Funding Societies*, an SME digital financing platform in Southeast Asia with presence in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, Funding Societies has facilitated more than 1 million business loans to SMEs through a base of more than 150,000 individual and institutional investors in the last 4 years since inception in 2015. Funding Societies expanded its loan volume by 3 times in the last 12 month stating a default rate of 1.5%. Funding Society claims this to be the highest amount given out by any SME digital financing platform in Southeast Asia.
Funding Societies Founders Kelvin Teo and Reynold Wijaya
The growth in SME loans with Funding Societies is reflective of the increasing openness amongst businesses towards new generation funding options. As per the EY, UOB and Dun and Bradstreet report ‘Asean SMEs – Are you transforming for the future’, 67.8% of the SMEs are now open to non-traditional lenders including lending platforms. Alternative financing providers like Funding Societies are addressing this segment by providing technology backed funding solutions for the growth of local businesses.
Kelvin Teo, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Funding Societies, commented, ‘What SMEs need is not subprime banking, but a different banking. We’re honored to have partnered with many SMEs in their growth journey. It hasn’t been easy, as SME financing is a patient business. We hope to work even closer with SMEs in 2020, in line with our belief of ‘stronger SMEs, stronger societies’ since 2015.’
Funding Societies specialises in all forms of short-term unsecured financing up to 2 million SGD, with funds disbursed as early as the next day. Funding Societies’ SME clients ranges from micro businesses and SMEs to small listed companies looking for working capital financing. For platform investors, the minimum amount is low starting from 20 SGD per investment. Other than individuals Funding Societies also has regulated financial institutions and funds who invest into loans on the platform.
Funding Societies is backed by Sequoia India and Softbank Ventures Asia Corp.
I added a new information page to P2P-Banking compiling data on which p2p lending marketplaces made a profit or a loss in the last business years. You can read more on why this data is useful to investors on the platforms here.
Snapshot of the table at the start of the data collection:
Table: Profits/losses of p2p lending companies (in million currency units) Source: own research.
The table will be updated and added to on this infomation page in future. P.S.: Thx to the crowd for emailing me additional data. Only a few hours after first publication I was already able to add more companies and data so the table on the information page is already more comprehensive than the outdate first version of the publication shown above.
The table lists the loan originations of p2p lending marketplaces for last month. Mintos* leads ahead of Zopa and Ratesetter*. The total volume for the reported marketplaces in the table adds up to 703 million Euro. I track the development of p2p lending volumes for many markets. Since I already have most of the data on file, I can publish statistics on the monthly loan originations for selected p2p lending platforms. This month I added Kameo* and TFGcrowd*. Fundingsecure was removed due to insolvency.
Milestones in cumulative volume lent crossed this month:
UK property p2p lending marketplace Funding Secure was placed in administration today, Oct. 23rd, 2019. Jonathan Avery-Gee, Edward Avery-Gee and Daniel Richardson of CG & Co were appointed Administrators of the Company. No deposits and withdrawal requests from investors are currently processed anymore. More detailed information is provided in this FAQ.
Funding Secure provided roughly 315M GBP funding, mostly for property development loans, but also for pawn loans. The outstanding loan book stands at approximately 80M GBP. The accumulated loan book represents approximately 486 loans from about 3,500 investors.
One important aspect for p2p lending investors is tax. In this blog whenever I talked about yields achieved, it is usually pre-tax yield. That is because taxation varies significantly from country to country. In most cases the place of residency of the investor determines the tax regime applicable. There are a few exceptions, e.g. on very few marketplaces withholding taxes are applied.
But I wanted to give a viusal overview on how different tax rates are for p2p lending investors, depending on where they live in Europe. Therefore I created for following map.
For overview purposes only. Source: own research – may contain errors or be outdated. Please note that this is a simplification and will not cover many cases. Do not make any decisions based on this, but rather consult a qualified tax advisor
In the countries colored in black the income tax rate is applied on interest earned on p2p lending investments. That means the individual rate of taxation depends on the other and overall income of the investor. For example in the UK the tax bands are 20%, 40% and 45% dependent on overall income. In Ireland tax bands are 20% and 40%.
But in most other countries there is a fixed rate applicable for interest earned on p2p lending. Tax free allowance up to a certain amount may apply. For example in Germany taxation (Kapitalertragssteuer) is 26.375% (a little higher if church tax applies).
Taxation is complex. Futher important points are whether defaults and fees can be offseted against interests earned. Also capital gains (e.g. from selling loans with a premium on a secondary market) may be taxed different than income.
Advantageous tax rules
There are many special tax rules and tax breaks. Consult a qualified tax advisor for information on your situation. Here are just some interesting examples.
UK: UK residents can invest through so called ISA products. There is a special IFISA (Innovate Finance ISA) which can be used to invest up to 20,000 GBP tax-free on peer to peer marketplaces. More information and an IFISA comparison is here. The interesting point is that the allowance is available per year. That means an investor using it in 10 consecutive years can invest 200,000 GBP tax-free into p2p lending.
Estonia: Many Estonians lend through a limited company (OÜ) they have set up. The advantage there is , that as long as the earnings stay in the company they are not taxed. Only at the time the profits are paid out from the company to the investor they are taxed at 20%. This allows investors to postpone the taxation for a long time.
Netherlands: The Netherlands are the only country in Europe where the tax is not based on actual p2p lending earnings, but rather fictual earnings. Wait. What? The tax system is actually a wealth tax, and the tax declaration is not based on income but wealth. The tax authority then assumes you earned a fictual income of 4% on your wealth. Tax rates used to be 30% on that (so 1.2% on your wealth; since 2017 it is now 0.581 to 1.68% dependant on amount of wealth). Now if you actually earned 10% ROI with your p2p lending your effective tax rate calculated on that would be 12% (30%*4%/10%). That’s what I used for simplification purposes in the map.
Portugal: In Portugal the rate is 28%. But if a foreign resident moves to Portugal and earns interest only from p2p lending market places abroad, he can profit from a 0% tax rate on these (providing the originating country does not tax the interest) for 10 years. Mark explains his personal experiences with this on obviousinvestor.com. There are non-resident/non-domiciled rules in other Euopean countries but they usually sound more complicated/restrictive.
Hint to platforms: It may be efficient to target countries in your marketing that have a high GDP but also a low or medium tax rate on p2p earnings.
European p2p lending services are growing. And yields of 10+% are achievable on some of the platforms. This attracts international investors. But if you are a US resident, you may have made the experience that you cannot register on some marketplaces. This is mainly due to KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money-laundering) requirements, which get more complicated if the client is outside Europe.
I have asked many of the European p2p lending marketplaces, whether they accecpt US residents and US companies as investors.
Here is an overview of 5 services (sorted aplphabetically) that do allow US investors. I have not provided a review for each of the service as the article would have gotten too long, but you can easily find news and reviews by entering the company name into the search box on the upper right of this blog.
On some platforms you need a bank account in the European Union. In most cases Transferwise* borderless or Revolut* will help (while technically e-money accounts, they function pretty similar to bank accounts) and do not charge any monthly fees. They are both very useful for currency conversion (Revolut is better). On Assetz Capital the currency is GBP. On the other marketplaces it is EUR. Mintos has additional currencies. Transferwise borderless is available in all US states except Hawaii and Nevada. Revolut* is currently rolling out the service in the US.
Mentioned new customer cashbacks were correct at the time of the publication of this article. If you are reading the article at a later time, it may have changed. A current list of cashback offers is here.
Assetz Capital* is a marketplace for UK SME and property development loans. The liquid ‘access’ products offer 4.1% to 5.75% interest. Other product types offer higher rates. US investors are welcome. UK bank is account required – see notes above. US companies are eligible, but verification might take longer than for individuals. Expect 1-10 days for company registration.
Assetz Capital cashback for new investors: 50-250 GBP (dependent on investment amount; minimum 1000 GBP). To get it just register using this link: Assetz Capital registration and start lending
Bondora* is an Estonian p2p lending marketplace for consumer loans. The highly liquid Go&Grow product offer yields 6.75%. With other products higher yields of 10+% are achievable. US investors need to be accredited investors to use Bondora. A bank account in the European Union is not necessary. US companies are eligible to invest. Bondora recommends that interested US investors and companies contact them at email@example.com or by phone at +44 1568 6300 06 (during business hours, Mo-Fr: 9–17 EET) to check eligibility and clear any questions concerning registration.
Bondora cashback for new investors: 5 EUR, to get it just register using this link: Bondora registration and start lending
Estateguru* is an Estonian marketplace for property loans. Typical interest rates are 10-12%. US residents are eligible, if they have a bank account in the EEA (European Economic Area) – see notes above. US companies can invest, if they have a bank account in the EEA.
Estateguru cashback for new investors: 0.5% (1% in October) cashback on all investments in the first 3 months. To get it just register using this link: Estateguru registration and start lending
Flender* is an Irish marketplace for SME loans. Typical interest rates are around 10%. US investors and US companies are eligible.
Flender cashback for new investors: 5% on all investments in the first 30 days after signup. Register using this link Flender registration and start lending
Mintos* is a Latvian p2p lending market place. A wide range of loan types is offered. The fairly liquid ‘Invest&Access’ product currently promotes around 8% rate. Yields of 10+% are possible with manual and autoinvest.
US investors and US companies are welcome. A bank account in the EEA (European Economic Area is required) – see notes above.
Mintos cashback for new investors: 1% cashback on all investments in the first 90 days. To get it just register using this link: Mintos registration and start lending
The article was updated on Nov. 21st as Estateguru has meanwhile changed its position saying that Revolut or Transferwise are sufficient now to satisfy the requirements on a bank account in the European Union.
P2P lending bears high risks, including total loss of investment. This article is not investment advice.