The mainstream of financial services has a love-hate relationship with those in alternative finance. It’s a familiar tale of the establishment seeking to assimilate the rebels and smooth off the rough edges. The early days of many FinTech companies saw a weird relationship with the banks, who simultaneously courted and envied their success -and attempted to undermine the fledglings by providing patchy (or even non-existent) banking services (such is our anecdotal experience).
Based on an independent survey of 100 fintechs across the Netherlands, Lithuania, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK, a report by ClearBank reveals a multitude of challenges fintechs experience at the hands of their agency bank’s shortcomings.
The UK clearing bank’s report, ‘How well are fintechs served by banks? The state of agency banking across the UK and Europe’ outlines the ways agency banks have inhibited the ability of fintech business to thrive. These include intervention from the regulator, delayed launch of a product, unforeseen increase in costs, caused a loss of revenue, caused a service to go down or be unavailable.
CEO Charles McManus explains in the report’s introduction, ‘agency banking’ is the process of a fintech offering its customers a service that is provided and managed by an authorised bank as the ‘agent’ of that service. The provision of customer accounts, access to payment rails (such as CHAPS) are the most common services agency banks tend to provide to fintechs.
While most fintechs access these agency banking services through traditional high street banks, McManus adds that “the outdated technology architecture of incumbents creates problems for tech savvy fintechs. Integrations are complicated due to a lack of APIs or payments are process in batches rather than real-time. This adds up to a poor user experience for the customers of fintechs who see fast, flexible and real time interaction as ‘table stakes.’
Latest Loan Offer
The latest loan offer on site has an A-rating and an annual rate of interest of 7 per cent. The term of the loan is 12 months. The offer, just launched, is now 60 per cent filled.
Historical Performance And IFISA Process Guide
That figure is the result of over £20 million of loans facilitated on the site, as we bring individuals looking for a good return on capital together with carefully vetted small companies seeking funds for growth. Bear in mind that lenders’ capital is at risk. Read warnings on site before committing capital.
All loans on site are eligible to be held in a Money&Co. Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account (IFISA), up to the annual ISA limit of £20,000. Such loans offer lenders tax-free income. Our offering is an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) that can hold the peer-to-peer (P2P) business loans that Money&Co. facilitates. For the purposes of this article, the terms ISA and IFISA are interchangeable.
So here’s our guide to the process:
The ISA allowance for 2020/21 is unchanged from last tax year at £20,000, allowing a married couple to put £40,000 into a tax-free environment. Over three years, an investment of this scale in two Money&Co. Innovative Finance ISAs would generate £8,400 of income completely free of tax. We’re assuming a 7 per cent return, net of charges and free of tax here.
Once you have made your initial commitment, you might then consider diversifying – buying a spread of loans. To do this, you can go into the “loans for sale” market. All loans bought in this market also qualify for IFISA tax benefits.
Risk: Security, Access, Yield
Do consider not just the return, but the security and the ease of access to your investment. We write regularly about these three key factors. Here’s one of several earlier articles on security, access and yield.