We’re upgrading Autobid: here’s what you need to know

On Monday, 28th September we plan to release an upgraded Autobid. If you’re already using Autobid there’s nothing you need to do as it will continue lending for you. We’re just making some adjustments so it works with fixed interest rate loans.

How will Autobid work?

Autobid will bid at interest rates set by Funding Circle for all new loans listed on the marketplace. These rates are based on a number of factors including the risk band and term of the loan. Please see below for the gross interest rates which will take effect from Monday, 28th September. Your actual return may be higher or lower as your capital is at risk.

Fixed rate card

By using the advanced settings you can choose the risk bands you want to lend to and the interest rates you want to buy loan parts at on the secondary market.

What’s new?

Following investor feedback we’ve received, we are reducing the maximum amount you can lend to each business from 0.5% of your total portfolio, to 0.25%. This means Autobid can spread your money across even more businesses than ever before, so your investment should be more diversified.  

From Monday, you’ll be able to change this setting. Here’s what it will look like:

diversification

Using advanced settings?

With the new advanced settings shown below, you can choose the risk bands you want to lend to, ranging from A+ to E, view the estimated bad debt rates for each risk band, and choose your offer rate for buying loan parts on the secondary market.

autobid2

Quick tip: You’ll need to turn Autobid off to update your settings.

What does it mean for you?

If you’re using Autobid:

There’s nothing you need to do, as Autobid will continue lending for you. It will place bids on new loans and buy loan parts from other investors.

If you’re new to Autobid, follow these simple steps to turn it on:

1. Navigate to Autobid in your account

2. Select the maximum you want to lend to one business, as a percentage of your total funds. The lower you set this, the more diversified you will be which becomes important when a business is unable to repay their loan.

3. Click ‘Turn Autobid on’

If you only want to lend to certain risk bands, you can do this in the advanced settings:

1. Click Advanced settings

2. Check the risk bands you want to include

3. You can adjust your secondary offer rate here too, and view the estimated return after fees and bad debts

4. Click ‘Turn Autobid on’

If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with our customer relations team.

The Funding Circle team

Jack Pritchett

Senior Communications Manager

 

41 thoughts on “We’re upgrading Autobid: here’s what you need to know

  1. What would happen if the lender has a term of 18 months, or 40 months, or somewhere between the date ranges specified above?

  2. Hi Simon, if you want to lend for different terms you can either choose loans yourself, which have the lending criteria you’re looking for (using the loan requests or loan parts section of the website), or you can use Autobid to lend your funds. When needed, you can then list your loan parts for sale. Autobid will not distinguish between term of loan, as investors have the option to list their loan parts for sale before the loan ends. Hope that helps, but let us know if you have any further queries.

    • don’t think that was the answer we’re looking for. A+ loan over 12 months is 6%, A+ loan over 24 months, but nothing to say what rate would be over 18 months, 7%?

      • Hi Jimbo, should the loan term fall outside of the above terms, the following would apply: 1-12 months, 13-36 months and 37-60 months. We’ll update the image to reflect this and apologies for the confusion.

    • Hi FC. I don’t think that’s Simon’s point. I think the point is that there are gaps in the table. Loans have come through for 18 month terms (for example) in the past. What rate will you assign them?

    • No, you can NOT. Look at market place 100% funded, almost everything. So HOW exactly I can choose? If you fund everything from autobid, there is nothing left to be choose from. Please consider two round funding with autobids when you fund just part of the loan, leave it at least for a day for individual investors and invest the second part from autobid (if there is still anything left) later.

  3. When are investors going to get the option of choosing the loan term as well as risk rating. I am sure I am not the only investor who only want to invest in loans of 24 months or less

    • Hi Clive, thanks for the question – it’s a common one. We see Autobid as a hands-off way to lend to as many different businesses as possible, in order to diversify. If investors want to have more control over their criteria and lend for a certain term for example, they can choose individual loan requests which fit their criteria or use the ‘repayment left’ function on the loan parts section of the website.

      • Which is exactly what I do but I would have thought the term option would be easy to implement into auto is and allow many more users to use the tool. My concern is that with the new fixed rates loans will get funded to 100% very quickly leaving U.S. investors who want the greater flexibility with far fewer loans to choose from. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaint about the new fixed rates just the possible consequences. If it a common question as you say doesn’t it mean us as investors want it, good enough reason to implement surely.

        • Here, here. I agree with Clive. Would like to use autobid now that time is of the essence in getting bids in, but can’t / don’t want to because I only bid on specific risk/term combinations. Go on FC – as Clive says, if it’s a popular request then do something about it 🙂

          • I am another user who will unwillingly have to use Autobid if I want to get any money lent but as so many others have said I want to select by length of term.

            My other grip with Autobid is it will only allow me to bid at £40, £80 or £160 but I want to bid at £60. Can we have the option to choose any amount (in multiples of £20).

            FC – its no use saying “they can choose individual loan requests which fit their criteria” when nearly all loans are full in 30 minutes.

  4. “Your actual return may be HIGHER or lower as your capital is at risk.” How could the returns every be higher than the fixed interest rate?

    • Hi there, you could purchase loan parts on the secondary market at a discount or you could earn promotional earnings, such as cashback.

  5. Any reason why 0.25% of the total portfolio is the lowest allowable for autobid? For me that represents a not-insignificant amount of money being put into loans which I have not personally reviewed. I’d be much happier having the option to put £20 or £40 bids in with autobid, and bidding more on loans of my choosing.

    • Hi Tom, Thanks for getting in touch, and in reply to other people’s similar questions I’ll reply in one place.The max exposure on Autobid has been reduced gradually over the years, and is now down to 0.25%. We will consider making this smaller again, but need to monitor the effects it has on the marketplace and liquidity. If you have any further questions we’re more than happy to help. Join us on the forum. (https://forum.fundingcircle.com/) Antonia

  6. I am another not impressed with the fixed rate changes, average rates for investors will fall no matter what spin FC put on this.
    Also the lack of flexibility with autobid is another turn off, why can’t we start at 0.1% and increment by 0.1 up to 1.0%?
    Even at 0.25% i’m still limited to a minimum bid of £60.
    So please FC, rather than keep quoting the same scripted responses, LISTEN to those who made this company what it is today.

      • Of course it would, as would 0.1% increments but I am guessing FC want to minimise admin overhead costs, even at an automated electronic data level (these things can go wrong, and the more the number of parts lent, the more hassle to sort it out). Like Jimbo above, most with more than a few grand in there would choose 0.1% for autobid to smooth out the risks. Certainly I would; I currently have a 2.6% loss rate due to defaults purely on A+ and A loans; more than the 1% expected (weighted). I get the impression that their web interface barely works; I suspect they are working with a load of outdated code that is not easily changed and to change the whole interface would be expensive. Hence the clunky changes.

        • It’s not about the risk, it’s about complete inability to sell off the portfolio later on. Hardly anyone can afford to buy ~ £400 parts of loans.

  7. Autobid should be flexible enough to allow as many investors as possible to lend their money in the way they would like – the amount to lend, term, risk and sector. FC saying that we can still lend without using autobid is not good enough, and as far as I can tell FC have not given any good reason why this additional flexibility is not available

    • Hi all, thank you for your comments and suggestions for Autobid. We’ll try and address as many points as we can in this post. We want Autobid to be a simple, easy way for investors to access the platform and lend to businesses, whilst at the same time providing high levels of diversification. If Autobid provided for a number of circumstances, eg term, sector, it would greatly decrease the efficiency of Autobid in its current form, and would affect secondary market liquidity. There will always be the ability to pick and choose loans, whether that’s on new loan requests, or buying loan parts on the secondary market. We may look to develop this further in the future, but currently, these suggested features would negatively affect the experience of investors looking to access their money early.

      • Hmm. I think you need to carefully weigh up the experience of the (few?) people genuinely wanting to access funds early (rather than flipping loans for a quick buck) against the ‘experience’ of investors trying to invest efficiently and to their preferences. I would really like this to work, but the time needed to do it my way has significantly increased since Monday and the ability to research a company has vanished into minutes. Unless autobid becomes more flexible I’m sorry to say I will seriously be considering using another lending platform 🙁

  8. To me this is a barrier to investing more through Funding circle. It is too much of an overhead to keep going in and bidding on loans. I’d like to invest more but that is unsustainable if I have to place the offeres manually.

    I want to choose secotrs and term. there are some I don’t want to invest in eg house building (for personal reasons), and some service companies.

    Please please update Autobid to accomodate this and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one that would feel able to invest more through you.

    • Hi Geoff, I’ve just posted this on another comment below: thank you for your comments and suggestions for Autobid. We want Autobid to be a simple, easy way for investors to access the platform and lend to businesses, whilst at the same time providing high levels of diversification. If Autobid provided for a number of circumstances, eg term, sector, it would greatly decrease the efficiency of Autobid in its current form, and would affect secondary market liquidity. There will always be the ability to pick and choose loans, whether that’s on new loan requests, or buying loan parts on the secondary market. We may look to develop this further in the future, but currently, these suggested features would negatively affect the experience of investors looking to access their money early.

  9. I have several questions:

    1) Can you consider do two rounds of funding (may be as soon as day appart) when you fund for example 90% by autobids and release 10% to primary market so people who do analysis of the companies they are renting to can bid on them manually? If they are not fully funded, finish funding next day from autobids. I managed to get over 10% net return, without single bad debt and I am very sure that with autobid on this won’t be case anymore. Not mentioning that you scrape few percentage points from me with fixed interest in favour of the lazy ones.

    2) Can you give people option to use fixed amount instead of % in autobid (like £20 or £40) otherwise you no-one would really like to have more money as his investment if he will need it are almost unsellable on secondary market as nearly no-one will buy £200 size loans as most of the people have really small portfolios so even the highest setting will get them nowhere near that amount.

    3) If you push for that autobid, can you at least give people option to set weights in their portfolio they want to achieve (like 20% A+, 30% B etc.) not mentioning critical timing etc. YOU TOOK OFF OPTION TO BID MANUALLY NOW, look at the market place. 100% funded except extreme loans.

    4) Can I see somewhere the newly bought loans from autobid, so I can manually get rid of the risky ones?

    PS: You had one of the greatest and perfectly working systems, this is definitely step back. Please introduce at least the two round funding, so you will give chance to active investors.

  10. This is no longer a “considered funding site”. All applicants have the same opportunity of receiving funding ie 100% at a known rate. They can get away with providing as little information as possible and ignoring questions as they know that autobid will fill the loan in seconds as has been proven by the first 10 loans to be listed. Personally i have never used autobid as i prefer to rely on my own investment judgement. Funding Circle customers are no longer conscious investors. It appears that I will never be able to make a bid again on this site.

  11. Given the speed that a new loan now gets funded, autobid is essentially compulsory for everybody who can’t log in several times a day. Therefore the more options it can provide the better. Unless of course the intention is that we just lend money and FC do the rest.

  12. It seems that under the new fixed rate regime new loans are being “filled” almost at the moment they go live on the platform. I assume that this is due to the fact that the autobid rates are also fixed. Has FC really thought through the consequences of this? For example, if all bidding is automatic, there is no further due diligence performed by the crowd and investors do not have the opportunity to select individual loans that meet their criteria. In fact, we become wholly reliant on FC’s credit assessment, so de facto you greatly increase your duty of care to investors. Perhaps it would be better to limit the amount of a loan that can be funded through autobid to, say, 25% at “launch” and if the remaing 75% is not filled by the end of the auction, autobid can pick up the remainder. This means that the platform will still benefit from the wisdom of the crowd and investors wanting to be live/active will not feel that they need to move their lending onto a competitor platform. Other issues that you may have introduced include how you prioritise investors’ autobids for each auction (as everyone is now bidding at the same set of rates) and how investors can manage the concentration of their portfolio in the different risk buckets.

    • JohnS, that’s a good idea but unfortunately this is how it is working (or not) at the moment. I have cut and paste a few line from the FC Blog dated 7th September –>

      “We are committed that investors will still have time to review individual loan applications as we grow. Autobid has a 65% cap on all new loan requests it can fill. 35% of all new loans will be available to manual bidders. We are aware of certain investors using automated scripts. We continue to monitor the marketplace and if we feel any individual investor is disrupting the marketplace we will take action.”
      So it looks like these users running automated scripts are taking the 35% available for manual bidders in minutes. FC need to stop these people running automated scripts now.

      • Les C, thanks for enlightening me about the 65% cap. It would be good if FC can reconfirm that this is in operation and that the Government/Local Government contributions are part of the 65% and not the 35%. I agree that action needs to be taken on people running automated scripts. Any update from FC on this ( eg number of such people “terminated”)?

        • I do not think scripts/bots are against the rules. I do not think one can detect bots if they are written cleverly enough. What they could do is slow them down by putting in a minimum wait time between bids on the same loan from the same user account (flippers could get around this by having lots of accounts unless FC checked physical addresses for their users and denied more than e.g. 10 user accounts at any one address; IP spoofing would be pretty easy to get around so there is no point going there – but all this is extra admin for FC which would push their costs up). Even 30secs would probably help things and not annoy too much the manual bidders wanting to do the same sort of thing. But that will stop the flippers so maybe FC would lose a load of funding from the big investors that make money that way. That is my bet – that they actually want flippers and the bots. As usual, it is the little guys that lose out. I am not investing any more money in FC until they enable the small investor to have a bit more power.

  13. It says “Your actual return may be higher or lower as your capital is at risk.” just above the rates table in the article above. I can see why my return may be (or in fact WILL be) lower, but can you tell me how my return may be higher.

    • Hi, returns could be higher if you purchase loan parts on the secondary market at a discount, or you could earn promotional earnings, such as cashback.

  14. Agree with many of the comments below. I avoid Autobid, because one of the tests I apply before investing is whether current assets exceed current liabilities. It is amazing how many A+ and A companies have net current liabilities, which does not bode well for loan repayment.
    If such a test were included in Autobid, I would consider using it.
    Unless the current fixed system fiasco settles down, I shall be gradually removing my funds to invest elsewhere.
    Sadly I feel Funding Circle has forgotten it’s core business – that of peer-to-peer lending. The fact is that bots snap up loans and then flip them, looking for a quick buck, which may well be a money-maker for some but was not the original intention of FC

  15. I want to use Autobid for efficiency but can we please set a max amount per bid rather than a percentage? If we want to increase our cash holding autobid rises to a level im not happy to lend at and so i cant use autobid . This restricts how quickly i can lend as i have to do it manually. I suggested this modification two years ago but still nothing, this is hampering investors and subsequently the platform as a whole.

  16. Not happy about this. I don’t want to be constantly checking up on everything. I was attracted by the simplicity of Funding Circle but in my very early days with you, things are already getting more complicated. I shall be looking elsewhere to invest my money.

    • Hi Douglas, the default secondary offer rates are lower than those of the primary market, however you can set your own secondary offer rate if you would like to set it higher.

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