Is it any more than a coincidence that big players are pulling out of the retail P2P market at the very moment the new, tighter FCA regulations come into force? 

Both ThinCats and Landbay have publicly switched to institutional funding, citing the main reason as the dwindling cost-effectiveness of servicing individual investors. Both suggested that the retail sector was no longer commercially viable”. 

However, since others clearly continue to find it viable, the timing suggests other factors at play. The FCA’s tightening up of the rules  including appropriateness tests and investment limits imposed on Restricted investors was intended to remove the bad actors from the industry, to clean out the stables and bring the crowdfunders into the mainstream. And of course it will do that. 

However, as a couple of fairly significant babies are sluiced away with the bathwater, we’re left to wonder whether more of the good operators will be putting up the shutters and thinking it’s too much like hard work to try and boost the portfolio of Mrs Miggins.   

This would be an awful shame.  

At CapitalStackers, we’ve always welcomed tighter regulations. Since our own working practices have always been well above the regulatory minimum, we’re happy to have the playing field levelled to the highest degree possible.  

Let’s make no mistake about it – this is a great moment in our industry’s history. A defining moment. Where common sense finally anchored the helium-filled headlines. 

It’s not as if the new rules are particularly onerous. They boil down to “don’t sell things to people who don’t understand them”. Which is a pretty basic principle for organisations trusted with Mrs. Miggins’ life savings. 

As a responsible platform, we don’t want to be inviting investments from people who don’t fully understand the mechanics of risk and reward. Our business model is not, and has never been, dependent on catching the unsuspecting unawares.  

We actively seek people who understand that reward is an inter-related function of risk. As with the stock market, it generally follows that the higher the risk you take, the more chance there is of losing some or all of your money – but the higher the reward. However, athe fly half targets the flailing prop in midfield, sometimes a mismatch can lead to success. In some instances, a surprisingly low LTV ratio can bring a double-digit reward.  

The key is information. Monitoring and reporting. The P2P “outlaws” that have gone by the wayside have largely been characterised by a lack of both. Anyone investing in a CapitalStackers scheme, on the other hand, will have access to an Aladdin’s cave of information on the deal, the developer, and all the peripheral contributing factors that explain the terms of the deal. Not just before they invest, but throughout the life of the deal. 

Of course, it’s a shame that regulations had to be imposed from above to force the cowboys to stop shooting up the town. But it’s equally sad that a couple of decent operators have now felt all this is now beneath them, and that the game is not worth the candle. 

Landbay cited their need to “compete” with the banks. Founder John Goodall lamented that other P2P platforms were lending at higher rates while Landbay was looking to compete with banks whose mortgage rates are lower. 

“Our margins were being increasingly squeezed and we would have had to cut investor rates to compete,” he said. 

This is something that has never exercised us at CapitalStackers. The market is plenty big enough for the banks and P2P platforms not to tread on each others’ toes. We happily work in close partnership with banks on the same deals, sharing information and underpinning each others’ due diligence. Operating at different levels to push the same deal over the line, and our respective rates are set accordingly 

Most deals need the banks, and they need us, too. Some banks have even started to bring deals to CapitalStackers for us to help them make it happen. They’re comfortable that tightly-run P2P is a great enabler – and the small investor derives comfort from the fact that the bank is involved, because they know bankers understand risk and reward more than most. 

So it will be a great sadness if the regulations designed to remove the bad choices for investors also thinned out the good ones. There’s room for all of us, and educating our investors is not so big a burden, is it? 

We sincerely hope more operators who know what they’re doing enter the market as the regulations become the norm. 

But in the meantime, if any jilted investors are looking for a place to grow their stack of capital, you know where to come. 

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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.

What is it about CapitalStackers deals that sees them sold out so quickly to those in the know? 

 Anyone who’s ever tried to invest in a CapitalStackers deal knows you have to be quick on the draw to get a piece. They’re known for selling out fast – sometimes in minutes, and rarely more than a few days. 

 So in a market where even astute investors have been so publicly burnt (viz: Lendy and FundingSecure lenders), what is it that gives people such a voracious appetite for this particular property-based crowdfunder? 

 Certainly, interest has stepped up since they were dubbed the Safest 20% Returns in P2P Lending (https://www.4thway.co.uk/candid-opinion/the-safest-20-returns-in-p2p-lending/ ), but to be fair, deals were oversubscribed well before that.  

Of course, the mere scarcity of deals may sharpen the appetite of some. Since deals have to be very watertight indeed to withstand the buffeting from the CapitalStackers Due Diligence Team. Very few make it through – perhaps understandably since the CapitalStackers directors invest in every single scheme themselves – to the tune of £1.7 million at present (and almost £4 million in total to date). 

But then, seasoned investors are not swayed by mere rarity value. They tend to get down to the nuts and bolts.  

They’ll notice, for instance, the fact that CapitalStackers hasn’t set itself up to operate, as others havepurely as an alternative to the banks.  

And for very good reasons. 

Owned and managed by former bank property lending specialists, CapitalStackers is actually the only P2P facilitator that works in close partnership with banks, on the very same deals, sharing information, each doing their own independent due diligence and – crucially – allowing the bank to bear the ongoing liquidity risk in full In this way, it ensures all construction funding is in place before a sod is cut and any investor parts with a penny.  

This is deeply reassuring for investors, since they know that the success of each venture is fully self-contained and never has to rely on attracting funds from new investors to finish the project. It’s equally reassuring for them to know that banks are unlikely to wade into any deal this deep without serious confidence that it’s going to bear golden fruit. 

Anyone looking at the deal history will have been further reassured by the sheer volume and frequency of information. From the basics – conservative Loan to Value ratios; often lower than 50%, never above 75% – to what some might call pedantic; historic flood risks in the general area of the construction site (which actually proved its worth in a project in York a few years ago, which escaped the floods that deluged the city and returned an impressive 22.4% per annum to investors). In between, a huge volume of information is provided on the site’s dashboard for each deal, from the business history of the developers, surveyor’s reports, micro and macro risk analyses, builders’ inside leg measurements… 

And unlike some notable P2P platforms, whose interest rates are seemingly set as “headline” rates to attract investors, CapitalStackers’ return rates are calculated specifically through detailed analysis of all the above factors. This is the key to investors’ confidence. They know that the risk they sign up for is fairly and accurately priced into the return they will get for it. 

This meticulous scrutiny has produced an enviable record of returns to investors of between 8.5% and 22.5% with no losses (although as a prudent platform we would always point out to investors that one can never say never. However, since they personally have a lot of skin in every deal, it makes sense that the directors of CapitalStackers operate at an extremely high level of diligence and reporting).  

Hence, many investors, on being repaid, immediately reinvest in the next CapitalStackers scheme. Having begun investing with the confidence that they’re lending alongside the CapitalStackers directors who are lending alongside the banks, their confidence has been nurtured by a wholly positive, fully-informed lending experience and a fruitful result.  

And it’s why, if you do hear of a CapitalStackers deal coming up that you’d love to get a piece of, these are the quick-fingered competitors you’ll have to beat to get your bid in. 

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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.