Making the most of your investment: Diversification

In the final post on our ‘making the most of your investment’ series, we’re looking at diversifying your investment.

At Funding Circle, you are in control of your money – you choose which businesses you want to lend to and how this is done. You also choose the level of risk you’re comfortable with for the return you’re looking for.

Part of lending through Funding Circle is choosing how you want to lend your money, and spreading amounts across lots of businesses to manage your risk. In the financial world, this is called diversification.

By diversifying and spreading your money to lots of different businesses, if any business is unable to fully repay its loan the impact on your overall return is reduced.

At Funding Circle, it’s easy to diversify. As an investor, there are two ways you can spread your money, whilst remaining in control and choosing the level of risk and return you’re comfortable with:

  1. Automatic lending. Our Autobid tool enables you to automatically place bids quickly and requires little management. You can set the maximum amount of money you want to be lent to any one business (from 0.5% of your total funds). So if you had £4,000 in your Funding Circle account, Autobid would lend a maximum of £20 to any one business.
  2. Hand-pick businesses. If you want to choose the businesses you lend to and focus on companies with characteristics you value, you can hand-pick the auctions you want to bid on. By choosing this option, you can also ask the business questions before deciding whether to bid.

If you are looking to rapidly lend your money out, you can buy loan parts directly from other investors. This takes place on our secondary market. To find out more information about this, click here.

Some people choose to diversify across hundreds of businesses to reduce their risk. By doing so any loss you experience will have a lower impact on your overall return. Every investor at Funding Circle who has lent no more than 1% of their funds to any business, and has been lending for at least 6 months, is currently earning a positive return.

Other investors like to spend more time reviewing and choosing individual businesses to lend to and will therefore lend to less businesses. This means any loss you experience will have a greater impact on your overall return, but the probability of experiencing a loss will generally decrease. Funding Circle allows you the control and transparency to choose the strategy that is most appropriate to you and delivers the maximum returns for the level of risk you are comfortable with.

We hope you have found the blog posts helpful over the last few weeks. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us by leaving a comment below, or email contactus@fundingcircle.com.

The Funding Circle team

– See more at: https://www.fundingcircle.com/about-us/our-blog/making-the-most-of-your-investment-diversification#sthash.wQsbQuHB.dpuf

Making the most of your investment: Understanding your returns

One of the things people have told us they like about investing through Funding Circle is that it complements their other investments and offers attractive returns and less volatility than some other investment products, such as shares.

While shares can deliver attractive returns, they are volatile and won’t necessarily rise steadily over time. Facebook’s IPO and Google accidentally publishing its results early last week, which led to a 20% fall in its share price, are good examples. Funding Circle is different in that its return profile fluctuates less than shares.

FTSE 100 performance in the last 12 months

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Illustrative Funding Circle performance over 12 months

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As you can see from the graph above, the shape of your returns at Funding Circle will fall when you experience bad debts and increase again as other businesses pay you interest.

It’s important to remember that Funding Circle is not a savings account: it is a stable, risk-based investment. As an investor you should expect that some of the businesses you lend to will be unable to fully repay their loans – at Funding Circle we call this bad debt. Our current level can be found on our statistics page.

On the statistics page, we also provide estimated annualised bad debt levels so you can use these to calculate your expected net return. We estimate that you should expect a bad debt of 2.0% of your investment annually, although this will vary by the risk bands you lend to. These figures can help you calculate your estimated net return. In line with other risk-based investments, such as such as corporate bonds or gilts, we quote your rate as an average gross yield. The average gross yield is the return that you receive on your investment if you immediately reinvest all the monthly repayments (both interest and principal) you receive over the course of a year. This is before bad debt, our 1% annual fee and tax.

You can calculate your overall net return (before tax) by using this formula:

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Unlike other peer-to-peer lending sites, where individuals lend to other individuals, relief from Capital Gains Tax is also available on loans which become irrecoverable at Funding Circle because you are lending to businesses. This is known as ’loss relief’ and even if you experience a bad debt, but do not use loss relief in the year it is incurred, it can be used in the future. You can read more information on our FAQshere.

If you do experience a bad debt, we will try to recover as much of your money as possible. We take security on more than 90% of all loans to ensure in the eventuality of a business not being able to fully repay their loan we have opportunities to recover the money. This includes personal guarantees, assets (such as coaches) and all-asset security (everything a business owns). Each recovery process will take a different amount of time to complete depending on each specific case. Whenever you experience a loss, we will communicate this to you and keep you updated on the recovery process within your account summary. You can read more information on our debt recovery processes here.

Next week, in our third post of the series, we’ll look at diversifying your investment.

The Funding Circle team

– See more at: https://www.fundingcircle.com/about-us/our-blog/making-the-most-of-your-investment-understanding-your-returns#sthash.2q2qqT37.dpuf

Making the most of your investment: Competitive bidding

As Funding Circle has grown over the last two years, we’ve seen thousands of people join, unlock their money and start lending to great British businesses. As we continue to grow we wanted to share with you some top tactics many members employ to make the most of lending at Funding Circle.

To do this, we will be publishing a series of short blog posts over the next three weeks. This week, we’re looking at competitive bidding, next week we’ll look at understanding returns and lastly we’ll discuss diversification.

Competitive bidding

As most of you will know, at Funding Circle people lend money to businesses via auctions. You bid the gross interest rate you want to earn and the amount you are happy to lend, and the lowest rate bids become part of the loan. So, your offer is successful depending on how competitive your bid is compared to other investors.

Popularity varies by loan request, but the number of bids placed can often increase significantly in the final few hours of an auction.

The graph below indicates how popular the final few hours of auctions can be. In this auction for £250,000, more than £1.1 million worth of bids were placed by investors with more than 70% of all winning bids taking place on the final day of the auction.

Percentage of loan funded by auction day – example loan, Sept 2012 %

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Winning interest rate by day of auction – example loan, Sept 2012 %

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If this has happened to you, a good way to manage this is to monitor your offer rates and check the interest rate you have offered is competitive and in line with the level of return you are looking for and the level of risk you are comfortable with. This will ensure you are successful as often as possible.

It’s also useful to remember that once a business loan is 100% funded, a business can choose to accept the loan early and approximately 40% of businesses choose this option. The majority will wait until the auction ends to see if the interest rate will fall. This means that if a business loan is 100% funded and still on the marketplace, you can place a bid at any point until the end of the auction. You do this by offering an interest rate lower than the maximum interest rate which you can see on the loan request page.

If you are unsure whether your bid has been successful, you can check the ‘My Bids’ summary page in your account. If you cannot see your bid and your available funds have increased, then your bid will have been knocked out of the auction. If you wish to re-bid check your new rates is sufficiently competitive, or if you’re using Autobid, lower the interest rate settings. We will be developing new tools to automatically let you know the state of your bids in the future.

We hope you found this post useful. We’d love to hear your feedback about what strategies you employ to ensure you maximise your return. Leave a comment below or get in touch at contactus@fundingcircle.com.

The Funding Circle team

– See more at: https://www.fundingcircle.com/about-us/our-blog/making-the-most-of-your-investment#sthash.SezxqtoB.dpuf