Calls for 'better understanding' of P2P from advisers

Calls for 'better understanding' of P2P from advisers

Advisers need to take the time to understand peer-to-peer lending better, it has been claimed.

Max Lehrain, chief operating officer at P2P lender Relendex, said there were good returns on offer for those who were willing to invest in P2P.

His company released figures suggesting investors could earn an extra £800 if they moved their cash savings into P2P.

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Mr Lehrain said claimed it was a common misconception P2P posed a greater risk, with the value of invested property needing to drop exponentially for investors to make a loss, and he pointed to the fact Relendex turned away 75 per cent of investments they see.

He said: "Our job as we see it is to find good deals that can present a worthwhile opportunity but what we are not doing is getting into business of giving advice - I would like to see the intermediary community spending time to better understand crowdfunding and P2P."

In recent research, Relendex compared the interest earned on cash Isas with alternative products offered by P2P lenders - claiming that on £5,000 of savings, invested over three years, investors could earn a return of more than £800.

In Relendex’s calculations, they suggested £871 in interest could be earned on the £5,000 sum with their secured portfolio Isa while a core portfolio with P2P lending company Zopa could return £624.

The lender compared these returns to the two-figure and low three-figure returns offered by high street banks such as HSBC, Barclays and Santander.

Max Lehrain, chief operating officer at Relendex, said: "By far the most popular saving product in the UK is the cash Isa, with around £500bn sitting in these tax-free accounts - but they offer miserly returns.

"By looking around and considering alternative investment products investors can get better returns."

The Financial Conduct Authority regulates the peer-to-peer lending market, and in July published proposals aimed at cracking down on shortfalls in the industry.

Giles Cross, chief executive of P2P lender Folk2Folk, agreed this asset could offer greater returns, but these came with their own risks.

He said: "The borrowing and investment landscape continues to evolve - consumers are looking beyond traditional methods, such as cash Isas and savings accounts, to try to make their money work harder and peer-to-peer lending has facilitated this."

Mr Cross said that by allowing P2P lending platforms to be part of the Isa wrapper, those wanting a positive return could benefit from inflation-beating returns.

He added: "However, as with any investments there are risks. As such, consumers need to make sure they fully understand the risks involved, and ensure peer-to-peer is suitable in regards to their individual risk appetite and personal financial circumstances."

Aj Somal, financial planner at Aurora Financial Planning, said P2P lending could offer clients enhanced returns, but they must bear increased levels of risk in order to achieve this.