behind every curtain, before we’re satisfied enough to ask any investor for a penny.

As for the FCA’s point about some platforms displaying “Inadequate financial collateral and weaknesses in the handling of client money”, once again, with banking being in our blood, this is what we’d regard as a principal principle. Client money should be held in an independently adjudicated escrow account, the same way a solicitor handles funds paid into court. End of.

So yes, of course we welcome the FCA’s proposals. But it should never have come to this. Those who have played fast and loose with investors’ savings and the reputations of us all will get their come-uppance. And then the P2P industry can get on with its powerful and valuable purpose – supplementing the post-2008 banking industry to provide intelligent finance options to well-run businesses, and offering rewarding opportunities to well-informed investors.

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CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

It’s still possible to earn double-digit returns from P2P without excessive risk. Look beyond the trends and big data and you can uncover some lucrative gems.  

The recent AltFi “State of the Market” report July 2019 had some sobering words for investors – particularly from BondMason’s CEO Stephen Findlay and the restructuring expert, Damian Webb. 

The report largely based its melancholy conclusions on the slackening growth in the Big Four – Zopa, Funding Circle, RateSetter and MarketInvoice – which gives you a summation that, while statistically correct, is incomplete and unhelpful to the investor. A bit like telling us all cars are unreliable because you once owned an Austin Allegro. 

Yes, the Big Four comprise the lion’s share of the market, but they also cover a limited field of vision – that is, they chiefly deal in unsecured loansor those not secured on easily identified concrete assets (with the exception of RateSetter’s property book) 

BondMason announced recently that it was pulling out of P2P due to these diminishing returns, but in this report Mr Findlay is keen not to appear a total Cassandra. 

Surveying the £6 billion world of peer lending from his vantage point atop a £54m loan book, he contended that net returns in the 3% – 6% range are achievable today at acceptable levels of risk and that the market is settling into a low-to-medium risk spectrum.  

“I still think there are some good opportunities to earn attractive risk-adjusted returns,” he shrugs, “but probably at the more conservative end of the market”. 


High returns aren’t the only yardstick. 

Had Mr Findlay looked a little further, he might have found reasons to be a little more bullish There are still opportunities for canny investors to make double digit returns without going on a white knuckle ride of high risk. Just because a return is high doesn’t mean you’re at the crazy end of the market. On the other hand, it’s equally possible to earn under 6 per cent and have the investment catching fire in your hands. High returns aren’t the only yardstick, although the way some commentators paint it, you’d think they were. 

It’s possible, for instance, to find platforms like CapitalStackers where you can lend to developers sitting on a reassuring chunk of equity and with Loan-to-Value ratios as low as 55% – and yet still make double digit returns in the time it takes to convert an old warehouse into upmarket flats.  

It’s also possible, to find platforms that are totally transparent and view regular and granular reporting as the duty of care it is, rather than an onerous and grudging requirement. 

The report overlooks opportunities like these and the nervous investor, led by pronouncements that lump together such diverse  “property lending” products as bridging loans, buy-to-let mortgages and development finance, might think that all real estate] P2P is going to hell in a handcart. 

Particularly those that read the section written by Damian Webb. Viewing Mr Webb’s comments through the lens that he is an insolvency practitioner, may offer a little perspective. Were it possible to rub one’s hands and type at the same time, one can imagine Mr Webb doing just that here. 

“The sector is becoming more and more fraught with uncertainty,” he laments. ““Many of the alternative finance lenders have focused on markets that are underserved by traditional lenders or in spaces where traditional lenders do not operate. Banks and traditional lenders retreated from these areas due to the issues and losses they experienced during and after the financial crisis and consequently regard them as high risk.” 

Nowhere does he suggest that it’s possible to invest in platforms like CapitalStackers that work in tandem with the banks, partnering on deals whose risk the banks have every confidence in, allowing the banks to take the liquidity risk, and also to benefit from due diligence that is tighter and more thorough than any bank aspires to. 

He laments that the elements of the business lending market he’s come across professionally are often characterised by limited data, which makes underwriting inherently difficult or challenging. 

He bases these insights on “his own experience of dealing with impaired business loan books” (although not specifying markets, connections or backgrounds), which is a bit like an undertaker giving us his opinion on who’s going to win the World Cup. 

He goes on to adumbrate about property lending in particular, whose yields “have fallen dangerously low during Britain’s long property boom”. 

“In Birmingham, for example,” he says, “five years ago it was possible to achieve residential yields of 7 per cent to 8 per cent. You would be lucky now to get between 4 per cent and 5 per cent. People are investing in development projects on the basis of these low yields.” 

Of course, the hearty chuckles of investors who’ve been comfortably pocketing 12, 18 and 20 per cent in CapitalStackers deals in recent months will be drowned out by Mr Webb’s ululations.  

Likewise, his complaints that P2P platforms don’t own their assets and loans can’t be sold to retrieve capital will be met with puzzled looks by CapitalStackers investors who trade their loans openly in the platform’s secondary marketplace. 

Yes it’s easy to look at big data and find patterns that frighten you. But big data leads to bad maths. And bad maths leads to poor investment.  

So rather than wring their hands about the bad operators in this market (and some of them were – and almost certainly are – very bad), the astute investor can find opportunities by looking through the leaden headlines to find the gold in the cracks between.  

Of course, there are risks in any investment market, and in property development the biggest risk – not necessarily the most likely, but the biggest – is the possibility of property values crashing more than 25%, burning through the comfort blanket and leaving lenders facing a loss. And of course, this kind of financial apocalypse is entirely possible – but then, all risk should be priced in by prudent platforms, and it makes sense to check this before investing. 

However, in property-based crowdfunding, fortune can still very much favour the lateral thinkerSo don’t be put off by the headline rates; don’t automatically assume that high returns mean high risk; and above all, don’t swallow whole what the “experts” tell you. 

Even when the whole world feels like it’s going to hell in a handcart, someone, somewhere is making money out of it. 

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CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

Investors hungry for more double- digit returns pounced on the latest opportunity from CapitalStackers – a block of 23 flats near Leeds City Centre.

CapitalStackers investors typically enjoy returns of between 10% and 15%, usually over periods of 12-24 months. The conservative Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios, high level of due diligence and zero losses have attracted a wide range of investors, some putting in as little as £5000, many considerably more.

The Leeds development – called Abode – is a four-storey block of 15 two-bedroom flats and eight one-bedroom flats, bringing a return of 13.76% on an LTV of 68.4%. Prices range from £80K to £130K and interest has been sparkling, with six of the flats already under offer well before completion. In addition to first-time-buying single professionals and urban downsizers, the flats are also proving enticing to Buy to Let landlords with good demand and individual flat rentals ranging from £550 to £700 per month.

This is the second deal launched for the experienced developers, Demech Properties, by CapitalStackers. They’re also on site with 22 houses at Thorne due for completion in Autumn 2019 with 17 houses either exchanged, in legals or reserved.

Abode was already under construction when they approached the investment platform, looking for additional funding to meet additional costs and improve cash flow to enable more cost-effective employment of bricklayers.

Marc Black, a director of Demech said, “This kind of deal can be tough for developers to find funding for, as few investment establishments will deal with part-built schemes. However, since we already have a strong relationship with the team at CapitalStackers, they used their considerable property experience to assess the risks and we were happy to meet their ancillary demands.”

CapitalStackers considered the construction risk to be greatly reduced since the building is already up to the 3rd floor and all externals are complete.

The developer expects the project to be fully sold out by March 2020.

Blog Deals Investor News News Press Releases

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

Remember the high quality Chessett’s Wood development in Lapworth, which paid annualised returns of up to 13.8% after just 7 months? Or the luxury St. Bernard’s Road development in Solihull paying 14.06% on a very reassuring Loan to Value (LTV) of just 55%?

Well, for those who happily capitalised on those – or even those who missed out – CapitalStackers is pleased to offer a third opportunity to invest in the same highly respected developer – Avalanche Capital and their joint venture construction partner, HCD Developments.

It’s our strong belief that HCD’s distinctive quality of workmanship is a key factor in the early property sales on their previous schemes.

The current opportunity is to invest a total of £620,000 in the development of two large luxury houses, in an established and popular residential road in Solihull – just ten minutes walk from the prosperous town centre and its rail station with links to London and only six miles from Birmingham Airport. Target annualised returns will range between 10.44% and 14.33% for LTV ratios of 52% to 63%.

To be clear, this means that if Layer 2 investors were to suffer a loss, the property would need to

fall in value by 37%. For Layer 1 investors to suffer loss, the value would have to fall by 48% – making for highly attractive risk adjusted returns.

The bulk of the finance – £1.345 million for construction works – is being put up by NatWest and the Borrower has substantial “skin in the game” with its cash equity of £540,000. In addition, the boost in site value from the granting of planning permission amounts to at least £200,000.

The funding base case on which the deal and its risk ratios are structured, assumes both properties are built out and remain unsold for the term of the loan. This follows the usual cautious approach adopted by CapitalStackers. Our sensitivity analysis assumes that at least one buyer will be secured during construction, leading to one house being sold the month after completion – and the second house selling two months later, with the conservative as

sumption of both being sold at a discount of 15% to value. Even taking this into account, risk ratios remain conservative at 60% LTV for Layer 1 investors and 73% for Layer 2.

The site currently accommodates an unoccupied single property in need of substantial renovation, so the proposal is to demolish this and build two very high specification detached houses, on three floors with single integral garages and off-road parking.

Investors are invited to offer loans of £5,000 upwards when the bidding opens at noon on Monday 18th March 2019. This is expected to be an extremely popular auction owning to the quality and track record of the developers and the deal itself, so early participation is recommended.

Blog Deals Investor News News Press Releases

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

Midwood House in Widnes town centre was bought by Osborne House Ltd for cash around three years ago and half the office space converted into 17 apartments to test the local market for short-stay, single tenants (think workers away from home on medium to long-term contracts, looking for a cost-effective alternative to hotels). 

The results were impressive. It was fully let within 2 months and, after costs and allowances, is yielding a solid annual income of £65,000. 

The gated apartments, available at an attractive all-inclusive rent of £567 per month, come with secure parking and are within an easy commute of Runcorn, Liverpool and Warrington. As such, they have proven appeal to businesses looking to save on staff accommodation or private individuals working away from home.  

Having proven the market, OHL are now converting the remaining space into another 17 apartments. This will double the net income to £130,000. 

Since the property is already generating income with good interest cover and Loan-to-Value levels, this presents a lucrative opportunity for all those who have invested. Investor returns have been pegged in the range 6.9% – 7.5% p.a. over 36 months. Net income from the first phase is sufficient to provide interest cover of 135% – meaning there would have to be a substantial fall-off in demand before interest payments are at risk.  

Once the refurb of the remainder is complete, the ratios will improve dramatically, with interest cover increasing to 250% and LTV falling from 65% to 35%. 

Of course, while the ongoing construction still carries a small degree of risk, in this case that risk is mitigated by the appointment of the same contractor as successfully completed the first phase works, along with an independent monitoring surveyor who is under a duty of care to CapitalStackers’ investors. And, of course, income will continue to flow from phase one pending the new units coming on stream. 


About the developer  

OHL is a highly profitable, conservatively-geared company with gross assets valued at £7.4 million in April 2018. Net worth is around £6.5m. The shareholder directors have been known to the principals of CapitalStackers for over 25 years. 

For HMRC compliance reasons, this deal is not eligible for pension fund investment. 

Blog Deals Investor News News

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

CapitalStackers investors were invited to benefit from the refinancing of a popular ongoing project, which was already at an advanced stage of construction, with practical completion scheduled for May 2019.  

The original auction for the Boothferry Road development in Hesslewest of Hull city centrewas sold out in 24 hours, with investors bidding returns between 11.07% and 14.45% for Loan-to-Values of 63.3% and 69.8%, respectively. 

Hampshire Trust Bank  the senior debt provider – had increased their facility to cover cost increases caused by:  

  1. bad weather – necessitating deeper foundations and a temporary road, and 
  2. cost inflation for materials and labour. 

Of course, cost increases are never ideal, but we regarded these as fair. However, the developer wished to access additional working capital and restructure the funding to allow them to expedite the second phase and take advantage of the current, very positive sales momentum.  

In considering their approval, CapitalStackers’ risk assessors were impressed by the experience of the team (Craig Swales and Steve Vessey Baitson of Applemont), and the high level of reservations on the houses (mainly from first-time buyers with no chain).   

Applemont is an experienced player in housebuilding and general construction around East Yorkshire and Hull. Their knowledge of the Hull owner occupier market is sound – and clear evidence of this is shown by the keen early sales interest in the Hessle scheme.  

Eleven reservations have been taken on the fifteen new houses in the first phase and, of these, only one purchaser has a house to sell. Among the initial purchasers are seven first time buyers and six have paid a reservation fee. Six viewings over a recent weekend suggest ongoing demand for the scheme.  

The agreed sales prices already exceed the Savills valuation by £27,500 and currently stand at £2,057,500 in aggregate 

Craig Swales of Applemont said of the new deal, “It’s fantastic for a small developer to have this facility and flexibility. The ability to refinance on the move gives us much-needed agility in a fast-changing world and CapitalStackers make it so easy to adapt our scheme and raise the right money when needed”. 

Blog Investor News News

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

Berwyn View – the attractive and rewarding (for CapitalStackers investors) residential development in the pretty Cheshire village of Malpas – is moving forward with investors now funding Phase 2A of the development.  

Of the eight houses built in Phase 1 of the 22 unit development, five are already sold, two are complete and one is nearing completion (and under offer). Investors received annualised returns of between 10.70% and 15.62% in the nineteen months leading up to the refinance in August 2018. 

CapitalStackers orchestrated repayment of the first phase by refinancing with the original senior lender, RBS, enabling the developer to stay within RBS’s lending criteria and also free up some capital to start on Phase 2 infrastructure works. 

To say that the refinancing deal with this very talented developer was popular with investors would be an understatement – the new £810,000 loan for Phase 1B was fully subscribed in just 31 minutes! 

In parallel, CapitalStackers introduced Hampshire Trust Bank to provide the £1,456,000 senior debt for Phase 2A, and then invited investors to plug the funding gap of £275, 000. Within a Loan-to-Value range of 67% and 73%, these investors can expect returns of between 10.61% and 13.84%. 

The developer, Patrick Lomax, was equally happy  and effusive in his praise of the CapitalStackers process, saying, “Sylvia and Steve are just brilliant. Dealing with CapitalStackers is a very pleasant experience in what is by far the most difficult area of the construction business. They’re useful, helpful, informative and easy to talk to.” 

He went on to say, “It’s great that small construction firms have access to this kind of funding to get projects off the ground so that the big firms don’t get to dominate everything.” 

Blog Investor News

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

The fallout from Lendy’s reported woes has launched a flotilla of lazy journalism, poorly-informed opinion pieces and Chicken Licken style warnings to investors.

Meanwhile, experienced investors in property finance are merely rolling up their sleeves and getting on with business as usual. Risk is part of life. Understanding which risks, how much of each to take and the price you exact for it is how an investor makes money.

This much would seem obvious, but not, it seems, to the jittery herd of financial journalists commenting on this particular situation.

The spectrum of real estate lending is broad and varied.

At one end of the scale we find investment loans, which tend to have strong covenants on long leases and a robust income stream that services the debt.

At the other end – bridging loans, which are short term, with repayment coming through either a sale or refinancing following an event such as the granting of planning permission.

Generally regarded as the Bellwether of property lending, bridging lenders are usually the first into the market cycle and often the first to drop out. Lending tends to be at credit card rates, since until permission is granted, there are too many unknowns (including the financial cost of any Community Infrastructure Levy or S106 Agreement – the charges that local authorities make on new developments to help fund infrastructure, schools or transport improvements – vital to support new homes and businesses in the area).

In between is a vast and multifarious landscape, taking in low-risk borrowers with low risk deals to high risk borrowers with high risk deals. It also – crucially – includes well-run platforms operating in the higher risk space that give plenty of information, have high levels of due diligence and price the risk fairly so that investors can make informed decisions.

Somewhere in this Big Country is Lendy, ploughing along in its covered wagon, braving the arrows and potholes as it goes.

Now, I don’t intend to comment specifically on Lendy’s business, save to furnish enough background to give us some perspective on the case:

Lendy recently appealed to the regulator after one of its borrowers threatened to sue. They claimed Lendy failed to give notice on loans and arrange further funds. Concerns were also raised over the fact that £112m of its £180m loan book were at least one day late. As we understand it, this deal was not a bridge but an expensive development facility.

Now, to the uninitiated, this will set all sorts of hares running. But those who regularly walk the streets of the bridging world will know that what looks like a situation going wrong is probably expected and planned for. It’s a way of increasing returns – on what, in the US, is often described as “hard money”.

With developments, just because a project is taking longer than expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean the deal is deteriorating. Lots of factors determine the progress of construction – some beyond anyone’s control, like weather.

But financiers know this, and also that when deals go beyond the due date, the interest continues to accrue. Sensible lenders will also build delays, cost increases and falling values into their sensitivity analysis but still impose a fairly tight schedule on the borrower.

Whether the 12% return Lendy investors get is enough to cover their risk is a matter for them. The reality of the market suggests that if investors are getting 12%, then the borrower is paying somewhat more – and you should ask yourself what kind of borrower is happy to pay this much for their senior debt (CapitalStackers borrowers are charged substantially less). But I will say that this is an area where the astute investor should take very great care to ensure his own risk is adequately compensated for – and to be clear, the key risk is this:

Any investor taking part in a deal that is not fully funded at the outset is entirely dependent on new investors coming on board to pay the contractor, without which the project will fail to complete.

In our view, certainty of completion is a fundamental prerequisite of any property deal. It’s inconceivable that we would expose our own investors to the risk of a development that may never come to fruition.

We have no intention of letting our investors take the liquidity risk when a big, strong bank can take it for them.

This is the main reason why we choose to partner with banks as part of our strategic business model. We raise the funds necessary to plug the gap between what the bank will lend and the borrower’s equity. And we make sure that our investors’ funds are deployed after the equity. The banks commit to the finance up front, so we can be sure the funds are in place to finish the job.

Certainty. Right there. Locked in before an investor parts with a single penny.

And while it follows that this means our investors are not in the First Charge position, they’re certainly rewarded appropriately for their Second Charge position, with the added comfort that comes with the removal of doubt, and the fact that a bank sees the deal as worth investing in.

This is the main reason why CapitalStackers’ default rate remains at zero. We always run our financial analysis on the assumption that everything is built out before anticipating any sales revenue after a conservative sales period. That means we get to the end game without having to rely on new funding coming in. We believe that not to do this would be to take an insufficiently conservative view of the world.

Among the other reasons are:

1. As we’ve established, our investors are never invited to take part until all funding is in place to complete construction.

2. We don’t move until detailed planning consent is secured. We stick to “Oven-Ready” deals – otherwise the outcome is too opaque. Pointing P2P investors to deals before this point is somewhat irresponsible, unless the risks are made extremely clear, and/or the Loan-to-Value ratios are very low. But even if they were, we just wouldn’t do it anyway.

3. We secure regular information and updates from our borrowers and monitoring surveyors (which is then passed on to our investors). So at all times, the people who fund our projects are fully aware of what risk they’re taking, whether that risk is changing, and what they will earn for taking that risk. So they’re fully informed to take whatever decision they want to take. And if they’re involved in a deal and decide for whatever reason they don’t want to be, they can advertise it on CapitalStackers’ secondary market and seek to recoup their capital.

This should all be meat and drink to experienced investors, though. This is how the banks have always done things: information + risk = appetite + return.

Of course, there will always be bad deals and bad operators, despite the best efforts of the FCA – it’s a fact of life. But among the rest, it’s a question of assessing the risk, and deciding how much money would make you comfortable enough to take that risk.

In other words, there’s no such thing as a bad risk – just ones you’re happy to take, and the ones you’re not.

Blog Investor News News

CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

A property investment is always more appealing when elements of it have already been tried and tested.

That’s what makes Midwood House so attractive. It’s an investment opportunity to expand an already financially proven scheme, promoted by a long-established, profitable development company whose management have dealt with CapitalStackers’ principals for decades.

The Loan-to-Value ratio is a trim 38%, which has pegged the return at a very respectable 7.5% – since CapitalStackers will take the position of senior lender and therefore secure first charge on the property.

Osborne House Ltd, a conservatively geared property company with a net worth of around £6.5m, originally acquired this former office block with their own cash and converted half the building to 17 en-suite studios. Within a month of completion, it was fully let, reaping a net income of around £65K per annum. The lettings experience to date has produced a strong, reliable income stream and few voids, thanks to the initiative of including energy and Council Tax in the tenancy.

This unquestionable success has led to OHL seeking funding from CapitalStackers investors to develop the rest of the building along the same vein – a further 17 studios, taking the total to 34.

Following an estimated six months refurbishment, the new units will be available to let and are expected to increase net income to £130K per annum.

Of course, while construction carries a degree of risk, in this case that risk is mitigated by the appointment of the same contractor as successfully completed the phase 1 works, along with an independent monitoring surveyor who will be under a duty of care to CapitalStackers’ investors. And, of course, income will continue to flow from phase 1 pending the new units coming on stream.

Loan investments are invited from £5,000 upwards. We recommend viewing this opportunity as early as possible, since it bears all the hallmarks of being subscribed very quickly.

Note: This is a residential investment loan. Consequently, pension fund investment is prohibited by HMRC rules.

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CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.

AltFi wants us to say what we think about tighter regulation – we think it’s more important to say what our customers think.

So here’s a follow-up to our blog of 28th September, and in response to this AltFi article on 8th October.

The useful and informative AltFi website – fast growing into the oracle of the alternative and digital finance industries – has reproached FinTech companies such as ours for “timidity” in the face of the FCA proposals to tighten regulations – in particular, to limit the amount that “unsophisticated” or first time investors can invest. It says we should have galvanized our investors to sign their ‘Trust the Investor’ petition.

Perhaps so, but it’s not a good look for an industry to cry “foul” at the first signs of a professional framework being put in place. Responsible platforms, who are meticulous in the way they conduct business on behalf of their investors, should welcome regulation that brings the less stringent operators up to their own standards. We’d rather the playing field was levelled from the top, because improving practices (and the resultant public perceptions of our industry) benefits all of us. Rogue operators benefit no-one, and they should be forced to pull up their socks or bow out.

So we didn’t feel it our place to take umbrage at the proposals. Our opinion is hardly relevant. What is relevant, however, is the opinion of those who invest their hard-earned nest eggs into platforms such as ours. Do they feel their money is secure? Do they feel they’re fully informed of the risk involved? Are they sufficiently updated?

And – most important of all – do they feel the need for the FCA to further protect them against P2P practices?

This, we felt, was an ideal opportunity to canvass the opinions of CapitalStackers investors. How do they feel we’re doing, and do they want for more tightening?  It appears not.

We were pleased to see that our investors gave us an average score of 9 out of 10 when asked to rate the information we provide, our risk assessment, due diligence and our clarity and transparency. Our risk management deal pricing and general security were scored at an average of 8.5.

However, when asked to what extent they would welcome the FCA limiting the amount they could invest, the score came in at an average of 2.5.

But it’s not for us to put words into our investors’ mouths. We’ll let them tell you what they think of us in their own words.

Here are the responses we received to our questionnaire. The comments are anonymous, and we’ve edited one or two for length, but we’ve left them exactly as they were submitted, warts and all:

I totally oppose the FCA limiting the amount that anyone can place with CapitalStackers without taking the advice of an IFA….The fact here is that CapitalStackers carries out due diligence on all projects handled, and only when satisfied with the outcome of same, then moves a deal forward providing detailed information to its investors.
I think CapitalStackers explain the risks and rewards well. There is no requirement for the FCA to become too involved.
I trust CapitalStackers to invest wisely.
I think the website could be made slightly more user friendly and make it easier to find important information, perhaps a side bar explaining each area and how to locate that info. As regards the FCA limiting the amount people can invest, that must depend on how sophisticated each investor is and whether they fully understand the risks involved. In that respect, perhaps there should be some examples of what can go wrong with a property loan and a worst case scenario potential loss situation.
If the FCA does decide to limit the amount people can invest, 10% is too low. 20% or 25% would be better. However, as a sophisticated investor, I have been cautious anyway and not invested more than 10% of my portfolio. Once the channel and Capitalstackers have proved themselves and loans have been repaid with the agreed interest, I will invest a greater proportion of my portfolio, though still maintaining a good mix of asset classes.
I would not describe myself as a sophisticated investor, but I always believed that the whole point of peer to peer investments was that it enabled people like me to participate in investing directly compared to other types of investment from which we are excluded. I started investing in peer to peer about 12 months ago and I have been pleased with the outcome so far. I had absolutely no previous knowledge or understanding and carried out my own research before committing any money to investments on peer to peer platforms. I avoid any platforms that do not appear transparent or are too complicated to understand. I am capable of making my own judgement on this and do not need the government to take control of my investment decisions. I should add that in spite of the fact that my knowledge and understanding has been acquired through my own research and I am definitely NOT a professional or even greatly experienced at investing – the ONLY time I have ever lost money was by following the advice of a financial adviser. Since that time I have ‘gone it alone’ and over the past few years I have successfully increased my capital through investments that have been entirely my own choice.
I invest with confidence in CapitalStackers. They have a very experienced team in both finance and building development. As they are very selective in their choice of investment deals and, from my own experience, I’ve found CapitalStackers to be meticulous and diligent, I would not agree with limiting the amount one can invest. It should be a personal choice.
As an experienced investor and owner of a commercial property portfolio [I am] very comfortable with proportionate risk and due diligence by CapitalStackers. The individuals involved in CapitalStackers have my complete confidence and for that reason I am happy to keep investing.
I think the FCA should spend time checking that p2p websites are providing transparent and accurate deal information so that investors can make properly informed decisions, rather than trying to dictate what people invest in them.
This type of funding seems very transparent and well explained compared to others.
Well run peer to peer funder which understands its market
Most investments carry risk and an individual has to take responsibility for his/her decision.
I know what I am doing and don’t need to be nanny-ed by an organisation that was unable to spot the last financial crash.
It’s not up to the FCA to determine what clients do with THEIR money. All they should be doing is providing the right framework, governance and controls.
I like the CapitalStackers model as second charge funding for developers, alongside (though behind) mainstream lenders. The info available is very extensive & thorough. Actually, I would like to invest MORE in CapitalStackers, but opportunities are few and far between and often fill quickly – literally sometimes within minutes of release.
Restricting P2P access for retail investors strikes at the heart of the concept of the innovation of a market by the people for the people. FCA role should be to police the platforms to ensure high standards and enable market choice for investors.
As usual the controlling body, rather than addressing the real issue, is trying to abdicate responsibility by yet more layers of bureaucracy. The best way for the FCA to protect the investor is to investigate the poorly operated providers and apply severe sanctions and penalties and, where necessary, withdraw authorisation. It is the responsibility of the FCA to do this, not restrict the investment options of individuals in a free market economy. If the FCA had confidence in their own regulatory regime and their policing of the businesses falling within it, a more obvious methodology to protect smaller investors would be to extend the financial compensation scheme to cover this sector. Assuming this is done at the same time as policing the whole sector effectively and weeding out the providers who fail in the Financial Times article this would reduce the risk to smaller investors at the same time as boosting the businesses who are operating as responsibly in this sector as any other mainstream investment falling within the FC scheme.
Limiting the amount invested by regulation is unnecessary. The advice currently given, (10% until familiar) is sufficient.
I’m more than happy to invest my money through Capitalstackers. The information they provide me allows me to assess the risks as thoroughly as possible. Armed with such information it is up to me whether I invest or not. It is also up to me how much I invest. It is my responsibility and the buck stops with me. The FCA should ensure points 1 to 4 of the blog are met by all P2P platforms.
CapitalStackers is a very highly professional p2p platform and by investing in construction loans, I know the associated risks which are also explained on the platform. CapitalStackers’ risk assessment allows me to choose between loans by having the relevant and detailed information about them. Returns are high but CapitalStackers provide a very detailed illustration about the investments’ features and the entailed risks. There are only two things I complain about: the first is the limited numbers of available loans and the second is the entry level of £5000. I would prefer £1000 in order to have a better diversification.
The detail of your dealing room is exceptional. There is a learning process to understand the CapitalStackers offering but once understood it is, in my experience as a lender, excellent.
Regular updates provide clarity and reassurance, very detailed information provided.


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CapitalStackers is authorised and regulated by the FCA. Investment through CapitalStackers involves lending to property developers and investors. Your capital is at risk. Investments through this and other peer to peer lending platforms are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Unless otherwise stated, returns quoted are annualised and gross of tax.