Helping more investors build a well-diversified portfolio

At Funding Circle, we want you to earn attractive, stable returns by lending to UK businesses. To help you achieve this, we suggest that investors diversify their portfolios by lending small amounts to lots of different businesses.

We want every investor to benefit from a well-diversified portfolio and have a positive lending experience. As part of this, we have decided to change the minimum amount you can lend to each individual business from £20 to £10.

Helping investors with smaller portfolios diversify

Our automatic tool lends no more than 0.5% of your portfolio to any individual business. This means that if one of the businesses you lend to is unable to repay their loan, only a small amount of your portfolio would be affected. Spreading your risk in this way helps you earn a more stable return.

By reducing the minimum loan part size to £10, more investors will be able to build a well-diversified portfolio. Every new investor who lends £2,000 or more will now lend to at least 200 businesses. Lending just £1,000 (the minimum initial transfer) now allows investors to lend to at least 100 businesses, which we believe provides a strong level of diversification. For example, 93% of investors who have diversified like this for at least a year are earning 4% or more.

Please note your existing loan parts will not be affected and this will only affect new loans you lend to. If you lend more than £4,000 you will see no change as our lending tool will lend more than £20 (0.5% of your portfolio) to each business. By lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

If you have any questions on today’s news, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Our new partnership with Just A Card

 

Funding Circle was born from the belief that when small businesses succeed, everyone benefits. I’m proud that we have been able to help more than 42,000 British small businesses to get finance through Funding Circle since 2010. However, we know times are tough for independent businesses across the country, which is why I am delighted to announce that we’ll be supporting the Just A Card campaign.

Just A Card is a not-for-profit campaign run by the incredible Sarah Hamilton and her amazing team of volunteers up and down the UK. For the last three years, Just A Card has been working hard to help small businesses get vital extra sales by encouraging people to make a purchase – however small – through their window stickers, pins and posters. And it’s working! Independent retailers who have joined the campaign say that just reminding shoppers of this fact – that every sale counts – is making a difference. This simple yet powerful message highlights what we need to do to ensure our high streets remain full of thriving independent businesses instead of boarded up shops.

How it started

“I had a light bulb moment three years ago” tells Sarah, who founded the campaign “I read a quote from store owners who’d just shut up shop – “if everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card’ we’d still be open”. I realised then that if we value our independent businesses, it’s not enough just to talk about them. We have to take action to support them.

I firmly believe that people cherish independent businesses and want to support them. However, sometimes they simply don’t recognise how valuable every purchase is. We’ve now got 3,000 businesses supporting our campaign with window stickers across the country. With Funding Circle’s help, we’re going to treble that number to over 10,000 by the end of the year. I’m so excited to be working with Funding Circle because they are just as passionate about supporting small businesses as we are.” 

Support independent businesses this Christmas

We’re going to be sending a window sticker pack to all the relevant small businesses in the Funding Circle community, encouraging them to support the campaign. Particularly in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas, we want people to support their local independent shops, bookstores, cafes and businesses.

So watch out for a very special envelope landing on your doormat early next month. Display your window sticker with pride or pass it on to a local business, and do get involved with ‘Just A Card Indie Week’ November 19 – 23, by following @fundingcircleUK and @justacard on Instagram or visit justacard.org for more details.

James Meekings – Funding Circle Co-founder and UK MD.

Add funds to get an iPad

For a limited time only, you’ll get a gift when you add £15,000 or more to your Funding Circle account!

What gift can I claim?

The gift you receive depends on how much you transfer into your account:

  • Add £30,000 to get an Apple iPad 32GB WiFi
  • Add £20,000 to get £200 John Lewis vouchers
  • Add £15,000 to get an Amazon Echo

What do I need to do?

Add enough funds to your account between 21:00 on Tuesday 16 October and 23:59 on Friday 16th November to get the gift you want. You also need to have lending switched on and keep the extra funds lent out until midnight on Wednesday 16th January 2019. We’ll then send your free gift to the address registered to your Funding Circle account.

Can I use my ISA and Classic accounts?

You can only claim one gift per person. If you only have an ISA account and have used up your ISA allowance, you can transfer existing ISAs you hold from other providers, or open a Classic account.

If you have both an ISA and Classic account registered to the same email address, you can split the extra funds between the two. However, if you withdraw from one and transfer to the other, you won’t qualify for a gift. We’ll look at the net amount added between the two.

If you’re transferring an ISA from another provider, we need to have received your ISA transfer form by 16th November for you to qualify.

Make sure your address is up to date

We will send your free gift to the address registered to your account. Please check your details are up to date by signing in to your account.

To claim your gift, sign in and add funds to your account today.  

For more information speak to our team on 020 7401 9111 or contactus@fundingcircle.com. Terms and conditions apply. By lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Enjoy lending!

The Funding Circle team

Saving for university – by Jasmine Birtles

Jasmine Birtles is a TV and newspaper journalist and personal finance expert. In her new column she’ll be helping you get the most from your investment and reach your personal goals.  

Passing the exams is the easy part. It’s saving for university that really hurts!

It costs the best part of £45,000 to do a three-year degree in the UK right now. That’s set to go up to at least £60,000 in the next ten years. So it’s not surprising that some parents start saving for their children’s university as soon as, or even before, their children are born.

However, even if you don’t have serious spare cash to put aside for your offspring’s education, there are ways to maximize the money you put in. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to help your kids even with limited resources.

Make full use of the JISA

Obviously the more tax you can save on your investments the better, so use ISA allowances as much as possible when saving for university.

Each child has an annual JISA (Junior Individual Savings Account) limit of £4,250 per tax year until they turn 18. Even if you don’t have that much to put in each year, just investing regular, small amounts each month will mount up if you put it in the right products.

Happily, children have time on their side when it comes to investing. If you start when they’re babies they have a good 18 years for the investment to grow, so you can use a stocks and shares (equity) JISA for them. The returns on these products are much higher than you would get on the average bank or building society cash version. Simple index tracking funds tend to be the cheapest and often the best performing. Encourage the grandparents, friends and other family members to add to the pot at birthdays and Christmas.

Of course, the JISA is in your child’s name and it’s not certain that they will use it for university by the time they get their hands on it at age 18. But if you spend some time educating them in the value of saving and help them to respect money then, even if they don’t go to university, they will still know to put that cash into something sensible once they come of age.

Take out your own Innovative Finance ISA

You also can take out an ISA for yourself and you have an annual limit of £20,000 per tax year. There are a few ISAs to choose from now including the Innovative Finance ISA which enables you put money into an online lending platform, such as Funding Circle, within an ISA wrapper. So any gains you make with your lending come to you tax-free.

If you put your money into the Funding Circle ‘Balanced’ ISA, that has a projected return of 6-7%. Then a monthly deposit of just £170 at 6% annual return, would give you £66,000 in 18 years, and that doesn’t even use up your whole ISA allowance.

Beware of ‘specialist’ products

There are, of course, investment products specifically designed for parents looking to save for their child’s university costs. Some of these may do well but on the whole you should be suspicious of any financial product that has clearly been packaged up for, and advertised to, a particular market. These products often have high fees attached to them and tend to be more about the marketing than the market.

Some Friendly Societies offer specialist products like these but their fees tend to be high. Similarly, well-known investment firms offer specialist products that involve a choice of managed investment trusts that you could put your money into. Usually the minimum monthly investment is £25 or £250 one-off lump sum. Again, though, watch their fees as managed funds are generally more expensive than simple index-tracking funds.

Get the kids saving for university too

One of the best ways to help your kids cope financially when they get to university is to encourage them to earn and save while they are teenagers. They really need the help too, as research by the savings association TISA has found that three in five 14-16 year olds borrow money to pay for something, even though four in five of those surveyed receive pocket money and a third of them have a part time job.

So start by helping them get a Saturday job in a local tea shop, car wash or supermarket. Help them fill in application forms, take them to the interview and even contact potential employers yourself. Then help them set up their own savings accounts, showing them how their money can grow over time if they leave it there. If you have the money you could even promise to match any savings they accumulate once they get to university.

For more information

To find out more about the Funding Circle ISA visit fundingcircle.com/innovative-finance-isa.

Your actual return may be higher or lower and your capital is at risk. The tax-free entitlement of an ISA depends on your individual circumstances and may change.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent specialist advice.

Funding Circle lists on the London Stock Exchange

We are pleased to announce that we are now a public limited company (plc) and are listed on the London Stock Exchange. This is the next stage in our exciting journey to help thousands more small businesses access the finance they need to grow, and to provide investors with a better deal.

Today’s news is an exciting moment for the company, but we wanted to reiterate that your lending experience will not be affected in any way.

If you have any questions about your experience at Funding Circle, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

News

Update on Funding Circle’s next stage of growth

This is an advertisement and not a prospectus. Potential investors should not apply for or buy any shares in Funding Circle Holdings Limited (to be renamed Funding Circle Holdings plc) (the “Company”) except on the basis of information contained in a prospectus that may be published by the Company and which, if published, will be made available at corporate.fundingcircle.com.

 

Important Funding Circle update

 

Since Funding Circle launched 8 years ago, investors on our platform have lent more than £5 billion to over 50,000 businesses globally, earning attractive returns whilst supporting economic growth and job creation across the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Today we have announced the next stage of our growth and we’re delighted to confirm that we are considering proceeding with an initial public offering (IPO). This means Funding Circle’s ownership structure would change from a private company to a publicly listed company.

What this means for you

Should we decide to proceed with an IPO, there will be no impact on your existing relationship with Funding Circle. Additionally, we anticipate that you will have the opportunity to apply to participate in the IPO and become a shareholder in Funding Circle via an intermediaries offer.

Further information on this possible offer and the potential intermediaries involved will be available in due course. We anticipate any potential intermediaries offer to open in the coming weeks if the IPO proceeds. Once open there will only be a limited time in which to apply. Before making any investment decision you should speak with your own stockbroker or financial advisor.

We believe these developments highlight an exciting future for Funding Circle. Thank you for your continued support and if you have any questions about your experience at Funding Circle, please get in touch.

The Funding Circle team

This advertisement is issued by and is the sole responsibility of Funding Circle Holdings Limited (shortly to be renamed Funding Circle Holdings plc) (“Funding Circle”) and has been approved solely for the purposes of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by Numis Securities Limited (“Numis”), whose registered address is at The London Stock Exchange Building, 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LT, and who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Numis is acting exclusively for Funding Circle and no-one else in relation to or in connection with the possible offer of the shares in Funding Circle and will not be responsible to anyone other than Funding Circle for providing protections afforded to clients of Numis and is not providing, and will not provide, advice in relation to the possible offer or any matter referred to in this advertisement. This advertisement does not constitute an offer or recommendation concerning the shares referred to in this advertisement or advice about purchasing shares in the Company and is not a substitute for independent advice about legal, financial, investment or tax matters.

 

Before purchasing any shares, you should make sure that you fully understand and accept the risks which will be set out in any prospectus which may be published by the Company at the time of any share offer and made available at corporate.fundingcircle.com. If you have any concerns about the suitability of shares in the Company, you should consult an independent financial advisor.
 
This advertisement is not for distribution or publication in any jurisdiction outside the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. In particular, this advertisement is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in or within the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Japan or any other jurisdiction where it would be unlawful to distribute this advertisement.

 

No reliance may be placed for any purpose whatsoever on the information contained in this document or on its accuracy or completeness. Apart from the responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be imposed by FSMA or the regulatory regime established thereunder, no liability whatsoever is accepted by Funding Circle, Numis or any of their respective members, directors, officers or employees nor any other person for any loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of such information or opinions otherwise arising in connection therewith.
News

How our collections process works

At Funding Circle our aim is for you to earn stable returns by lending directly to businesses. As with any type of lending, some businesses may run into difficulties after taking their loan and be unable to repay it in full. We call this bad debt. We expect a certain percentage of bad debt to occur each year and account for it in your projected return.

When a business falls behind with their repayments, our Servicing, Collections and Recoveries team will work closely with them to achieve the best possible outcome for investors. To help you understand the steps in more detail, we’ve set out below a guide to how our collections process works.

A repayment becomes late

When a business falls behind in payments we try to contact them straight away. Many are responsive and cooperative (more on this below). However, if we cannot reach them, we have a phased approach to resolve the issue:

Try to retake the direct debit

We typically find out if a direct debit has failed 3 days before the payment date. At this point we automatically send an email to the borrower, and we try to retake the direct debit. We will also phone the borrower to understand why the direct debit failed and to ensure that the relevant account has the required funds.

Send a demand letter

If the second direct debit fails, we phone and email at least twice before issuing a formal demand letter for the payment. After issuing the letter we will continue to phone and email the borrower (and any guarantors).

Charge a late fee

After seven days we will apply an administration fee to their arrears and send another demand letter to both the borrower and the loan guarantors. The letters include documents explaining some of the possible consequences of insolvency.

The purpose of the administration fee is to encourage borrowers to get the loan back up to date, and not to prioritise other creditors over their debt to Funding Circle investors. The fee, if received, goes towards any third party costs that arise from dealing with their case (i.e. tracing agents, court fees, external lawyers, etc).

We continue to contact the borrower and guarantor by phone and email. We also use online tracking technology and other data sources to try to trace the borrower, and may arrange a site visit by a field agent.

Default the loan

Depending on the circumstances, if we have had no contact from the borrower or the guarantors we may then decide to default the loan. We will typically default a loan when it has been late for three months, although we may default at any time if we believe it is in the best interests of investors. When the loan is defaulted we demand full payment of the full outstanding amount from the borrower and the guarantors.  

This also has the effect of crystallising the debt of the guarantors, and enables us to commence formal legal or insolvency action.

Most of our recoveries come through the loan guarantors, usually in one of four ways:

1. Payment plans

We will always seek to agree a fair and affordable payment plan with borrowers and guarantors. We want guarantors to get back on their feet and repay the loan in full over time, and usually we will not agree to an early settlement figure for less than 100% of the principal and owed interest. We always ask for contractual interest to be paid too. If the payments are below a certain threshold, we will require security on the guarantor’s property.

We review payment plans (and the guarantors’ financial position) periodically throughout each year, to ensure that the level of payment plan is fair to both the borrower and to investors. Although repayments may be small to start with, given time payment plans do increase and form a significant part of the recoveries for investors.

2. Individual voluntary arrangements

We do not accept informal settlements, but we will review (and often accept) a guarantor’s proposals for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). This may involve some write-down of the debt. Having an IVA in place (rather than an informal arrangement) ensures that an insolvency practitioner, who is an officer of the court, stands behind the agreement and is responsible for making sure the proposal is fair and accurate. An IVA is designed to give people another chance, and we respect the legal purpose behind this procedure.

3. Bankruptcy

Sometimes bankruptcy is the right option for an individual. When a guarantor is made bankrupt, we will always try to get an insolvency practitioner from our panel appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy (i.e. the person who takes controls of the bankrupt’s assets and carries out various investigations). However, sometimes this is not possible. When an individual enters bankruptcy it is very rare that there will be a material recovery for investors.

4. Court Action

Sometimes court action will result in us appointing High Court Enforcement Officers (i.e. bailiffs) to agree a payment plan with a guarantor, or we seek to obtain a charge on their property and then an Order for Sale. This is very much the last resort for us.

We will normally stop any legal action if the guarantor starts communicating with us again. That said, if we have any reason to believe that a guarantor is deliberately trying to deceive us (rather than simply being afraid to face up to his or her responsibilities), we will always take legal action or commence bankruptcy proceedings rather than try to negotiate or approve an IVA.

Support for credible borrowers

As mentioned above, many borrowers who experience difficulties do communicate with us and want to repay their loan once they get back on track. Where possible we try to find a solution that will allow them to keep going. If they can turn their business around, sell assets or start a new business, not only does it help them, but we can recover far more for investors over the long term.

The borrower is always encouraged to pay all arrears as quickly as possible. However, if they are credible, then by not pushing for an immediate (and unlikely) payment in full we can create trust and loyalty. By supporting  businesses through difficult periods, we aim for full repayment of the principal with all accrued interest for investors.

We have developed this strategy over many years and it has produced strong results. We will continue to refine and improve our process, and work tirelessly to chase every late payment and defaulted loan to get the best outcome for investors.

If you’d like to learn more about bad debt, defaults and how they can impact your return, more information can found in the following articles:

Bad debt, defaults and why not to be afraid of them

Meet the Collections and Recoveries team, who help keep your returns healthy

How returns change over time

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Saving for a house – by Jasmine Birtles

Jasmine Birtles is a TV and newspaper journalist and personal finance expert. In her new column she’ll be helping you get the most from your investment and reach your personal goals.  

Whether you’re after a home of your own, or you want to help the kids get on the housing ladder, saving for a house can be a daunting prospect. Fortunately there are various things you can do to get the keys to that first home quicker than you thought.

Add to your savings

To get a mortgage you’ll need a deposit and that’s where people struggle. Stay focused and make some sacrifices and you can get there:

  • If your parents are able to have you, you could move in with them temporarily and put aside money you would have spent on rent and bills.
  • Cut your costs including going out, getting takeaways, spending on clothes and the like.
  • Switch all the bills you pay to get the cheapest monthly rate.
  • Check your old direct debits and cut subscriptions including magazines, gyms and unused apps.

Use every scheme going

There are a few Government schemes around specifically aimed at first-time buyers, so make the most of them.

Help to Buy

Help to Buy Shared Ownership works like the schemes run by Housing Associations. You get the chance to buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75% of the value) and then you pay rent on the remaining share. Later on, you could buy bigger shares or the whole lot once you can afford to.

The Help to Buy Equity Loan is a government scheme that helps buyers get a new build property in England. It’s set to run until 2020 and is available to homeowners looking to move as well as first time buyers, but only for new-build homes that are worth under £600,000. It gives an equity loan of up to 20% of the price of the house you want to buy and it means that you personally only need to put down a 5% deposit to get a good mortgage.

The Help to Buy ISA is a savings scheme where the government will top up your savings by 25% (up to £3,000). Your first payment to your ISA can be up to £1,200 and then you can pay up to £200 each month. When you buy your property, your lawyer will apply for the extra 25%. Happily you don’t have to pay it back.

Find out more about all three here.

Starter Home Scheme

In this scheme, 200,000 new build homes will be made available (soon!) to first-time buyers under 40 years old. At least 20% will be taken off the market price, costing no more than £250,000 outside London and £450,000 in London. There’s more here.

Get your parents to help

You’ll probably have had this conversation already, but if your parents or grandparents can help with the deposit it can be invaluable.

However, if they want to help but don’t have the money, they could still be a guarantor for you. There are several ‘guarantor mortgages’ on the market that allow parents, grandparents, or friends to help you buy a property without actually having to hand over any cash at the start. Ask a mortgage broker which lenders offer these.

Try Shared Ownership

…with a housing association

Shared Ownership is usually run by a housing association or council. You own part of a property and pay a small rent on the other part which is owned by the housing association or council.

Competition is high for a place on a housing association list so get in as soon as you can. You can only be on it if your household income is less than £80,000 per year outside of London or less than £90,000 per year inside London. You can find out more here.

…with a friend

Consider doing your own, private ‘shared ownership’ scheme where you buy with a friend or partner. It’s a bit risky but so long as you know that you can get on with the other person, and you have watertight contracts in place, then it can work.

Make extra cash

Aim to make at least an extra £100 a month with a side-earner. You could be  a film extra, do focus groups or babysitting, make cakes to sell, mend computers and more, depending on your skills and time. See the Make Money section on my website, MoneyMagpie.com for more ideas.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent specialist advice.

Your spring review 2018

By lending through Funding Circle you make a huge difference to businesses throughout the UK. With your help they’re able to grow, create jobs, develop new products and support local communities. Thank you for your continued support – you’re helping drive the UK economy forward! Read on to find out more in your spring review. 

Spring review – lending figures

Between April-June 2018 you and other investors helped thousands more businesses get the finance they need to thrive.

Spring review

*In April-June 2018, new loans made through Funding Circle helped unlock 4,140 jobs across the UK.

April-Jun 2018 sector breakdown

The industries you have been lending to:

Spring review

April-June 2018 regional breakdown

Your lending has been helping every region throughout the UK: 

Spring review

More on your impact

For more detail on how your lending is helping businesses throughout the UK, check out our blog on how you’re helping the economy grow.

Or if you prefer to look at the wider picture, read our Spring Industry News for updates and articles on investing, important finance news and more. Or sign in to your account to add funds

By lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Enjoy lending!

The Funding Circle team

 

VIDEO. Meet the Yorkshire businesses who grew with finance

Spanning from the Pennines to the North Sea and from Sheffield to Whitby, Yorkshire is by far the largest county in the UK. It encompasses empty moorland and crowded cities, high fells and low plains.

On August 1st each year Yorkshire celebrates its own day. Starting out as a military holiday in 1975, it has been held and enjoyed ever since. Steadily evolving over time, it’s now a day to remember and celebrate the local traditions, culture and people of God’s own country.

To join the celebrations we visited three Yorkshire businesses. Teasdale Motors, The Yorkshire Gelato Company and The Great Yorkshire Gift Shop have all been able to progress thanks to loans from Funding Circle. They’ve been able to buy more stock, employ more staff and increase turnover by up to £1 million per year.

In this short video, meet business owners Andy, Dave and Aeneas. They talk more about being a Yorkshire business owner how Funding Circle has helped them to grow.

Looking for finance to grow your business?

Expand, hire staff, buy stock, boost cash flow or fund your next step with fast affordable finance. Check if you qualify in 30 seconds at fundingcircle.com.

Want to lend to businesses like this?

Lend alongside 78,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

The new ISA season for investors and your spring industry news

The new ISA season from peer-to-peer lenders – The Telegraph

Discussing the emergence of the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), the Telegraph describes how the industry has been able to offer far higher interest rates than the banks. Launched in 2016, there is now a wide variety of IFISA providers lending to different types of borrowers. “After the financial crisis this new type of lending took off as savers lost faith in banks amid plummeting returns on savings accounts.” With the range of products now available, IFISA numbers are expected to swell rapidly this year.  

50 ways to boost your savings income: peer-to-peer lending – Moneywise

Looking in more detail at how to use lending platforms, Moneywise discuss the benefits of diversification. “P2P platforms operate differently, so check whether you are lending to one individual or business, or your money is being distributed between a number of borrowers.” At Funding Circle, our lending tool will spread your funds across a variety of businesses to help you build a diversified portfolio.

Report shows the dramatic impact Funding Circle has on the economy – The Times

As well as earning for your future, your lending is helping the country to thrive. A recent report by Oxford Economics showed that, thanks to your lending, businesses created and sustained 45,000 UK jobs in 2017 and contributed £2.4 billion to the economy. John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said it showed that the rise of “peer-to-peer lending has brought about real benefits, not only for the businesses of Britain but, as this report shows, our economy, too”. Having founded Funding Circle in 2010 to help small businesses, CEO Samir Desai tells Bloomberg how rewarding it is to see the impact it’s having on the UK economy.

A dozen start-ups trying to revolutionise SME banking – Forbes

Another exciting development was the announcement that Funding Circle is on the shortlist for Nesta’s Open Up Challenge. Backed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the 12 finalists are looking to create innovative new products to improve financial services for small and medium sized businesses. City A.M. describes how each finalist will receive a grant of £100,000 to work on their ventures, plus early access to open banking data.

The UK is officially the tech unicorn capital of Europe – Evening Standard

As well as leading the way on financial innovations, the UK has been crowned the tech unicorn capital of Europe. A unicorn is any private company with a valuation of £1 billion or more. The news is not only good for growing companies looking to hire the best talent, but also for consumers who have been able to benefit from these exciting new products. From the takeaway app Deliveroo to challenger bank Revolut, consumers are enjoying a wealth of new possibilities thanks to innovative UK companies.

Is it wrong for banks to launch flanker brands? – Alt Fi

The growth of such innovative tech businesses changing the shape of financial services. In response, several banks such as Natwest, ING and Santander have launched or announced their own digital offshoots. Known as ‘flanker brands’ they have received criticism from some for trying to hide their parent company under a new brand. Samir Desai, however, disagrees, and believes it could actually be a good thing for fintech – “I don’t think [they are] morally dubious. I think banks have in the past had lots of different brands” he said. “In many ways, it’s a good thing. It expands the market and it brings more borrowers online and we’re very comfortable competing for borrowers online.”

Fintech is giving small businesses access to finance – Raconteur

While the banks look to respond, businesses are already reaping the benefits of the new opportunities tech has brought. Pirates Grog Rum describe how they have grown 100% year on year after switching from bank loans to Funding Circle. In contrast to the hassle and paperwork of applying through banks, business owner Beth Jones much preferred our quick, straightforward process “Funding Circle was so much easier and gave us what we needed, all online. In fact, we arranged the latest loan while on holiday in India. It’s a great relief to know it’s there to ease cash flow when we need to restock at busy times.”

Bobbin bicycles show how to keep the export wheels turning – The Times

Looking at more success stories, The Times interviewed Bobbin Bicycles, who have shown the path to success for British exporters in a post-Brexit world. They got support from the Department of Trade, who gave valuable advice and helped fund trips to overseas trade fairs. Combined with extra finance and a lively Instagram account, their business has gone from strength to strength. It’s amazing how people find us from around the world,” said Cofounder Sian. “A lot of it comes through social media. Someone sees a picture online and the next thing you know we are selling bikes in Uruguay.”

Funding Circle hires first female non-executive director – Sky News

Finally, as well as having an external impact, we’ve also made some exciting internal changes. In May we announced our new board member Cath Keers. A former O2 executive, Cath is an experienced executive in the technology, retail and logistics industries. “Funding Circle is changing how the world’s small businesses access finance, and the impact it’s had on the economy and job creation over the past eight years is inspiring. I share the team’s commitment to delivering the best results for customers. The company’s high levels of repeat business demonstrate that both investors and borrowers also recognise this passion.”

Remember, by lending to businesses your investment can go down as well as up and your capital is at risk.

What is compound interest and how can it boost your earnings?

Whether you’re investing for your retirement, a new home or your children’s future, compound interest can help you reach your financial goals faster. It’s effect means that even small changes in what you put away each month can make a huge difference to your earnings over time. To help you understand how, we take a look at how it works and what it could mean for you.

What is compound interest?

Compound interest can help boost your earnings over time. Here is a basic example of how it works.

Say you have an investment of £10,000 and earn interest at 5% per year, your balance would go up as follows:

Year 1

Interest added = 5% of £10,000 = £500

Total balance = £10,500

Year 2

Interest added = 5% of £10,500 = £525

Total balance = £11,025

Year 3

Interest added = 5% of £11,025 = £551.25

Total balance = £11,576.25

You can see the amount of interest that gets added each year goes up, as you are effectively earning interest on your interest. This is what is meant by compound interest.

Regular contributions can help accelerate your earnings

Naturally, putting money aside each month means you’ll have more in your account. However, regular payments will also help you earn more interest. The more money there is in your account, the more interest it will gather, and the more compound interest you’ll earn on top of that.  

If you started with £10,000, here’s an example of what you could earn on the Balanced lending option with regular monthly payments:

Compound interest table

As you can see, the amount of interest you could earn goes up rapidly with bigger monthly payments. A simple way to make regular payments into your account is to set up a standing order. Find out how here.

Think long term for bigger returns

When you start to look long term, compound interest can help your earnings grow exponentially. The difference can be really quite remarkable. Here’s an example of what you could earn on the Balanced lending option if you started with £10,000 and added £100 each month: 


20-30 years may seem like a long time, but if you’re planning for your retirement or a nest egg for your children, it may be a realistic timeline. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start benefiting from your compound interest. The increases in what you could earn get bigger and bigger over time. This is all thanks to compound interest. By earning interest on your interest over many years, your earning potential rises dramatically. After 16 years you could have doubled your money. After 30 years, you could have more than tripled it.

Keep lending switched on

When you receive repayments from businesses, our lending tool will automatically lend them out again to other businesses. By keeping lending active, you’ll be able to gain even more from compound interest. All you have to do is keep lending switched on for your account. If you have lending paused, you can start lending again from the Lending settings page of your account.

To add funds to your account login here, or learn how to set up a standing order. By lending to businesses your capital is at risk and funds are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Enjoy lending!

These figures are estimates based on lending an initial £10,000 through the Balanced lending option, earning a return of 6% per year. They were calculated using a compound interest calculator. The projected return for the Balanced lending option is 6-7% per year after fees and bad debt, but before tax. Your actual return may be higher or lower. Please note, forecasts are not a reliable indicator of future performance and your capital is at risk.

This blog is a general summary, and should not replace financial advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional advisor or seek independent specialist advice.

 

Update to our projected returns

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to a diversified portfolio of creditworthy businesses. As part of this commitment, we regularly review and update our assessment process and the interest rates at which you lend to businesses.

Following our most recent review, we have updated the projected returns we display for each lending option and will now show these returns as a range.

Introducing ranges for projected returns

The projected return is the annual return that a diversified investor could earn, after fees and bad debt but before tax, by lending to businesses through each lending option. To reflect there is an expected level of uncertainty when making predictions about loan performance we are introducing ranges for the projected returns.

What are the new projected returns?

Following our most recent review of our gross interest rates and taking into account the above, the projected returns for our Balanced and Conservative lending options are now:

  • Balanced – 6 – 7%
  • Conservative 5 – 5.5%

You can see more information on how the projected return is calculated here.

What other factors can affect your return?

It’s important to understand that your actual return may be higher or lower than the projected return shown for your chosen lending option. This can be caused by factors such as:

  • Actual performance may be higher or lower than projected – for example, more businesses may be unable to repay their loans if macroeconomic conditions were to change, such as during an economic downturn. In addition, the individual businesses you lend to may perform better or worse than projected.
  • The number of businesses you lend to – it’s important to understand that you are lending to your own individual portfolio of loans and not everyone will earn the same projected return. As your personal projected return depends on the loans your funds are matched with, the more businesses you lend to the better our lending tool will be at matching your funds to achieve the projected returns shown. Lending to more businesses also helps you earn a more stable return by reducing the impact of bad debt.
  • Your actual return is likely to change over time the projected return is the annual return you could earn once all loans have repaid and recoveries have been received from defaulted loans. It’s important to remember that bad debts do not typically occur evenly over the life of a group of loans, and it often takes time for recoveries to be made on defaulted loans. This means your return is likely to change over time. You can read more about this here.

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

These projected returns only affect new loans made through the platform, and will not affect any loan parts you currently hold. We will review and if necessary, update the projected returns every three months. We display projected returns for the past five years of loans on our statistics page, and update these every three months.

You do not need to do anything and, by having lending switched on, you will continue to lend to businesses automatically. As always, you can change your lending option or pause lending via the lending settings page of your account.

If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

How to earn a more stable return with diversification

We want to help you get the most from your account and earn attractive returns. One of the best ways to earn a more stable return is diversification. Check out our infographic to find out what diversification means and how it works, or read our summary below. 

Diversification

What is diversification?

Diversification is a way of spreading your risk. It’s basically a fancy word for saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

At Funding Circle, this means splitting your investment into lots of small pieces, then lending them out to different businesses.

Why is it important?

As an example, say you lent £2,000 all to just one business. If they were unable to repay their loan, you could lose all of your money in one go.

Instead, if you were to split your £2,000 across 200 businesses, you could then lend just £10 to each. Then if one or two of them couldn’t repay, you would only lose a small amount.

You would still have a great chance of earning a good return overall.

What do I need to do?

To help, we’ve made diversification easy. Our automatic tool will help you lend your money in small amounts to lots of different businesses.

We suggest lending £2,000 or more, as our lending tool will then spread your funds across at least 200 businesses, with no more than 0.5% going to each one. 93% of the investors who have diversified like this for at least a year have earned 4% or more.

To lend £2,000 or more and diversify your account today, simply login to your account.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. By lending to businesses your capital is at risk and funds are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Data correct as of 30 September 2018.

Enjoy lending!

5 ways to treat your Dad this Father’s Day

Trying to think of something to get your Dad this Father’s Day? Instead of giving him another pair of socks or a coffee mug, we have come up with a variety of ideas for all the different Dads out there. All these businesses have been able to flourish thanks to your lending.

Organise a trip away

Does your Dad love being outdoors? How about organising a short trip away to the rural village of Alves in Northern Scotland? Here you’ll find North Alves Holiday Park. The company is run by a passionate couple who have come up with their very own unique style of “glamping”. When visiting this park you have the opportunity to stay in a SKARA central-BBQ cabin, which allows you to enjoy the pleasure of socialising and cooking at the same time. In order to continue to cater for the ever-growing needs of their customers, the company borrowed £31,000 on two separate occasions in 2017 and 2018.

 

Get ready for a fishing trip

Does your Dad reckon himself as a bit of an angler? If so head down to Top Tackle for his Father’s Day supplies this year. These guys offer a range of fishing tackle and other accessories. They deal with a number of major fishing tackle manufacturers, such as Korda and Preston Innovations. The company borrowed £5,000 at the beginning of the year. This funding helped to introduce even further ranges to their online portal and renovate their store in central Oxford.

Have some throwback fun

Get the flares out of the cupboard and break out the Dad dancing with at Razza Roller Disco! Razza was created by dance champion Gary Newley in 2012 with the purpose to deliver an incredible customer service for all. You can also book a skating lesson at Razza Skate Academy. The company was able to expand into other areas of the country after they borrowed £47,000.00 at the beginning of 2018, purchasing new DJ gear, safety equipment and uniforms.

Watch an extreme sports performance

Is your Dad more into adrenaline action? Check out Inspire Shows, who provide unforgettable extreme sports performances. You may recognise their team of highly skilled stunt individuals from the popular TV show “Don’t Tell the Bride”, where they conducted the world’s first ever extreme sports wedding. Thanks to your lending, the company purchased more stunt ramps for their nail-biting shows, enabling them to host multiple bookings on the same day.

Get a luxury grooming set

Finally, if your Dad is needing some R&R then you could always spoil him rotten with a gift set from Debonair Male and Fitness Grooming. Whether it’s their Deluxe Beard Oil Gift Box or Daily Shampoo Moisturising Conditioner Set, this luxury British brand provides a range of high-quality products with an innovative approach. Their aim is to make men of all ages and backgrounds feel good about themselves. The company was able to purchase new salon equipment after borrowing £13,000 at the beginning of 2018.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?
Lend alongside 79,000 investors and support British businesses by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started. There are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Digging into the data: How your lending helps the UK economy to grow

At Funding Circle, we’re proud of what you have achieved by lending directly to small businesses. Since 2010, more than 75,000 investors have earned an average return of 6.4% per year after fees and bad debt. In addition to earning attractive returns, you’ve also had a significant role in supporting the growth of the UK economy.

Your contribution has been highlighted by research published today by Oxford Economics, a leading economic consultancy firm. Their report, which can be seen in full here, reveals how small businesses are using the funds you lend them to:

  • Create and sustain tens of thousands of British jobs
  • Add billions of pounds to the UK economy
  • Make a significant contribution to UK tax receipts

In this blog, we will investigate how businesses use their loans and how this benefits communities across the UK.

Your lending is an increasingly vital source of funding for small businesses

Small business isn’t small. It forms the backbone of the UK economy, accounting for approximately half of the UK’s GDP¹ and 60% of private sector employment.² Between 2011 and 2017 the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK grew by 28%.³

Despite the demand for small business finance increasing, banks have continued to focus on funding larger businesses. The proportion of outstanding bank loans held by SMEs fell from 38% to 35.6% during this same period.⁴ Your lending is helping to bridge this gap, with over £3.4 billion lent to businesses through Funding Circle since 2010.

2017 net lending figures, Funding Circle and UK banks

Net lending in 2017  

Source: Bank of England, Funding Circle

If small businesses across the UK are to thrive, it’s important that the total amount of credit available to them grows. The above chart shows the net lending—the difference between new lending and repayments received on existing loans—of both Funding Circle and the 30 largest UK-resident banks combined in 2017.

Net lending is used by the Bank of England to discover the new amount of lending to small businesses throughout the economy. When looking at new sources of finance for small businesses, investors like you are providing nearly as many new funding opportunities as the entire UK banking system put together. Investors lending through Funding Circle created £598 million in net lending, compared to £677 million for all UK-resident banks.

When small businesses win, we all win

To help determine the full impact of your lending, in February 2018 Oxford Economics surveyed more than 500 UK small businesses owners who had previously taken out a loan through Funding Circle. They found that small businesses use the funds you lend them in three key ways:


You can be proud that you not only help the businesses you’re lending to, but your lending also has positive knock-on effects throughout the economy.

You lend to businesses based all over the UK

These benefits are being felt by businesses all over the UK. The chart below shows where businesses who accessed finance through Funding Circle in 2017 are located:

Loans made to UK businesses in 2017, by local authority district

As you can see, in one year alone your lending has benefited towns and cities from every corner of the UK.

Your impact on the UK economy

Business owners were asked about topics such as their revenue, job creation, and tax payments. Oxford Economics were then able to determine the overall impact investors’ lending is having on the UK economy.

For example, the chart below shows the direct, indirect and induced economic impact of the outstanding funds lent by investors in 2017:

The economic impact of outstanding loans in 2017

Source: Oxford Economics

From this you can see three key areas of the UK economy where your lending is having a significant impact:

  • Your lending creates and sustains jobs – In 2017, investors’ lending supported 45,000 jobs across the UK, either by creating new jobs, or preventing existing ones from being lost.
  • Your lending boosts the overall economyIn 2017, investors’ lending supported a gross value added⁵ contribution to the UK economy of £2.4 billion.
  • Your lending grows the public pursethe taxes paid by small businesses help build schools and hospitals all over the country. In 2017, investors’ lending supported the generation of more than £700 million in tax revenues.⁶

Make a return and a difference

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to businesses. Although the return you earn is important, it’s rewarding to take a step back and appreciate the positive impact your lending is having. By continuing to provide small businesses with access to the finance they need to grow, you are playing a vital role in the growth of the UK economy.

By lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

¹  Source: http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06078/SN06078.pdf

²  Source: http://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics

³  Source: ONS, UK business: activity,size and location — 2017, 1 November 2017.

⁴  Source: Bank of England

⁵  This gross value added measure of production, or GVA, is similar to the well-known gross domestic product measure (GDP). The only difference is that GVA is valued at the ‘basic’ price received by the producer, excluding taxes on sales such as VAT, rather than at the ‘market’ price paid by the purchaser, including those taxes.

⁶ The taxes included are corporations tax, employers’ national insurance and business rates paid by the firm, income tax and national insurance paid by its employees, taxes on the firms’ purchases from other firms, and VAT and duties targeting final consumers of the firms’ products.

The world needs small business

Small businesses play a vital role in driving prosperity around the world. They create jobs, provide essential services, develop exciting new products and support local communities. In the UK alone they account for 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment. In short, small businesses are the unsung heroes of our economy, so we decided to do some singing.

Funding Circle was founded to help small businesses get the finance they need to thrive. Having worked with thousands of businesses, we’ve seen first hand how access to funds allows them to keep progressing and achieve even more. To celebrate the contribution they make, we’ve partnered with Oxford Economics to produce an in-depth report looking at the economic impact of lending through Funding Circle.

Below you can find the key findings from the report, a summary video and the report in full. Watch it, read it, share it and help spread the news of our amazing small businesses up and down the country.

Download the full report – The Economic Impact Report of Lending Through Funding Circle.

You can also find more information in our blog – Digging into the data: How your lending helps the UK economy to grow.

Figures taken from the FSB. By lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

VIDEO – Watch how this mini golfer grew thanks to his business caddie

With its unique decor, delicious cocktails and amazing atmosphere, Lost City Adventure Golf is not your typical mini golf venue. Like Barry, the co-founder, the place is made to do more.

cocktail bar lost city adventure mini golf

Located in the centre of Nottingham, this indoor mini golf business has got it all. Exceptional premises, friendly staff and two amazing cocktail bars with lots of seating space to enjoy a drink with friends.

This is exactly the vision Barry had for his business when he launched Lost City Adventure Golf in 2013. However, like many other small businesses, the journey to get where it is today was far from easy. After long hours, hard work and some careful consideration, Barry knew that funding was needed to take his business to the next level.

Looking for finance is always an important decision for any business owners. As well as looking into all the different options, the pressure of making the right decision for the business can be overwhelming.

So he could focus on running his business, Barry chose to avoid stressing about this dilemma and approached Steve at Central Finance. Steve helped him weigh his options, and they decided that a Funding Circle loan was the best choice for Lost City Adventure Golf. Barry could then get on with what he does best – driving his business forward.

Our relationship with commercial finance brokerages like Central Finance have helped thousands of small businesses access the funding they needed to grow. As a Funding Circle Business Champion, Steve was able to quickly complete the whole application on Barry’s behalf, with approval in 24 hours.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Lost City Adventure Golf?
Lend alongside 79,000 investors and support British businesses by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started. There are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Are you a commercial finance broker?
We are always looking to extend our network of partners to help small businesses across the UK fulfill their potential. Email our Introducer team at introducer@fundingcircle.com to find out how we can work together.

Introducing your new statistics page

At Funding Circle we are committed to providing you with access to easy to understand loan performance information. Today marks the next phase of this commitment as we launch a new and improved statistics page, which will be updated every three months and will provide you with a clearer and more accessible view of how loans are currently performing.

Exploring your new statistics page

Alongside our global lending figures, your new statistics page is designed to allow you to easily understand three key areas of information:

  • Lending – How much have investors in the UK lent to businesses?
  • Returns – How are loans currently performing in the UK?
  • Businesses – What kind of UK businesses are you lending to?

Providing you with the full picture of loan performance

The performance information we provide you on our statistics page uses our most up-to-date estimates, or projections. It’s important to remember that over an investment period there will always be some businesses who are unable to repay their loans. To reflect this, our projections are updated every three months using the actual performance data experienced so far. You can see an example of how this works in the chart below:


The projected return is the return we estimate loans will achieve over their lifetime. This is an annualised number and is updated every three months. It is calculated using the actual return received to date, plus the estimated return for outstanding loans that have not yet been fully repaid.

The return is shown as a range to reflect that the actual number of businesses who are unable to repay their loans could be higher or lower than estimated. As loans are repaid, the range of return shown will narrow and will be updated to reflect actual performance. Full explanations of all our statistics can be found in our definitions section on the statistics page.

Presenting you with data in a relevant format

It’s important that the data we provide continues to be presented in a way that’s relevant to investors’ needs. As part of this latest update we have withdrawn the downloadable loanbook.

While the loanbook was a useful resource for early-investors lending through Funding Circle, as the platform has grown and become popular with a broader group of investors, the number of people downloading it has fallen significantly. For example, approximately only 0.3% of investors downloaded the loanbook in the last month. It’s important that you are still able to access loan-by-loan information on the businesses you are lending to, which you can download from your Funding Circle account.

Validating our performance data

As part of our commitment to providing transparent loan information to investors, we have partnered with AltFi Data. AltFi Data are independent and well-respected industry experts with deep knowledge of online lending, and they will provide independent verification of the figures we provide to you. They will review the loan information every three months to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

May Round-Up

Welcome to May’s round-up. This month we have usual stories and advice, plus thoughts on the Royal Wedding from a bridal boutique you’ve helped to fund. Read on below to find answers to more of your most asked questions, plus we look at bad debt, defaults and why you shouldn’t be afraid of them.

Business owner quote of the month

“This has provided a cash flow lifeline to my business, enabling me to fund new staff members and build my business” — Andrew.

Investor quote of the month

“I am really enjoying being a lender and love the way I can watch my investment grow” — Diane.

7 steps to planning your dream wedding

To celebrate the coming together of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we bring you 7 businesses to plan the wedding of your dreams. From finding the perfect dress to booking the ideal honeymoon, these businesses have all been able to flourish thanks to your lending.

With the wedding only a day away, we also spoke to bridal boutique and Funding Circle borrower Froufrou for their thoughts on Meghan’s dress:

“We’re hoping she goes more demure and stylish compared to the more traditional gown of Kate Middleton. We love the embellished gowns from potential designers Ralph & Russo, but whatever she chooses will be breathtakingly beautiful!”

Top 5 investor questions answered – part 2

Our investor support team are on hand to help with any queries you have about your account, how lending works or Funding Circle in general. Continuing from last month’s article, we have more of the answers you’re looking for in your top questions answered – part 2.

Bad debt, defaults and why not to be afraid of them

In this blog, we describe what these terms mean and discuss how you can reduce their impact to still earn a good return at Funding Circle. Find out more here.

April round-up

In case you missed, here’s our April round-up. In this blog you can find industry news, business success stories, your top 5 questions answered and changes and opportunities for the new tax year from Simon Read.

As always, if you have any questions or comments our dedicated team are here to help. And if you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team