Thursday, 11 February 2016
Last updated 18 hours ago
Jun 25 2013 | 9:01am ET
A UK firm has launched a peer-to-peer lending platform focused on loans secured against residential and commercial property. The platform is targeted at institutional-grade investors.
"The LendInvest platform is primarily targeted at institutional, hedge fund and family office investors. This is also a differentiating point for the platform to other P2P lending sites, in that we are not really a 'Mom and Pop' investor platform,” Christian Faes, co-founder of the firm, told FINalternatives. “Our minimum investment size is £50,000, so we are looking to generate volume of deal-flow rather than volume of investors.”
In addition to Faes, LendInvest was co-founded by Ian Thomas. Both Faes and Thomas are principals of Montello Capital Partners, a London-based short-term real estate lender. David Serafini, former Royal Bank of Scotland IT analyst, recently joined the firm as managing director.
The LendInvest platform allows investors to bypass banks and lend directly to borrowers, secured against residential and commercial property. In addition to originating and funding new residential and commercial loans, the platform also acts as an after-market for trading completed loans. It promises investors “superior risk adjusted returns” and borrowers “access to capital.”
“To date, the deals that have been done through the platform, have been by family office investors that are keen on gaining exposure to the market opportunity of lending against property—particularly in the current economic climate,” explained Faes. “However, often these investors don't necessarily want to set up a distribution shopfront to attract and filter through deal-flow. LendInvest provides institutional investors with access to deal-flow and underwriting experience, expertise and superior returns."
Faes said LendInvest's association with Montello allows it to chose from some £100 million a month of loan applications and to incorporate that firm's sophisticated fraud detection and underwriting processes.
The LendInvest platform has been under development this past year, said Faes and Thomas, as they worked “quietly...behind the scenes” with a “select group of investors.” Now in soft-launch, the platform has traded loans worth about £3.5 million to date.
Said Serafini: “In an environment where investors get next to zero return for cash in the bank, it is understandable that sophisticated investors are looking at sound alternative investments. LendInvest allows investors to invest in loans that are secured against real estate, and to obtain superior returns.”