How to access your funds

When you lend through Funding Circle, your money is matched to loans which are paid back over a period of up to five years. As a result, it is important to treat lending as an investment, as your money may be tied up for this time period.

Your funds are lent out in small amounts to lots of different businesses. These are called loan parts, and each month you receive back a portion of the money you have lent plus interest. By keeping lending switched on, these repayments will be lent out again on more loans. This creates a rolling investment to help you earn better returns.

When you want to withdraw funds you have two options:

1. Switch off lending to withdraw small amounts

If you’d like to take out small amounts, you can withdraw your repayments as you go. Simply sign in to your account, go to the ‘Lending Settings’ page and turn off lending. Your repayments will no longer be lent out and the funds will accrue in your account ready for you to withdraw. 

The rate at which your funds will accrue will vary, but on average investors get back: 

Approx 3-5% of their portfolio after the first month 

Approx 15-20% of their portfolio over the first 6 months

Approx 30-40% of their portfolio over the first 12 months

The rate then slows, with repayments continuing over 5 years (or longer with recoveries).  

These figures are based on the average repayment rate for all loans outstanding on the 1st of September 2019. As you are lending to your own individual portfolio of loans, your actual repayment rate may differ.

To withdraw funds you need to first set up a nominated bank account.

2. Sell loans to withdraw a lump sum

If you would like to access your funds before your loan parts have been repaid, you can look  to sell them to other investors using our automatic tool. Selling loans is subject to supply and demand at the time and is not guaranteed. 

How does the selling tool work?

To use our selling tool, sign in to your account and go to the Access funds page. It will show the value of loan parts you have available to sell at that time (not all loan parts can be sold, more on this below). 

Enter the amount you want to sell. If you don’t want to sell the full amount available, the tool will select loan parts that best match up to the value of your request. 

Once confirmed, the tool will start selling your loan parts in small amounts. The funds are available for you to withdraw as soon as each loan part is sold.

How long does it take to sell loans?

The time to sell your loan parts may vary. It depends on the size of your request, the number of loan parts and supply and demand at the time. The tool will constantly cycle through each investor looking to sell, so that everyone regularly gets back small amounts. 

Any loan parts not sold after 120 days will be delisted and you’ll need to make a new request if you want to continue selling. We’ll notify you when this happens.

Is there a cost to selling loans?

When selling loan parts, a 1.25% transfer payment is deducted and passed to the buyer. For example, if you sell a £20 loan part, you’ll receive £19.75 (plus any interest owed since the last repayment). This happens at the point of sale and only to loans that are sold successfully.

100% of the transfer payment goes to the buyer. Funding Circle does not receive any fees from any loan part sale. The transfer payment does not apply if you want to withdraw repayments as they come in. 

How much of my portfolio can I sell?

To make it fair to all investors, you can only sell active loans with no credit issues, and not in the last month of their term. As a result, typically 85-95% of your portfolio is available to sell at any one time.

For loans that are late or have another credit issue, our Collections and Recoveries team are constantly monitoring and working with these businesses to recover the funds. You’ll continue to own these loan parts and receive repayments and interest as they come in. 

If their credit issue is resolved, they will become available to be sold again. 

What about defaulted loans?

If a loan is defaulted it will not be available to be sold again. The loan part is marked to zero in your portfolio, but our Collections and Recoveries team pursue each defaulted loan to recover as much as possible (read more about Collections and Recoveries here).

Recoveries can take years and may vary significantly depending on the loans in your portfolio. Successful recoveries will appear as available funds in your account as they come in ready for you to withdraw. 

Will I get the full amount requested?

The amount you receive from the sale process may be less than the amount you requested.  This could be for two reasons:

1. The balance of supply and demand on the secondary market. If there are not enough investors looking to buy loan parts, you may not sell all your funds within 120 days. You can make a new request if you want to continue selling. 

2. The number of your loan parts that are active with no credit issues. If this has changed since you made the request, the amount available to be sold may be lower. 

If you have any further questions or want to know more about accessing your funds, you can contact our Investor Support team at contactus@fundingcircle.com.

All information correct as of 2nd December 2019. 

Looking forward to 2020 and what it means for our introducers

Since its formation in 2012, our broker channel and introducer panel has continued to be integral in our success. This community has supported £1.3 billion of lending over 15,000 loans through Funding Circle, helping numerous businesses and unlocking thousands of jobs as a result. In turn, our registered introducers have grown their businesses too. 

We recently announced the promotion of Jeremy Crinall to the Head of Broker. Since joining in 2014, Jeremy has worked as a Business Development Manager (BDM) and as Regional Manager for Southern England. He has worked closely with all the team in their respective sub regions and is looking forward to using his 13 years of experience in the financial industry to assist the growth and development of the team, their panel of introducers, and building on those relationships even further. 

Jeremy has big plans for 2020 and sees three key areas to focus on for the next stage of success:

Service

Our team consider all our introducers as long term partners. We see them as relationships for life. We’re going to focus our efforts on improving the experience of all our introducers and their clients. We’re going to be focusing on optimising all touch points for our introducers and their clients and getting to know all our introducers on a greater level. This will enable our team to continue to go even further to provide them with the excellent service that they deserve.

Technology 

Technology will continue to be a pivotal focus for us and the team as we turn into the new year. We’ll continue to strive  to provide best-in-class solutions and to provide our introducers with even quicker decisions. We’re planning on making a lot of improvements across the business, which will ultimately benefit the broker channel and in turn, the service we’re able to provide.

People

As our plans for lending continue to grow in 2020, we want to look to build the team and further invest in our people. We strive to recruit the best individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to ensure we can provide our introducers with an excellent service. We’ll also be looking to develop our existing team members. Both Business Development Executives and Business Development Managers receive continuous training and specialised courses, ensuring we have the right people in the right places. . 

2020 is going to be another amazing year for the entire introducer community and we want to remain at the heart of that at Funding Circle. We’re looking forward to the future and working with our introducers as we move towards 2020. We recognise the importance you will play as we continue to build a better financial world.

Loan Purposes we can help with

At Funding Circle we want to help fund all of your clients’ business needs. Every business has unique requirements and will be at different stages in their journey, so our loans can be used for a huge variety of needs.  Some of the most popular include:

Working capital – Working capital is the lifeblood of any business. Healthy cash flow allows business owners to pursue new opportunities and win more business. It saves them time, gives them greater peace of mind, and the breathing space to make the best long term decisions for them.

Refurbishment of premises – From office space to shop fronts, refurbishing business premises can be transformative. We can provide finance for refurbishment and spread the repayments over 5 years.

Hiring staff – The entire process of taking on extra staff can be costly and time consuming. Taking finance can allow  your clients to either outsource this process or conduct it in house. We’ve helped thousands of businesses for this very purpose. 

Buying new equipment/machinery – Equipment and key pieces of machinery can breakdown unexpectedly or become out of date. Often, this can be a significant outlay and cause delays in production. We can provide finance for business owners to purchase equipment and machinery. All our loans are unsecured (backed by a personal guarantee) so this means your client would own the equipment from the outset.

Deposits for property purchases – Business owners will often need full deposits before being able to apply for commercial mortgages. We can provide the funds for this, which means your clients can go to their bank, secure the full mortgage and then settle in full with us. They can repay in full with no early settlement or exit fees, making the process ideal for this scenario.

Stock purchases – Many of your clients will go through busier and quieter periods. It is important that they are prepared and can take advantage of busier times. We can help with providing finance for large stock purchases, which can provide your clients with peace of mind and often reduce overall costs.

Tax funding – Tax bills can creep up on business owners and often leave large unforseen dents in their cash flow. We can provide finance to cover the bill and spread cost out over up to 60 months. 

Funding a new project or product – For your clients, it is imperative that they stay commercially competitive and come up with new ideas to engage their current client base and attract new customers.

Refinancing existing debt – We also offer loans to refinance existing business debt. As long as the debt is registered under the business rather than anyone personally we can look to consolidate that into one repayment. This can often be easier to maintain and can reduce your monthly outgoings, assisting with cash flow.

What can’t we cover?

There are a few loan purposes that we are unable to help with: 

Refinancing of personal debt – We’re unable to provide finance for the consolidation of personal debt. Even if the debt was taken out for the purpose of benefiting the business, if it  is under a personal name we’ll be unable to help.

Onwards lending – We can’t help if the funds are going to be passed outside the business that has applied to either an individual or another business. The finance we provide must stay within the business and directly benefit the business is applying.

Speculative ventures that aren’t related to the core activity of the business – We’ll need to see how the loan purpose will benefit the business. It cannot deviate too far from the core activity of the business. For example, if your client owns a bakery but wants to expand into I.T. sales, this wouldn’t be something we could provide finance for.

Are you a looking for fast, affordable funding solution for your clients now?

Get in touch with our Partnerships Team at ukpartners@fundingcircle.com or give them a call on 0203 308 9708.

Meet the Risk team

At Funding Circle we want to help you earn attractive, stable returns by lending to small businesses across the UK. In the second installment in our series, we’re meeting with the teams that work behind the scenes to make that happen. Last month we spoke with the Credit Assessment team about how they assess individual applications. This time round caught up with James and Andor from the Risk team to discuss how they build our models and set our credit criteria.

Thanks for joining us. First up, what are your job titles and what areas do your teams look after?

James – I’m a Senior Data Scientist on the Decision Science team. We do the statistical modelling that sits behind our risk models. We’ll look at all the data we have on all our borrowers, including the information they provide when they apply, their financial statements and bank data, plus external data we get from credit bureaus. 

Then we build statistical models so that we can identify and accurately price the businesses we can to lend to. This serves two key purposes:

  • Identifies the businesses we don’t want to lend to 
  • Identify the businesses we do want to lend to, and give them an accurate price that’s fair to both them and to investors

Andor – I’m a Lead Analyst on the Credit Strategy team. Once we have the model from James’ team, we need to figure out what actions we want to take for each borrower type. For example, of the businesses we can serve, how much can we let them borrow? If they’re really low risk, they might be able to borrow more than others.

We’ll also look at what documents they need to provide. For example, we’ll often ask for extra information for large loans. 

What goes into creating a risk model?

James – It starts out by identifying that we can improve our model. It might be that there’s a new data source available, for example this year we can start using CCDS data, which is bank statement data that comes from a credit bureau. 

The next step is collecting all the data. This is usually the trickiest part, organising all the data into a format that will allow us to build models how we need to.

We’ll then start analysing the data. We’ll adjust different variables to see what impact they have on how loans perform. We’re looking to identify relationships within the data that can help us make better predictions on which loans will default or be repaid. 

Once we’ve found those relationships, we’ll do extensive testing and validation of the model before passing it onto the Credit Strategy team. 

Andor – We then use the model to make criteria for who to approve and what their interest rate should be. We’ll also look at how much they can borrow, what they need to provide when they apply and so on. 

We then involve stakeholders from around the business to make sure everyone is aligned on the new changes. We’ll get feedback and provide training. We want to provide a framework for everyone involved so that we can get the best outcomes for all our customers.

We don’t just rely on models though. Our Credit Assessment team apply their experience to look at the individual circumstances of the businesses that are applying, then use the model, the criteria and all the information available to make a final decision. 

How do you balance trying to give the best price for business and investors?

James – It’s a difficult balance to strike. If you wanted to minimise risk completely then you wouldn’t lend to anyone. Then at the other extreme, lending to everyone would have a very high level of risk.

Approving the wrong people or lending too much to a business is not only bad for investors, it’s bad for the business that then struggles to repay. We really believe in helping small businesses and want to help as many as we can, but we need to do it in the right way. 

What expertise do you need in the team to do this?

James – The main role of our team is looking at lots of data and trying to get something useful out of it, so our team features a lot of PHDs in areas like physics, statistics, computer science and so on. You need to be passionate about finding relationships in data.

Andor – Our team has a really strong background in data analytics and credit risk. People have come from various large organisations and been involved in asset finance, credit cards, loans, and they bring all that knowledge to help us improve at Funding Circle. 

Do you have other responsibilities?

Andor – We work with people from around the business and there’s always ideas popping up for ways we can improve things. If we can support on them we’ll always help out, so we get involved in ad hoc projects.

James – As well as the credit models, we also advise on fraud capture and marketing models. Similar to Andor’s team, we work with teams from around the business too. We have a lot of information that can be used to improve different aspects of the business, so we can look to improve things in a variety of ways.

What’s the culture on the team like?

James – Our team is naturally very analytical. We don’t like to take chances, if we have an idea we need to back it up, I guess we’re very critical in that sense. We’ll argue our corner, but it’s all about getting the best results for our customers. 

Andor – I’ve worked in other large finance companies, and the big difference here is that you work much more closely with senior managers. Meeting with the CRO (Chief Risk Officer) elsewhere is rare and usually a big deal. At Funding Circle though, we can go and discuss ideas with Jerome (our Global CRO) or other senior leaders whenever we need to. Having access to their insights and experience in your daily work is really valuable and makes the whole team more productive.

How does it feel to work for a company that’s helping investors and small businesses?

Andor – What I think about is that we’re not only fulfilling a need for both sets of customers, but they go on to achieve even more afterwards. So whatever you do in the day to day, by helping small businesses grow or investors get a better return, that has an exponential impact on the wider economy. 

James – My dad runs a small business, so on a personal level it’s a mission I really believe in. Most people work in a small business, so supporting them while also helping investors make a return is a really good place to be.

By lending to businesses your capital is at risk. Not covered by Financial Services Compensation Scheme. All information correct at time of publishing. 

Meet the Credit Assessment team

At Funding Circle we want to help you earn attractive, stable returns by lending to small businesses across the UK. Of course, one of the key aspects of achieving this is having a robust methodology to carefully assess the businesses you’ll be lending too. To give you a bit more insight into how this process works, we caught up with Henry, Fay and Edward in the Credit Assessment team to ask about their role at Funding Circle.

First, can you tell us where your team sits in the overall funding process?

 

Henry – When a business applies for a loan online, there are several checks that happen automatically. For example we pull information from Companies House to check how old the business is, and we’ll run credit checks with credit bureaus like Experian. Some businesses will not meet our criteria straightaway, the rest will pass onto a full assessment.

To assess an application, our Loan Analyst team will collect all the information we need. This includes their full credit report, business bank account data, details on the business shareholders and financial accounts with profit and loss information. They’ll then use our bespoke internal risk models to give a risk grade to each business.

They then pass that information on to us. We look at their application, their credit score, other external data sources and all the other information available to us. We then use our internal credit criteria to decide whether we can make them an offer.

When it comes to making a decision, what do you factor in?

 

Edward – There are hundreds of data points that go into every assessment. Naturally key factors include the financial health of the business, their debt history, and how much they can afford to pay back each month. 

It’s also important that they are asking for money for the right reasons. We support a wide variety of loan purposes, but there are some that we don’t support. 

Fay – It’s not always about approve or decline, we take a holistic view of the business. We look at the potential risks. We want to give a quick decision to business owners, but not at the expense of carrying out a serious assessment. All cases get looked at with due diligence, if it’s more complex and takes more time, that’s what we’ll do. 

You mentioned that you use internal models, how are these created?

 

Fay – Our Risk team uses huge amounts of data and cutting-edge techniques to develop our assessment models. They are constantly updating them too, feeding in more data, adapting to wider economic conditions and so on.

We sit right in the middle of investors and the businesses they lend to. We want to help investors get the best returns possible, and, if they meet our criteria, help small businesses get finance at a price that’s fair to them. Our risk models help strike that balance. 

Henry – The way I see it, the Risk team are like the FA and we’re the referees – they set out the rules, we apply them. 

How much experience does the team have?

 

Fay – Across the assessment teams we have decades of experience from a wide variety of financial institutions. For example I was previously at another fintech company and before that was in asset finance for 5 years. 

Henry – I joined Funding Circle 5 years ago and have worked my way up in the Credit Assessment team.

Edward – I’ve previously worked at Deloitte in corporate tax and at a payments company. We all chip in and help each other too, especially with the more complex cases. There’s tonnes of experience in the team we can all draw on. 

 

 

Do you have any other responsibilities?

 

Fay – Obviously our main role is assessing loan applications, but we also run or support other projects to help us improve or adapt to external changes. I worked on a project 

regarding the legislation around Company House, how it was changing and how that would impact our process. 

Edward – I look at how the team operates, what are our strengths and where we can improve. 

Henry – I attend meetings with our brokers. We have long-standing relationships with many of them, and I join to answer any questions so they can refer the right businesses to us.  

What’s the culture like on the team?

 

Henry – We have a really open working environment, no one is tucked away in an office. If we have questions or need help, we have many people from different backgrounds, different experience levels and different areas of expertise, and there’s an attitude where everyone knows they can get advice when they need it.

Edward – There’s openness and respect too. A new joiner is happy to go and ask someone with 20 years experience because they want you to learn. 

Fay – We’ve got a really well mixed team. There’s people who have been through the Funding Circle journey and have worked their way up, and there’s people that have joined from different backgrounds. We’re not afraid to share our different perspectives. 

Edward – Breakfast is important too – we all go for toast together in the morning. 

Fay –  I get in trouble sometimes because I go earlier…

How does it feel to work for a company that’s helping businesses and investors? 

 

Edward: It’s really cool. I saw a shop the other day and I thought ‘Aha, I know that business!’ because they had been a customer of ours. You can see the difference you’re making. When working at some other businesses, customers are just treated like numbers on a system.

Fay: With Funding Circle we’re having a wider impact for small businesses and we’re filling that gap in the market for investments. It’s really rewarding. 

That’s amazing, thank you for taking the time to speak to us!

 

World Photography Day

World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography. We all love a good photo, whether we’re looking at it in a gallery or whether we’re scrolling past it on Instagram; the art of photography is one to be honoured. We’ve chosen to honour photography by putting together a list of our favourite photos from members of the Funding Circle team and photos of businesses we’ve worked with.

Funding Circle’s very own Inti Libermanares, describes himself as a photographer and says what he loves most about photography is the possibility to capture a moment in an artistic and creative way. He loves being able to convey feelings out of spontaneous situations and his work above does just that.

 

Taken while travelling before he joined Funding Circle, wordsmith Robert McCorquodale says the photo pictures a single flamingo on the edge of a volcanic lake, near to the salt flats in Bolivia. This almost looks like a painting if you don’t look too closely!

 

Our resident design master, Alex Santos, makes it very clear that this is not from Game of Thrones and that it’s a hidden beach with mighty difficult access called ‘Praia da Ursa’, or the Bear beach, in Portugal near Cape Roca. Kings Landing or not, we think this photo is stunning.

 

Family owned business Perky Blenders, is in the art of speciality coffee, with five locations across the east side of London, these guys are sharing the coffee love with as many people as possible. These photos were taken when we took a trip down to one of their shops and were lucky enough to watch them do their magic.

 

Located in Redcar, on the Yorkshire coast, Yorkshire Gelato Company pride themselves in taking desserts to the next level and creating beautiful works of art to finish any meal using the finest ingredients. As you can see form the photo above, they really love their desserts!

 

The Great Yorkshire Shop hand picks fine goods exclusively from local independent makers, artists and designers. Based in Leeds, their store is bursting with amazing creative gift items and you can feel that the owner really loves what he does. The photos above were taken during our previous visit and we loved it there.

Share your favourite pieces of photography with us on social media at @FundingCircleUK

Chief Risk Officer’s update – August 2019

Jerome Le Luel joined Funding Circle as Global Chief Risk Officer four years ago; bringing with him more than 20 years of experience in risk management. His previous roles include Global Head of Risk Analytics at Barclays Bank and Global Chief Risk Officer at Barclaycard, where he successfully navigated their global portfolio through the 2008/9 recession.

Jerome leads a team of more than 100 risk professionals across the four markets Funding Circle operates in: including data scientists, credit risk analysts and credit assessment experts.

In the second of our series, Jerome will provide his view on the current macroeconomic climate in each of our markets, what this means for the businesses you lend to, and the actions we have taken to protect your interests.

Fair economic conditions, with some increasing uncertainty

In my last update, I discussed how the economies of the four countries where investors lend through Funding Circle have recovered since the last recession. Across the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands, these conditions have largely remained in place.

However, over the past six months we have started to see some increasing signs of uncertainty. In the US, interest rate rises—and subsequent cuts—point to an indecisive approach from US central bankers. In the UK, there is increasing political and economic uncertainty around the possible consequences of Brexit. At the same time, rising trade and political tensions have heightened anxieties in export-oriented economies like Germany and the Netherlands, who sell more goods than they buy. Despite this, these economies are performing well, with unemployment and central bank interest rates still at historically low levels.

Maintaining attractive returns with a prudent approach

We update our projected returns every three months. For each group of loans, we combine the actual annualised return received to date, and our latest estimates for the remaining term of the loans that have not yet been repaid. Our most recent update shows returns remaining stable since our Q1 update.

Projected returns* after fees and bad debt, all markets

Source: Funding Circle

At Funding Circle, our team carefully monitor the macroeconomic environment and regularly update and adjust our credit models to reflect changing conditions, tightening when necessary. Over the past twelve months we have prudently adjusted our lending criteria to strengthen the resilience of the loanbook, which is well-positioned for any potential changes to the wider economy.

Projected returns after fees and bad debt, Q1-Q2 2019 loans

Source: Funding Circle

The above chart shows the loss coverage**—the amount bad debt would need to increase by before investors experience negative returns—of the loans being taken out in each of our markets this year. As an example, if businesses experienced conditions similar to those in 2008, our stress-testing shows investors could still expect to earn positive returns. 

This approach should allow us to continue delivering attractive returns to investors across all our markets.

UK

Brexit uncertainties notwithstanding, overall UK small business performance has remained stable. However, there is a small segment of the market which has been underperforming. I have previously discussed how a significant expansion in consumer borrowing since 2013 has led to an increase in the number of individuals being made insolvent. While you don’t lend to individuals through Funding Circle, this trend has had some knock-on effect on the insolvency rate of UK small businesses; the smallest of whom may be more reliant on lines of personal credit when managing their business cashflow.

UK small business and consumer insolvencies (Q1 2008 = 100)

Source: Gov.uk

The large majority of businesses you lend to are performing in line with expectations, however the worsening consumer credit environment has impacted a small population of loans in our higher risk bands. Our 2016 – 2018 cohorts were updated in April to reflect this. 

Projected returns after fees and bad debt, UK

Source: Funding Circle (as of 30th June, 2019)

Last year we made a number of adjustments to our credit policies and risk models to significantly reduce investors’ exposure to this segment of businesses. While we have already seen some positive results, earlier this year we further tightened our lending criteria. We have also increased some of the interest rates paid by businesses. This will help protect returns during a period of increasing uncertainty and loans originated in 2019 are now expected to deliver net returns of 5% – 7%.

US

In the US, the economy has been performing well, with both small business and consumer insolvencies remaining significantly below pre-recession levels.

US small business and consumer insolvencies (Q1 2008=100)

Source: Paynet, Federal Reserve

While currently very healthy, we are mindful that the current business cycle has lasted for a record ten years. The ongoing trade issues with China could affect this, while the Federal Reserve has also started to cut interest rates. We have also started to see some wider business volatility, which has fed-through to the projected returns for loans taken out in recent years. 

Projected returns after fees and bad debt, US

 Source: Funding Circle (as of 30th June, 2019)

In light of this, we have strengthened the US loanbook ahead of any changes to the business cycle, by tightening our lending criteria and increasing the interest rates paid by businesses.

DE/NL

Both the German and Dutch economies continue to perform strongly, with the insolvency rate across both individuals and businesses continuing to fall.

DE/NL small business and consumer insolvencies (Q1 2008 = 100)

Source: DESTATIS, CBS

Rising global trade tensions have led to a slight reduction in business confidence, although levels remain well above those seen during the last recession.

DE small business and consumer confidence index

Source: OECD

As a result, loan performance across both Germany and the Netherlands has remained strong, although we will continue to carefully monitor both markets for any sign of stress.

Projected returns after fees and bad debt, DE


Source: Funding Circle (as of 30th June 2019)

Projected returns after fees and bad debt, NL

Source: Funding Circle (as of 30th June 2019)

Making the right adjustments

As Chief Risk Officer, my role is to help you earn attractive returns throughout each stage of the economic cycle. Although we have seen some macro volatility in our markets, we believe we have made the right adjustments to maintain the resilience of the businesses you lend to.

The four markets we operate in are great places to lend to small businesses. Careful monitoring, intelligent use of data and prudent action should allow us to continue providing you with attractive returns. 

We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and remember by lending to businesses your capital is at risk. Not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Jerome Le Luel

*Projected returns as of 30th June 2019. The projected annualised return shows the return, after fees and bad debt, that loans are currently estimated to achieve. Loans are shown by the year they were taken out. The return is calculated by combining the actual annualised return received to date, and our latest return estimates, including expected recoveries, for the remaining term of loans that have not yet been fully repaid. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

**The loss coverage of any given group of loans is the gross yield—minus the 1% annual servicing fee—divided by the projected bad debt rate of those loans. It is a simple representation of how much bad debt would need to increase by before it is higher than the interest investors receive from those loans. As bad debt does not occur evenly over a loan’s term, the loss coverage assumes loans are held until they have been fully repaid and recoveries have been received. There are other factors that affect how loans might perform in an economic downturn, and the loss coverage should not be seen as a guarantee of performance. The loss coverage for each group of loans reflects that bad debt rates are projected as a range.

Disclaimer

This material contains certain tables and other statistical analyses that have been prepared by Funding Circle. Numerous assumptions have been used in preparing this statistical information, which may or may not be reflected in the material. The statistical information should not be construed as legal, tax, investment, financial, or accounting advice. The Information is provided as of the dates shown and is subject to updating and revision, and may change materially without notice. Subject to applicable regulations, no person is under any obligation to update or revise the information. The information may contain various forward-looking statements, which are statements that are not historical facts and that reflect Funding Circle’s beliefs and expectations with respect to future events and financial and operational performance. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions, estimates and other factors, which may be beyond the control of Funding Circle and which may cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied from such forward-looking statements. Nothing contained within the information is or should be relied upon as a warranty, promise, or representation, express or implied, as to the future performance of any loans. Any historical information contained in this statistical information is not indicative of future performance.

Meet the Partnerships Team

Funding Circle, the UK’s leading small business loans platform has recently expanded its partnerships team in order to provide even more support to our registered partners and their clients.

In 2018 the partnerships team helped facilitate £45 million worth of lending. As a result, they helped unlock 1,840 new jobs in UK communities and boost the UK economy by £110 million last year alone.

So who are the faces behind the magic? 

Dan Sinclair Taylor is the Head of Partnerships and looks after all strategic and referral partners in the UK. Dan studied at Oxford University before starting his career as a lawyer at a Magic Circle law firm where he practised banking and litigation for 5 years. He then moved into legal recruitment before joining Funding Circle in February 2015.

Jessie Northern is our Regional Partners Executive for the South East. She joined Funding Circle in the Investor Support Team in 2017, gaining invaluable experience and expert knowledge. She then moved into the Sales department as an Account Manager in the Partnerships team and then got promoted to Regional Partnerships Executive shortly after.

Craig Jackson is our Regional Partnerships Manager, looking after the South West region. He joined Funding Circle in March 2015 after heading up the Southern Region for Barclays in their start up division. Craig joined us to help launch the Partnerships team and has helped fund over £40m in 4 years.

Fran Warrington is our Regional Partnerships Manager, specialising in relationships in the South East. Fran is relatively new to Funding Circle but is making a big impact. She has already onboarded numerous partners since joining in December 2018. Fran has previously worked in commercial client facing roles including Google, Start-Up Direct and Gartner. 

Ed Butler is Regional Partnerships Manager, looking after the Midlands region. He works with a wide range of partners including accountants, business coaches and bank managers. Prior to joining Funding Circle in 2017, Ed worked as a Management Accountant in Industry for 9 years, before moving into financial recruitment where he spent 9 years placing Finance Directors and Controllers into businesses.

Silvia De Almeida is our Regional Partners Executive for the Midlands and South West regions. Prior to joining Funding Circle, Silvia worked in Business Development for a large UK hospitality brand, leading their international expansion. This allowed her to work in four different countries throughout her career, including Germany and China. 

James Kind is Regional Partnership Manager, covering the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Prior to joining Funding Circle in 2017, James worked at NatWest in SME banking for 6 years before leading their strategy for franchise businesses. He also obtained Chartered Banker Status, studying alongside his full-time role. James has helped facilitate over £18m of lending since joining.

Ellie Walker-Smith is one of our most recent recruits to the partnerships team in the North. Prior to Funding Circle she worked as an Account Manager at Wesleyan bank, specialising in asset finance and for a specialist finance brokerage based in Manchester. Ellie joined Funding Circle in 2019 as a Regional Partnerships Executive in the North.

Phil Thomas is our dedicated Inbound Partnerships Executive. Prior to starting at Funding Circle, Phil’s experience was heavily focused around sales and customer service with roles within retail and the sports industry. He started working at Funding Circle on the direct sales side in August 2018. Through this role he has helped new and existing borrowers with their enquiries. He took on his new role within the partnerships team earlier in the year, utilising all his skills and acting as the first point of contact for our new partners. 

Are you a looking for fast, affordable funding solution for your clients now?

Get in touch with our Partnerships Team at ukpartners@fundingcircle.com or give them a call on 0203 308 9708.

The impact of our introducer community

2018 was another incredible year at Funding Circle. For our customers, investors and all our registered introducers. As the banks continued to shy away from SME lending, Funding Circle provided the necessary support that small business owners needed to prosper. Through our platform, we helped our customers unlock 72,000 jobs and contribute over £4 billion to the UK economy.

Our introducer community and the relationships we have with them played an integral part in this. 2018 was a record breaking year for the broker team. Our introducers managed to lend £385 million through the Funding Circle platform, with over 8,700 loans outstanding at the end of the year. However, the figures go much further than this. As a result of the hard work of our broker community, they managed to help boost the UK economy by £1.2 billion and generate £288 million in taxes. 

What’s even more important is the effect this hard work has on real people. For every £1 million lent through the Funding Circle platform there are 37 new jobs unlocked. This means that in 2018 alone, our network of introducers helped to create and sustain 20,000 jobs in UK communities across the country. 

This is something that all our introducers should be proud of. You have made a huge contribution to the UK economy, given employment to thousands and helped the UK taxpayer, all as a result of introducing business through our platform.

At Funding Circle we recognise the importance SMEs play in the economy but we also recognise the importance of introducer relationships in reaching these fantastic achievements. We will continue to need your help as we get closer to our mission of building a better financial world. So from all of us at Funding Circle, we want to say thank you.

Are you a looking for fast, affordable funding solution for your clients now?

Get in touch with our dedicated Introducer team at introducer@fundingcircle.com or give them a call on 020 3667 2208.

Projected returns quarterly update – July 2019

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

Taking into account these factors and the mix of businesses in each lending option, following our most recent review we are making no change to the projected returns for either lending option.

What are the projected returns?

The projected returns are a forward looking estimate for loans added to your portfolio, and do not affect loans you already hold. As a result of our review, the projected returns for our Balanced and Conservative lending options are not changing. They will continue to be:

Balanced: 4.5% to 6.5%

Conservative: 4.3% to 4.7%

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 – as you are lending to your own individual portfolio of loans, not everyone will earn the same projected return. The return you achieve depends on the loans your funds are matched with, and 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. 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.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

These projected returns will affect your lending going forward, and do not affect any loans you already 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.

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk and is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The Funding Circle team

 

What the new P2P lending regulations mean for you

You may have seen that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently announced new regulations for the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry. Below we outline what this means for you as investors and what changes will come in for P2P lending platforms more broadly.

What are the new regulations?

The FCA began regulating the P2P lending industry in 2014 and announced at the time that they would open a ‘post-implementation’ review in 2016 to assess how the regulations were working alongside innovation in the sector. At Funding Circle we’ve always welcomed regulation and worked with the FCA to raise standards across the sector.

The new regulations include new rules around what information platforms must provide to investors. We have always believed in transparency, and in helping our investors make the right decisions, and believe these rules will help to raise standards across the industry and make sure all platforms provide important information to investors.

The new regulations also introduce more robust requirements around governance and risk management, and many of the new regulations have replicated our approach to risk management and made it policy for the wider sector.

How will it affect you?

As an existing investor, you don’t need to take any action and can continue to lend to businesses as normal through your account.

More broadly, investors can expect to see more information from P2P lending platforms, helping them to make better informed decisions about which investment products are right for them.

Extra steps for new investors

After the regulations come into force on 9th of December 2019, new investors at P2P lending platforms will need to take an ‘appropriateness’ or understanding test. The FCA believes this will help to ensure customers understand how the platform that they are signing up to works, the risks involved in investing on that platform, and the nature of the investment the platform offers.

For investors who are not classed as ‘sophisticated’ or ‘high net worth’, there will also be limits on how much they can lend in their first year investing through P2P platforms. After this point, when the FCA believes investors will have a good level of understanding of how P2P lending works, investors will be able to increase their lending beyond that limit.

What happens next?

As mentioned above, you don’t need to take any action. We will be introducing the new steps outlined above over the coming months. We are also reviewing the policy statement in detail to understand whether we need to make any further changes before the 9th of December deadline to adhere to the new regulations. Should any further changes be needed, we’ll let you know in advance what they’ll be and how they will affect you.

Natalie Dormer, Michael Palin and Twiggy join Funding Circle and Just A Card to support independent bookshops

Back in November 2018, Funding Circle partnered with grass-roots campaign ‘Just A Card’ to support Indie Week – the colourful alternative to Black Friday – encouraging people to shop from independent retailers. Well, we are excited to announce that we’ve joined forces with Just A Card again and, this time, some famous faces are joining our campaign to get Britain supporting independent bookshops.

Fifteen household names have lent their support to our new campaign – called ‘Just A Book’ – to support Britain’s independent bookshops. Dominic Cooper, Natalie Dormer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Richard E. Grant, Felicity Jones, Hanif Kureishi, Alex Lanipekun, Hayley Mills, James Norton, David Oakes, Michael Palin, Bruce Robinson, Greta Scacchi and Twiggy have all been photographed reading their favourite books, to show their support for independent bookshops.

James Meekings, Funding Circle co-founder and UK Managing Director says “Our philosophy is that when small businesses thrive, everyone benefits. Independent bookshops and retailers are important to the economy and our local communities. We want everyone to get behind this campaign.” Just A Card’s belief is that all sales – no matter how small – are vital in supporting independent businesses. “Just a book, just a card, just a gift… they all add up and are critical to small business success” says founder Sarah Hamilton. “We’re challenging shoppers to think about where they spend their money, and show how much they value the independent bookshops that make our high streets so special.”

The stars’ photographs, shot by acclaimed photographer Charlie Gray, will appear on posters on the London Underground from Monday June 17. Just A Card and Funding Circle are encouraging everyone who cares about small business to join in and support the campaign.

Join in on social media

Like and share our posts to help us spread the campaign message, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #justsupportsmall.

Follow @FundingCircleUK and @justacard on Instagram and Twitter to take part in our Treasure Hunt. Can you spot all fifteen posters around the London Underground? Share photos of the posters you spot and tag us, and you could win £100 of book tokens to spend at your favourite independent bookshop. (See full terms and conditions). Are you a bookshop or book publisher? Tell us about your business on social media and we’ll give you a shout out!

Ready to FlashMob?

If you’re in London, come along to London Bridge station on Wednesday June 19 and meet other Just A Book supporters. Follow us on social media for more details.

Support your local independent bookshop

Why not visit your local bookshop and buy a book. You’ll be supporting a small business AND you’ll improve your commute.

Support the Just A Card campaign

If you’re an independent retailer, get your window sticker and pins at www.justacard.org. We hear from retail businesses that they are changing the way people shop.

 

 

 

The big business of small business

When you think of a small business, you might think of a local coffee shop or a garage, your butchers or an electrician. They’ve built a reputation for being independent, hard working and reliable. Lying behind these businesses, however, is an untold story. They may not employ thousands of people or be household names, but collectively they have a crucial and profound impact on driving prosperity around the world.

Small businesses account for 50% of global GDP. Over half the people with jobs in the developed world work in a small business. They support local communities, provide essential services and develop innovative new products. The contribute billions in tax revenue, helping to run schools, hospitals and more. In short, they are the unsung heroes of our economy.

To help tell their story, we’ve partnered with Oxford Economics to produce our second in-depth report looking at the economic impact of lending through Funding Circle. We’ve seen how providing small businesses with access to finance helps them to keep progressing, and has an immense impact on the global economy. And while it’s the businesses that are making it happen, none of this would be possible without the support of investors lending through Funding Circle.

To find out more, check out our summary video and infographic, or you can download the full report.

Lending impact

Update to our projected returns

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

Taking into account these factors and the mix of businesses in each lending option, following our most recent review we have updated the projected returns for each lending option.

What are the new projected returns?

The projected returns are a forward looking estimate for loans added to your portfolio, and do not affect loans you already hold. As a result of our review, the projected returns for our Balanced and Conservative lending options are now:

Balanced: 4.5% to 6.5%

Conservative: 4.3% to 4.7%

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 – as you are lending to your own individual portfolio of loans, not everyone will earn the same projected return. The return you achieve depends on the loans your funds are matched with, and 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. 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.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

These projected returns will affect your lending going forward, and do not affect any loans you already 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.

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk and is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

The Funding Circle team

Celebrate St George’s Day with these English businesses

Small businesses play a vital role in supporting communities and driving the country forward. To celebrate St George’s Day, we met with three businesses across England that have all been able to progress thanks to  investors lending through Funding Circle.

Since 2010, over 43,000 English businesses have borrowed over £4.5 billion to grow and develop. Watch our video to learn how they help their local area, create jobs and contribute to the economy.

 

What is an ISA? We explain in our video and infographic

What is an ISA? How much is your allowance? What are the different types? When it comes to financial terminology, learning what everything means can be as time-consuming as it is yawn-inducing. However, we want to help everyone understand what important terms mean and how things work at Funding Circle.

What is an ISA?

If you’re more of a visual person, we’ve put together a handy video and infographic to help explain what an ISA is, why they’re important and what makes ours different. Check them out below!

To start earning tax-free returns, you can open a Funding Circle ISA in minutes at fundingcircle.com/investors.

Tax rules depend on your circumstances and may change. Capital at risk. Not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

What is an ISA?

Watch – 3 flourishing businesses flying the flag for Wales

Investors lending through Funding Circle have an incredible impact on businesses throughout the UK. To celebrate St David’s Day, we travelled down the M4 to meet with three welsh business owners that have been able to go further thanks to your help. 

Over 2,200 businesses in Wales have borrowed over £146 million through Funding Circle so far. One such business is Uniform2Go, a school uniform suppliers in Bridgend. The business’s founder Emma Reese took a loan so they could increase their offering “The funding helped us to buy in a lot more stock, so we could supply at least 15 more schools.”  

Welsh businesses

Kristian Bailey has also seen his business go from strength to strength since taking funding. He heads up Computers For Flooring, a software company that provides a complete management solution for flooring companies. “Since I’ve been involved with Funding Circle, we’ve doubled our net profits year on year for the last four years.”

Darren Evans, who runs a karting business in Newport called Gwent Karting, also says it’s fantastic to be part of the business community in Wales and contributing something back. “There’s a self-belief among Welsh businesses now that wasn’t there 20 years ago, and that does give me an tremendous sense of pride.”

Watch our video to find out more about their stories and how your lending has helped them go further.

How do women invest their money? – 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.  

More women than ever are earning their own money and managing it for themselves. However, far fewer women than men actually invest it for their futures.

This is more of a problem than it seems on the surface. Arguably women need more money than men in their golden years because women live longer and generally earn less while they are working.

A report by Fidelity last year showed that women could close the pension gender gap if they just invested an extra £35 a month (about 1 per cent of their average salary) and invested it in proper long-term investments.

But frustratingly, women favour what they see as the ‘safe’ option of cash investments (i.e. savings) for their investments. More than two thirds of women who took part in the Fidelity study admitted that they put their savings in a cash ISA rather than an equities one.

Long-term, cash investments (bank and building society accounts) don’t keep up with inflation. So this so-called ‘safe’ option actually loses you money in real terms!

So what should women really do with the money they want to invest?

Take more risks

Women need to reverse the trend of investing in cash for the long-term and put money into what seem to be riskier investment products. Over the long-term, stocks and shares (equities) products do much better than savings accounts. For example, according to the Prudential, the average annual return on UK investments between 1989 and 2014, adjusted for inflation, is 5.2% for equities, 4.6% for bonds and -0.8% for cash. If you keep your money in a decent stock market product, like an index-tracking fund for example, for at least five years, the ups and downs of the stock market get smoothed out and the average return is positive.

Alternatively, you can put your money in a Funding Circle ISA, offering projected tax-free returns of 5.5 – 6.5% per year*. The Funding Circle ISA is simple to set up and typically offers more stability than playing the stock market.

Trust your own ability more

Over and again studies show that, when women and men have equal knowledge of investing, women tend to do better because they trade less and take more of a long-term view. For example, analysis of 2,800 Barclays Smart Investor customers by Warwick University last year found that not only did the female investors outperform the FTSE 100 over a three year period but they also outshone their male counterparts.

Take charge of your own finances

There is still a lingering belief, even among young women, that a nice man will come along and sort out their financial issues. In fact it’s more likely that said man will be looking to the woman to sort out his financial issues!

Spouses need to be more open with each other about their financial situations. For a start, they need to know that their partner has ticked the box on their pension form that enables them to benefit from their pension if the partner dies first. Many older women have been left in poverty when their husband died, effectively taking their pension with them.

Think of yourselves more

Yes, I said it – women need to be more selfish. Or rather, they need to consider their independence more, particularly if they have children. On the whole, and quite rightly, mothers tend to spend their money on the family as they are growing up (and even once they have grown up). This makes perfect sense, except that if they don’t put money away for themselves it’s likely that they will be a financial burden on those children when they come to retire. Taking their own financial future seriously will avoid poverty for them and problems for their children.

Embrace technology

Many young women are doing this already, but men are still making the most of new banking technology more than women. New banking apps like Monzo, Starling and Revolut enable you to round-up spending and put small amounts into a virtual ‘coin jar’ to create savings for yourself. So if you buy a coffee for £2.50 they will add an extra 50p to your savings pot (or ‘Goals’ as it is called in the Starling app). The Moneybox app does this too but puts the extra cash into long-term investments, mainly index-tracking funds, so that your money grows properly and will help you have a richer retirement.

To make your money work harder, you can earn a projected 5.5-6.5% per year* tax-free with the Funding Circle ISA.

By lending to businesses your capital is at risk and your return may be higher or lower. The tax-free entitlement of an ISA depends on your individual circumstances and may change. Not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

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.

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn by lending through the Balanced lending option as of 31 Jan 2019. You can see how the return is calculated here. Your actual return may be higher or lower and your capital is at risk.

Case study: From pro-athlete to business owner – Christine is ‘made to do more’

Growing up an hour from the South Coast, Christine Johnston excelled at sports and wanted to be a professional athlete. Her dad got her into windsurfing, and she quickly got hooked – pestering him to drive her to competitions across the South Coast. During an impressive pro career, Christine won eight national titles, represented Great Britain at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and most impressively, won the World Windsurfing Championships in 2003.  

Spotting a business opportunity

When she finished her professional windsurfing career in 2008, she worked in an office for five years but it didn’t satisfy her adventurous and ambitious nature. She saw kitesurfing develop as a sport and decided she wanted to get involved, so she took lessons and then an instructors course with British Kitesports, the national governing body for kitesurfing and taught for several seasons in Brighton, Australia and South Africa – gaining experience in a variety of different conditions. With many hours of teaching under her belt, Christine spotted a business opportunity; “I’m quite an ambitious person so the next logical step for me was to be able to put my stamp on teaching by opening my own school”.

In February 2014, she opened The KiTE, SURF & SUP Co in Worthing, West Sussex.

Growth & expansion

The school went from strength to strength under Christine’s leadership, and after two years of steady growth she was ready to expand. “One of the biggest costs in kitesurfing is the equipment;  it’s important to have up-to-date equipment so you have the best equipment for a range of wind conditions, for your pupil’s body weight and their experience levels.”

A business loan enabled Christine to fund more equipment and instructors, and she now offers kitesurfing lessons, ‘Stand Up Paddle’ lessons and a range of kites, kitesurfing, and stand up paddle equipment in her online store.

“ If I hadn’t had a loan from Funding Circle I would have struggled with stock levels and equipment for the school.”  Christine Johnston, founder The KiTE SURF & SUP Co.

Developing a new passion

Christine still loves to kitesurf, but she has developed a new passion – teaching others. As the reviews from satisfied pupils testify, Christine is an excellent teacher while keeping an all-important focus on safety – but she admits that when your business is growing, it is all too easy to lose sight of the thing you loved in the first place. For Christine, her new passion is teaching and a big learning for her in expanding the business has been the need to continue to find time to do what she loves and not get tied up with the day-to-day of running the school. “When you’re running a business it can be difficult to maintain a work/life balance but the quality of your work suffers if you’re on call 24/7 and always responding,” she says.

Christine tries to take one day a week where she switches off from the business by doing yoga or playing touch rugby, but she admits it isn’t easy when you are the only person responsible for your business. Her trick is to prioritize the tasks that need a fast response – “the gold dust” as she calls them – such as booking requests, which really impact her business. She responds to these immediately, fitting other tasks in around responding to customers.

The power of visualization

With a degree and a Masters in Sports Psychology, Christine sees parallels between the mental resilience that an athlete needs to win, and the drive necessary for a small business owner to succeed. Her top tip for business owners struggling with confidence is a psychology technique used by athletes called ‘acting as if’. “You act as if you’re already where you want to be” she says. “When I was windsurfing, I used to imagine I was already a top 10 competitor and this trained my muscles and my brain to get me there.” In business, she imagines the bigger business she aspires to run and behaves as if she’s already there. This technique has helped her take on roles that aren’t her natural strong suit; “when you’re running a business alone, you suddenly have to become the Recruitment Director, the Marketing Manager – things you’ve never had experience in before”. For anyone struggling with Imposter Syndrome, this technique can be a game changer.

Time spent planning can have a big impact on your bottom line

One of the biggest leaps forward for Christine’s business has been going through a ‘Profit Improvement Plan’ which is forecast to improve net profitability an impressive 600% by year end. So how did she do it? Together with her dad who is a management consultant, she looked at the profitability of every part of her business and was able to make a series of small changes which have all added up. From focusing on the brands which give her the best profit margins, to negotiating better prices with suppliers, the impact of these small changes has really impacted her profits.

For example, this exercise showed Christine that the most profitable part of her business is giving lessons, so she has developed alternative teaching plans for when wind conditions aren’t favourable on her normal beach and she’s much more focused with her own time – so now she’s able to teach 20% more lessons, directly improving her bottom line. “It’s all simple stuff”, she says, “but looking at it in black and white was essential to help me see how I could improve my profits”.

Taking the time to think strategically about your business this way is essential to achieve growth, she says.

“It’s easy to firefight all day – you get straight into answering emails, taking bookings – but it’s critical to give yourself permission to plan for your business. Time spent thinking about strategy is not time wasted.”

What’s next for The KiTE SURF & SUP Co?

Christine has just invested in new equipment which she hopes will open up a new revenue stream for her, and she’s focused on finding premises to enable her to expand the business and offer more lessons. “I was always brought up to believe I could achieve anything” she says, and with such a winning mindset, we don’t doubt for a minute that she’ll succeed.

Challenges:

  • Maintaining a work/life balance – Christine tries to take one day a week where she takes a break from the business and does yoga or plays rugby to switch off
  • In a seasonal business, it can be particularly hard to find good people who care about your business when they’re only working for you for part of the year
  • Finding a path to growth – Christine has identified finding premises as the next big step forward for her company, but finding the right location is not easy

Highlights:

  • In July 2016 The KiTE SURF & SUP Co was awarded British Kitesports Recognised School status, the highest level a kite school can reach.
  • Increasing net profits by 600% from last year, after working on a Profit Improvement Plan which has helped her increase turnover too

Find out more about how an affordable business loan can help your business fly at fundingcircle.com/business

 

 

 

Get John Lewis vouchers when you add funds and lend it to businesses

For a limited time only, you’ll receive gift vouchers when you add £15,000 or more to your Funding Circle account! Transfer funds into your account today and you could treat yourself to an Apple Watch, Sonos Smart Speaker, Amazon Echo or whatever you need with John Lewis gift vouchers.

What value John Lewis vouchers can I claim?

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

  • Add £50,000 to get £400
  • Add £30,000 to get £250
  • Add £20,000 to get £150
  • Add £15,000 to get £100

What do I need to do?

Firstly, you need to register your account for the promotion. Simply login to your account, go to the Transfer in page and enter your email address on the pop up window.

Then you need to add funds to your account between 21st of February and 31st of March 2019 to get the voucher amount you want. On March 31st, we’ll look at the amount added to your account during this period minus any withdrawals. This will determine the vouchers you’ll qualify for. If you have both ISA and Classic accounts, we’ll look at the amount added between them.

You also need to have lending switched on and keep those funds lent out until 21st of June 2019. If you withdraw funds (from either your Classic or ISA account) you may receive a lower voucher amount or no longer qualify. We’ll then send your vouchers out to your registered email address. For full terms and conditions click here.

Register and transfer funds now

Can I use my ISA and Classic accounts?

You can only claim one gift per person. If you have only an ISA account and have used up your ISA allowance, you can either 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.

Can I transfer an ISA from an existing provider?

You can also transfer existing ISAs from other providers. In order for your ISA transfer to qualify, you need to fill out the ISA transfer form in your Funding Circle account between 21st of February and 31st of March 2019. The ISA transfer will need to be complete, with funds distributed to your Funding Circle account and lending switched on, by midnight on 21st of June 2019.

Register and transfer funds now

For more information call us on 020 7401 9111 or contactus@fundingcircle.com. Terms and conditions apply.

By lending to businesses your capital is at risk. Not covered by Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Your tax-free entitlement depends on your circumstances and may change.

Enjoy lending!

The Funding Circle team

John Lewis is not a participant in or sponsors of this promotion. All related John Lewis logos are trademarks of John Lewis Partnership plc 2013.