Supposing you have switched on the news over the last few months, there will be specific phrases and definitions you will have undoubtedly picked up on regarding the economy, terms that don't always offer the most comfort when seeking a path to success in investing...
Fiscal tightening, contracting monetary policy, high-rate environments, 'worrying macro picture', geopolitics, these terms and phrases have bombarded us over the last few months and left people in a bit of a spin. But, of course, we live in the golden era of information, which has created the golden age of choice, which is, on the surface - fantastic, isn't it? But, to paraphrase The paradox of Choice by world-renowned psychologist Barry Schwarz, 'the more choice we have, the more paralysing and confusing life becomes.
So, if too much choice is bad, and even world-level banking aficionados can't agree on what to do, how fare the retail investor?
We can only present our opinion, which will be one of many, but hopefully, this will at least attempt to demystify some of the above for you. The reasoning behind the current macro picture is substantial and varied and has far too much nuance to unpack in a single blog; however, the outcome is the same, uncertainty creates concern, and concern creates an aversion to risk and subsequently associated risk assets.
The conundrum presents itself regarding seeking a balanced and risk-adjusted portfolio; you want enough risk exposure to grow your wealth without taking on so much that it becomes intolerable. Only you can decide on your attitude to risk; however, when unpacking p2p as an asset class, there are some interesting points to consider when making your choice, and we feel these three are important.
The Housing Market: Many economists and speculators will tell you that the era of soaring house prices fuelled by cheap money is coming to a rapid end and that it won't be an economic reality in a high-rate environment. That may be accurate, but that isn't what makes the housing market such an attractive bedrock of investment potential; the attractiveness comes from the asset's ability to store value over time. Aside from the equity shock and subsequent rebound post the 2008 financial crisis, house prices in the UK have been tracking upwards since the late 1970s, since they began to be commoditised on a large scale. This is because assets tend to be valued based on scarcity or utility, and houses have the latter to the ultimate extent. The robustness displayed over the last 50 years underpins the p2p asset class because, unlike many assets that could be considered speculative, there is a constant requirement for new homes, therein the fixed correlation between utility and value.
Downside Protection: Asset-backed P2P is interesting in its structure. Unlike other investments, you have the security blanket of third-party profit margins factored into your returns, effectively ahead of you in the queue should a downturn marginally decrease the asset value. The scheme's profit margins would initially absorb that loss and protect your returns to a certain extent. This situation is orchestrated by the fact that the projects we back have a high level of competency, our clients are experienced, and the margins they work off are substantial.
Credit Worthiness: This brings us nicely to our final point; as well as the housing market and our client's experience, you are also investing in the skills and expertise of our team, the custodians of all these moving parts. We started by discussing choices and the confusion of the macro environment for our team of dedicated experts with careers spanning decades; the laser focus is on this sector, and these specific assets, their experience and background ensure the highest standard of due diligence and credit competency.
Invest & Fund has returned over £115 million of capital and interest to lenders with zero losses, showing the rigour that governs our business.