This January hasn’t been a good month for my crowdlending portfolio. It made me question if investing in p2p lending is worth it. Especially in a Baltics platform.
The demise of Kuetzal and Envestio was important, but more important was the way they decided to do it. They just deleted all data from their websites, along with their websites, and vanished. Meanwhile, the Estonian police are trying “to find out whether it was a fraud and the platforms were created with the purpose of deceiving people, or the websites were closed due to a bad investment.”
There’s a huge difference in how the UK platforms handle wind-ups and how the Baltics ones do it. Just compare Lendy with Envestio and Kuetzal. The first one has regular investor updates from the administrators and a platform that still works. Envestio and Kuetzal have nothing.
What’s stopping any other Baltics crowdlending platform to just close their website and vanish? As no regulation stops them. What’s stopping Mintos from vanishing overnight? I know they had to stop accepting investments from UK residents because they weren’t complying with FCA regulations and they weren’t safe for UK investors. And Mintos took last year 40% of the entire European crowdlending market. If they’re not good enough, what platform is?
Until they finally decide to follow some regulations, is any Baltics platform safe to invest? The answer is no. Anyone of them can decide to wrap up their business and leave. Apparently, even police will give them the benefit of doubt if they decide to do so.
How’s my crowdlending portfolio doing
My January profit reached – 1231 EUR – the first month with a negative profit. This “high profit” was caused by a 1500 EUR write off on Envestio and Kuetzal. Maybe I’ll recover some of my funds back, but most likely I won’t.
Even with 900 EUR new deposits, my portfolio still suffered a value decrease of around 400 EUR, and it’s back to 24,500 EUR.
|Platform||Current value||Profit||Annual return||Started Investing|
|Fast Invest||3739 (-408)||729 (+42)||14.06%||August 2018|
|Mintos||2713 (+473)||669 (+23)||12.56%||June 2018|
|EstateGuru||2236 (+241)||205 (+12)||10.52%||August 2018|
|Grupeer||2095 (+22)||215 (+22)||13.54%||December 2018|
|TFG Crowd||2134 (+139)||160 (+44)||18.31%||May 2019|
|Monethera||1581 (+121)||81 (+21)||18.68%||June 2019|
|Wisefund||1589 (+121)||89 (+21)||21.3%||August 2019|
|Viventor||1543 (+314)||140 (+14)||14.5%||December 2018|
|Crowdestor||1075 (+15)||109 (+15)||15.9%||December 2018|
|Crowdestate||1053 (+103)||99 (+4)||10.36%||December 2018|
|NEO Finance||983 (+9)||13 (+9)||1.5%||November 2018|
|Flender||837 (+48)||33 (+7)||8.07%||May 2019|
|Peerberry||636 (-26)||185 (+7)||12.34%||December 2018|
|Debitum Network||523 (+4)||23 (+4)||10%||April 2019|
|Investly||514 (+3)||14 (+3)||11.33%||July 2019|
|Bondster||413 (+3)||13 (+3)||11.4%||May 2019|
|Bulkestate||403 (+1)||13 (+1)||8%||December 2018|
|Impact Investments Fund||706 (+54)||31 (+3)||??||January 2019|
Consumer lending platforms
Around 10,000 EUR in my crowdlending portfolio is invested in platforms focused on consumer loans. Most of my investments are in Fast Invest and Mintos, with Viventor slowly catching up.
Last month I’ve shifted 450 EUR from Fast Invest to Mintos. As Mintos started to offer decent interest rates again, and my portfolio is still a bit unbalanced, it was time to add back to the platform a bit more.
I’ve also added 300 EUR to Viventor since my annual return here increased to 14.5%. I stay away from loan originators offering buyback after 90 days, and most of my payments come in time.
On Neo Finance, this was the second month I had a positive return. Come to think of it, Neo Finance is the only fully trustworthy platform from the Baltics, as they’re the only publicly listed company.
I haven’t done anything new on PeerBerry and Bondster, and I realise more and more that nothing really interests me about them. They do offer good returns, but they rely too much on payday loans to make them interesting for me.
Business lending platforms
Around 9000 EUR in my portfolio is invested in crowdlending platforms focused on business loans. (It used to be around 10,000 EUR before Envestio and Kuetzal disappeared).
Grupeer performs like a star every month, with an annual return of 13.5%. Since my portfolio here already reached 2000 EUR, I’ll keep it like this for a few months, without adding any new funds.
I’ve also increased a bit my investments in TFG Crowd, Monethera and Wisefund. Monethera and Wisefund didn’t have the greatest month, as they were also affected by the Kuetzal/Envestio problems. They decided to act fast and suspend their early buybacks until the panic passes.
Nothing new happened on Flender, Debitum Network and Investly. I like these 3 platforms, even with the slightly lower returns at ~10%. I like Flender even more this month, mainly because they’re not from the Baltics, they have real business partners I can check online and they’re fully open about their business model.
Property lending platforms
Around 5000 EUR in my crowdlending portfolio is invested in platforms focused on real estate development projects. Most of it is invested in EstateGuru, Crowdestor and Crowdestate.
I’ve added around 100 EUR each to EstateGuru and Crowdestate last month. To EstateGuru because they’re still a great platform, even if they’re from the Baltics. They do work on their transparency, publishing their financial reports, and being fully open about their loan book and issues. To Crowdestate because I wanted to invest in a Romanian development project owned by a company I like.
Nothing new invested in Crowdestor, but it was interesting to see how the Limp Bizkit concert and Warhunt movie projects were financed.
The worst performer last month was Bulkestate. I’ve kept for more than a month 100 EUR on Bulkestate, willing to invest them in a new project that never came. The only project available was something Bulkestate realized it’s a scam and decided to return the funds to their investors. At least they’re doing proper due diligence.
Impact investments fund
It dawned on me that these 3 platforms I considered high-risk and low-return are actually a lot lower-risk than most of the platforms in my portfolio. They’re open about their default rates, most of the loans are secured by something tangible and all projects do actually exist.
I’ve moved here Kuetzal and Envestio, besides the other platforms I’ve tried in the past and decided to exit. Being forced to exit because the platform doesn’t exist anymore it’s a first, but apparently it can happen in the Baltics.
My vacation fund
I did think for a while if I should stop using Iban, as I don’t know anything about the underlying loans my funds are financing. However, Iban has around 160 employees and are more of a real business than most p2p lending platforms in the Baltics. The fact that I stopped trusting many Baltics platforms shouldn’t affect my trust in Iban.
To end in an introspective tone, January could have been great, but it wasn’t. Losing money is not a pleasant way to start any month. While I didn’t put too much hope in Kuetzal, I really did like Envestio, and it hurts a bit to see my trust betrayed. It’s an interesting lesson to learn with my investment money.