I realized I never actually went deeper into my reasons for fully leaving peer to peer. So here are my reasons why I decided to cease investing in peer to peer and only invest in real estate and the stock market.
#1 Its not actually passive
What I realized that with some sites you need to keep a constant eye out for negative news messages about the LO’s you invested in. Sometimes you can read in the news a Loan Originator is going bankrupt, and a few days later it gets suspended from the secondary market. You will want to sell your loans off from that originator before this happens.
#2 It’s hard to distinguish between scams and honest sites
While I do feel some peer to peer sites are easier to spot as scams some are much harder. Sites where the projects don’t match up, or where Loan Originators are kept a secret. I was invested in Kuetzal, Envestio and Monethera. While I got out in time out of Monethera and Envestio I was not able to get out of Kuetzal in time. Looking at it back now of course I should have spotted Kuetzal as a scam.
But other sites were much harder to decide on if they are scams or not. Take Grupeer who went into default for me for example. Are they a scam? Even up to this day after not paying for 90 days they keep up appearances. In any case they were listed on explorep2p which usually only listed credible peer to peer sites.
#3 There is a high liquidity risk on most p2p and p2b sites
Some of these sites have a secondary market but that does not necessarily means it functions correctly. When shit hits the fan and everyone wants to get out, even a secondary market will not help. Some sites don’t have this at all, and they offer investments for 24 months. That’s a very long time to wait when things go wrong.
#4 Investors money might not be separated from the company’s money
When I asked to wire the money on my virtual Grupeer account in March, Grupeer answered me that due to delays in transfers from the Loan Originators they could not transfer it. BUT it was already on my account. That means that the company money and investors money was all together in one big pool. And I am sure that Grupeer was not the only p2p site doing this. It’s not regulated, so they are not required to do it. We need to trust in the goodwill of the p2p site.
#5 You are also investing in Startups
Most p2p and p2b sites around are actually small companies. So in a way you invest in Startups. Statistically you should know that a startup in the Finance industry has a 42% chance to fail, so this is already a huge risk you are taking just by wiring money. In theory you still have a claim on the loan you invested in directly with the business or loan originator. In practice its quite hard to recover that stake as you have no collateral.
So forget about all these blogs that say you need to diversify! You really shouldn’t, you should be investing in the biggest p2p sites only and stay away of the smaller sites run by a handful of people.
#6 They don’t need to start off as a scam to become one
I’m sure a few of the p2p sites are starting off with the idea that they would set up an honest system. However when the company gets in trouble its quite tempting to start using investors money as your own, or create fake loans or loan originators to get extra funding for your site. Of course that’s not legal, but the temptation is there and there is no regulation to check if they are behaving as they should.
#7 I lose to much sleep over it
When the stock market crashed 30% in February / March 2020 because of Corona I never lost one night of sleep over it. While when Kuetzal stopped functioning, I remember in December 2019 I was awake all night. Even though I had 20 times more in the stock market. The idea that I fell for a scam was just extremely painful.
#8 It feels that even peer to peer loans are P2B loans
On some platforms where you can invest in many different loans, my original thought was that if the LO ever stopped paying I would still have a claim to the loan. After a few Loan Originators got into troubles because of Covid, its very clear that my claim is not on the person that I actually took the loan from but on the Loan Originator itself. So instead of investing in 1000’s of loans I was actually just investing in 30-40 businesses.
In conclusion I no longer feel comfortable to put my money into peer to peer. For me the high risk / high reward has mostly turned out to be high risk. Normally next year there would come some European regulation. This could actually be good for the sector in the long run, but mostly for the investors who will feel more confident simple rules (like keeping investors money seperate), are being followed.
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