Income Report 03/2019.

These income reports are showing real numbers from my personal investment portfolio. I am doing this to show what investors can expect, completely transparently and honestly. 


Last month the returns continued to grow but not in the manner that I was expecting. I discovered a flaw in my auto-invest portfolio and will share it in the next post.

Return Rates and Gross Income

Return Rates (if projected over 12 months) for all the current platforms that I have active investments are:

  • Mintos – 11.64% – € 55.52
  • Swaper – 11.41% – € 3.84
  • Twino – 10.10% – € 8.16
  • FastInvest – 6.36% – € 2.14
  • Bondora – 47.52% – € 8 (misleading because of payout timing)
  • Grupeer – 0% – € 0 (still trying it out)
  • Envestio – 10.20% – € 1.70 (still trying it out)

Overall Return Rate for January 2019. was 12.05% and Income € 79.36.

Retrospective

My Mintos investment is continuing to grow and a good stream of short term 13% loans have contributed to this increase. On the other had I discovered an issue with my strategy. This issue held back my return rates from rising above 12%. Watch out for a future post about it. Twino is continuing on that same pace. I am steadily getting out of this platform and will maintain only a minor presence to monitor how it is performing. Envestio is proving to be a very good opportunity so I will continue increasing my portfolio there.


Don’t trust the returns

Just a quick post this time.

I notice that more often than not, the P2P lending platforms show return rates that are in most cases higher than what I was seeing. It is difficult to figure out what they are and how they are calculated. Especially in case you are investing in more than one platform.

In most cases they are showing the returns over the lifetime of your investment. That is fine for some but it does not show if the portfolio is performing better of worst compared to a previous period.

Here is a Google Sheet (or Excel) that shows Annualised Return rates for the past 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Just fill in report with the Portfolio value, and added funds at the beginning or end of each month as shown in the picture below.

In case you want to update your report throughout the month use this sheet. Same as with the first sheet, fill in the Portfolio value and added funds but additionally add the date on which you are filling in the values. Check the picture below. Compare to the firs sheet this one shows the return rates for the past 1, 3, 10 and 25 updates.

Income Report 02/2019.

These income reports are showing real numbers from my personal investment portfolio. I am doing this to show what investors can expect, completely transparently and honestly. 


Last month was a great improvement compared to the one before. it is mostly due to redefining my Mintos auto-invest strategy. Check out my approach on this recent post: the-ultimate-auto-invest-strategy-on-mintos.

Return Rates and Gross Income

Return Rates (if projected over 12 months) for all the current platforms that I have active investments are:

Overall Return Rate for January 2019. was 10.93% and Income € 66.78.

Retrospective

My Mintos investment is back on track and performing. Next month should result in even better returns because changes take at least 2-3 months to really “kick in”. Twino is not really performing well and I am struggling to have most of my funds invested so I will be moving my investments away from Twino and move them elsewhere. Envestio seems to have good potential so I will be trialing it in the next few months.


How to protect your investment into peer-to-peer loans?

Check out how to position your your investments in peer-to-peer loans and be prepared in case of a recession or financial crisis

Disclaimer

A quick disclaimer from the start. What is written in this post is not a guarantee and it will not protect 100% of your investments. The safest way to protect your investment is withdrawing it and getting your investment back in cash and in your bank account. Even that is not 100% case but it is as close as you can get.

… OK Let’s start 🙂

Recessions are a natural part of the market. The market grows and grows until the point that it becomes overvalued at which point it starts declining. This is a scary thing for investors as it is impossible to predict. At the time of writing this, the global economy is experiencing the longest bull market in history at almost 10 years long.

This article will show how to position your portfolio so that you can minimise the loss to your portfolio in case the market turns and triggers a global recession / financial crisis similar to the one in 2008.

Liquidity is key

The goal here is to have the ability to cash out your portfolio as fast as possible. When it comes to peer to peer there are 2 main ways of cashing out your portfolio.

  1. waiting for the loan to get repaid
  2. selling the loan on the secondary market

Waiting for the loan to get repaid can take a long time if the loan duration is long. Investing in only very short term loans therefore is the way to cash out fast. It gives you as an investor the ability to simply stop reinvesting and wait for your money pile back up to your account. The key here is reacting quickly. If the market turns, it will take a bit of time for it to affect people’s ability to repay loans. A bit of time meaning 1-3 months.

Remember that most loans also have a grace period and an additional period after that that the lender can use to delay repaying the loan. This is usually 1-2 months. Taking this into account make sure that your portfolio ha an average duration less than 3 months and preferably around 30 days.

Use secondary market

In case you wish to exit and cash out, simply stop reinvesting and place your whole portfolio on the secondary market. If you react quickly, you will be able to get most of your portfolio back and experience only a slight loss. Depending on state of the market you may need to increase the discount that you offer on the loans increasing your losses.

Relying just on the secondary market is therefore not good enough. It needs to be combined with one or more other strategies.

Chose your platform carefully

Some P2P lending platforms act as the loan originators while others act more as a marketplace.

In case the platform acts as a loan originator, investors are exposed to the risk of the platform going bankrupt. Investors are not actually investing in loans that a borrower is repaying but are actually investing in the platform that is repaying loans to investors. If the platform goes bust all the loans are at risk of defaulting.

In case the platform is a marketplace for many loan originators the platform facilitates legal agreements between investors and borrowers. If the platform goes bust in this case, loans are still going to be repaid in the same or similar manner as if the platform was running normally. Risk is therefore smaller.

This is important in case there is a market crash as companies feel consequences of their stock value dropping much faster than employees loosing their jobs and being unable to repay loans.

Not safe enough?

If this is still not enough for you, get your investment out. It is as simple as that. There is nothing wrong with getting your investment out at the moment when you feel the risk is too high compared to the return. Many investors suffer for FOMO. A good rule of thumb is:

Keep your investment only if you would make the same investment today.

Summary

In order to be defensive with your investments in peer-to-peer loans position your portfolio for a fast exit. In addition, be ready to act quickly in case you want to exit. In order to do that:

  1. Increase liquidity by investing in only very short term loans (0-3 months)
  2. Be ready to sell your portfolio on the secondary market
  3. Investigate in “marketplace” type platforms with a longer working history

Lastly, remember that there are still no guarantees and these methods are a way to minimise the loss, not completely protect against any loss. Peer to peer lending is still considered a relatively high risk area for investing. The risk/reward trade-off is good form some but not for other and if you see yourself in the later, do not hesitate and get your investment out and safe.

Hope you like this post and get value from it. Enjoy and have a good one. 🙂

The Ultimate Auto-Invest Strategy on Mintos

Mintos has one of the best auto-invest features out of all P2P lending platforms. The distinguishing factor is the ability to prioritise one auto-invest portfolio over another. In addition there are options to define an interest range, loan duration, primary or secondary market and loan originator rating.

In this article I will show step-by-step how to define an
auto-invest portfolio according to your investment priorities.

1. Define your list of priorities for your investment strategy

Think of what you value most as an investor and create a prioritised list of what you are looking for. Make it 2-3 points long in order to keep it simple for the first time.

Here is an Example that I will be using throughout this guide.

Example list of prioritise:

  1. High returns
  2. High liquidity
  3. Minimal loss due to defaults
  4. Low risk

The strategy will use the capability of prioritising auto invest portfolios to create many auto-invest portfolios that accurately reflect your investment strategy and it’s prioritise.

2. Map Prioritise to Loan types

After defining the prioritise we need to map them to loan characteristics in order to get the perfect loan type.

Every loan (on Mintos) has a few main characteristics and what it mostly impacts (which i put in brackets):

  • interest rate (return rate)
  • loan term (liquidity and risk)
  • loan originator and the rating of the loan originator (risk)
  • loan type (risk)
  • country of origin (risk)
  • buyback guarantee (risk)
  • LTV – Loan-to-Value ratio (risk)
  • others

APR, and LTV are tedious to define and maintain in an auto-invest portfolio so I will ignore them in this guide from now on.

Here is how the prioritise from the example map to the loan characteristics:

  1. High returns -> high interest rate
  2. High liquidity -> short loan term
  3. Minimal loss due to defaults -> buyback guarantee,
  4. Low risk -> high rating of loan originator, high LTV, buyback guarantee, short loan term

Additionally, define some Best and Worst acceptable thresholds for these characteristics that are acceptable for you.

  1. Interest rate – Best = > 14%, Worst = 10%
  2. Loan Duration – Best = < 3 months, Worst = 24 months
  3. Buyback guarantee – Best = Yes, Worst= Yes
  4. Rating of loan originator – Best = A or B , Worst= Any
  5. LTV – Best = Any, Worst = Any

3. Define the best and worst acceptable cases

Start off with defining the portfolio for the best possible loans you would like to get. This portfolio should have conditions set to satisfy all of your criteria, regardless of priority.

After the best one it is time to define the auto invest portfolio for the worst possible loan you would still invest in. This one should have only the bottom criteria satisfied.

Max and Min Strategy Example

4. Define all the ones in between and order them by priority

After having the top and bottom lines defined, start defining the portfolios in between. To do that start from the top and work your way down. The way I did it in the example is by going from strictest settings and going down to less strict settings. You could be very fine-grained and define many scenarios but keep them under 7 as more that that will become very hard to manage. 2-3 is a minimum to have any benefit from the prioritisation in
mintos and around 10 is a nice number to have.

After you have your portfolios defined duplicate each one of them and apply them on the secondary market. The result should be 5-20 auto-invest portfolios that execute your investment strategy.

5. Turn it on gradually

This is a something you should be doing always and every time you are changing something about your auto-invest settings.

  1. Define a low investment amount for each one of the portfolios
  2. Turn them on
  3. Gradually increase the portfolios as you go

6. Maintain

Many investors have only 1-2 auto-invest portfolios defined. These portfolios are easy to maintain and mange. In order to have their capital invested at all time they need to have loose criteria. Because of the loose criteria they are not very targeted and do not prioritise one type of loan over another. Not in a precise way at least.

After going through all the steps you will most likely end up with about 10-12 auto invest portfolios. These require some maintenance in order to keep it up to date so it is something to consider. Every time mintos changes something like adding a new loan originator or changing the rating system you will have to go through each one of your auto-invest portfolios and the same (or similar) change to all of them.

In addition you may notice that some of your portfolios are not performing as expected or maybe your portfolio as a whole is not balanced in a way you intended. View it as a constant work in progress and adjust it over time. Once a week should be more than enough to be up to date. Markets change over time and being on top of your portfolio will benefit you in the long run.

Summary

In order to execute your investment strategy on mintos it is possible to leverage the prioritisation capability that that the platform offers via it’s auto-invest feature.

The steps to create a focused and efficient portfolio are:

  1. Define the list of priorities for your investment strategy
  2. Map the priorities to loan types/properties
  3. Define auto invest portfolios for best and worst acceptable cases
  4. Define all the cases in between
  5. Turn them on gradually
  6. Do not forget to maintain it

If you followed these steps you will have a portfolio which clearly prioritises your requirements. and executes your investment strategy. It will require a bit more maintenance but it is a trade-off that in worth it in most cases.

Income Report 01/2019.

Last month was pretty much disappointing. There seems to be an general decline in interest rates in the past 6 months. My portfolio started catching up with that and the annual return rate was lower than expected.

Return Rates and Gross Income

Return Rates (if projected over 12 months) for all the current platforms that I have active investments are:

Overall Return Rate for January 2019. was 8.97% and Income € 53.67.

Retrospective

After a few months of not updating my investment strategies in Mintos the return rate fell noticeably. In order to get back on returns > 10% is am revisiting all my platforms and investment strategies. For Mintos my portfolio needs to be updated by adding the latest loan originators and countries. After that I will revisit my investment strategies for all platforms and update the auto invest strategies. For that I need to update myself on the current state of the loan markets and figure out the best strategies for it. The goal is always the same: get the highest return with the minimal amount of risk.

I addition Swaper seems to have a good potential. As a result I will be gradually redistributing my investments from Twino and spreading them across all the other platforms (except Mintos). I want to see how they are performing so I would like got each one up to about € 1000. That should be a big enough amount to give a good insight in the performance of each platform.

How to choose a P2P lending platform to invest in?

When I started out investing in peer to peer lending I had no clue what to look for when picking a platform. Starting out everything looks the same and knowing what to look for is not easy.

Here is a short list of things to look for when starting out.

BuyBack or PayBack guarantees

A BuyBack guarantee is a promise from the lending platform or loan originator that they will repurchase a loan that is not being repaid.

Many platforms offer (but not all) offer BuyBack guarantees on some loans, some offer them on all loans while other do not offer any type of guarantee. When starting out this is nice type of insurance that makes it unlikely to loose your investment in case the loan defaults.

Keep in mind that having a BuyBack guarantee does not mean that it is impossible to loose the investment. Most BuyBack guarantees do not cover the case when the platform or loan originator go bankrupt.

In addition, in some cases the BuyBack guarantee will only guarantee the buyback of the principal and not the interest. The BuyBack also kicks in only after a notice period and some processing time which can all together take between 1-3 months depending on which platform or loan originator you are looking into. If the interest is not repaid as part of the BuyBack it means that you capital is ringfenced which will result in a lower overall return rate.

Auto invest feature

This is the MOST IMPORTANT feature a P2P lending platform can have. After starting out this is what most of investors will be using in order to automate their portfolio.

A good auto invest feature will have 2-3 of these covered:

  • possibility to make more than 1 auto invest strategy
  • prioritization of investment strategies
  • prioritization on certain parameters (highest interest rate, shortest duration…) within 1 investment strategy
  • auto investment in secondary market

Secondary market

The Secondary market is a place where investors can sell their loans to other investors.

A large and active secondary market is an investors safety net. It gives the opportunity for investors to get their funds out before the actual loan terms end.

For active and diligent investors the secondary market offer the opportunity to make more profit and better returns. There can be many deals on the secondary market of loans can be sold for a higher profit than originally bought for.

Loans

The types of loans that are offered on these peer to peer lending platforms can be very different. Here are things to watch out for.

Interest Rates

Peer to peer lending platforms love to market high return rates of >15% or >20%. It usually states: “Earn up to X%”. These numbers are high in most cases so never count on them. To get a better feel for what to expect check out the loans on offer and their interest rates.

Because P2P lending is not mainstream, the risks are significant so factor that in. Also, many platforms offer loans in currencies which have high inflation rates. Remember to deduct the inflation rate from the interest rate in order to get a better picture of your actual returns.

Loan Terms

Loans can be repaid over longer or shorter periods of time. Each one has it’s pros and cons to an investor. The main consideration that you as an investor need to have is your investment strategy.

Do you want to invest in long term loans? (Less risk of capital sitting around, more stable returns) Do you want to invest in short term loans? (easier to get cash out of the platform in case you need it). Maybe a combination? How much liquidity do you need on your investment?

Loan diversity


Diversification of investments usually means spreading risk. If the platform you are using offers loans in many currencies, many countries, various types (personal, mortgage…) it offers the possibility to diversify. Having the possibility to diversify your portfolio means that there are more options when it comes to investment strategy.

Maybe you want to diversify your in order to reduce risk, maybe you do not want to diversify in order to get higher returns. The more options the better as your portfolio can be very fluid and you can adjust it as you go.

Supply

This one is simple. A fresh supply of new loans is a requirement so that your capital is not sitting and waiting around doing nothing. In case your investment is just sitting on the platform for days without and it is not invested you are losing money. In case there is not a large enough supply you will be competing with too many other investors. Loans will have lower interest rates as supply of capital is larger than the supply of loans.

Default rates

Some platforms offer insight in to statistics. Check them out, especially the default rates for each different loan type and origin. look at the percentages in order to know what to expect with your investment. In case a platform is not making this available consider that the numbers are worst that any that do offer this information.

Fees

It is rare that peer to peer lending platforms have any hidden fees. They are primarily technology driven companies that want to solve a problem. On the other hand there are platforms that are more money driven and will hide many fees until you need to do something that has a fee attached to it.

Test out every feature that you are planning to use before making a commitment to a platform.


Check out basic things like depositing and withdrawal, transferring currencies, auto investment, buying loans manually, buying on the secondary market…

If a platform has more any fees for basic features (deposit, withdraw, invest…) consider it as a red flag. There are generally not good platforms and have more hidden fees you have yet to discover.

Summary

The most important features to look for in a peer to peer lending platform are:

  • Buyback / Payback guarantees
  • A variety of loan types, interest rates and duration
  • Auto invest feature (that works)
  • Healthy Secondary market
  • Hidden fees are a red flag

How to get started in peer to peer lending?

Step by step guide on how to start investing in peer to peer lending.

Here is a quick step by step guide on how to get started in peer to peer lending.

1. Chose your investments platform(s)

There are many investment platforms in the peer to peer lending space. Each region of the world has different ones which cater to that market. Search and find a few of the most popular and most recommended peer to peer lending platforms in your region and sign up to 2-3 of the most popular platforms. Check out this How To guide to help with deciding on which platforms to go with.

After making an account you will be able to explore the platforms.

2. Set up your account(s)

In order to setup accounts in most cases you are required to provide pictures of your ID or Passport. Have them ready as well as have pictures or scans of them ready on your device. Along with pictures of your ID or passport, your email is of course required as well as your mobile phone number in some cases.

After the accounts are setup it will usually take a day or two to get the account verified. Do not put any money into the account before verification is complete.

While setting up accounts with some platforms I experienced issues that prevented my account form being verified. In case there was any money on the account it would be almost impossible to get it back.

3. Test out all basic functionality

Make sure everything works before investing money. After initial setup you will be prompted to add some founds to the account. Do this very gradually and slowly.

Add the minimum amount of money possible at first. I usually deposit 1-2 euros just to make a deposit and a withdrawal afterwards. Deposits and withdrawals do not always go smoothly and you want to avoid putting in any money in scam or a non working platform.

One example is that some platforms have withdrawal fees but do not state it clearly when you are signing up. Putting in only 1-2 Euros means the risk is negligible. You are ensured that your investment founds will not be stuck because of technical reasons.

Doing a deposit and withdrawal can take 3-5 business days as most of the time they require international money transfers.

After you test out the deposit and withdrawal process, add a bit more founds and make 1-2 manual investments in order to see how the platform works.

The next step would be exploring the auto-invest and secondary market options on the platform and seeing how they work.

4. Start off gradually

Add some funds to each of the platforms and start investing. The key here is not to invest all of the founds at once but to explore the platforms and all of it’s options. Explore the auto-invest features and secondary market as you will be using these the most.

After a few weeks or a month you will get to know the platforms along with it’s pros and cons. At this point you should be ready to start investing.

Sumary

  1. Reserve at lease 3-5 days in order to start any investing in peer to peer loans.
  2. Find 2-3 investment platforms that suit you and setup accounts
  3. Test out all the basic functionality before putting in any money for investments
  4. Make a plan and start investing gradually, graduating from manual investments to auto investing and exploring secondary markets.