There is only a few that have made an actual ranking of P2P lending platforms using other than gut feeling. Therefore, I have developed a weighted rating based on factors that I deem important for a P2P lending platform. The factors are attributes I have found important through investing and following the P2P lending industry.
I have made the P2P lending platform rating to help potential, new and experienced investors evaluate the risks of different European P2P lending platforms. The risk of P2P lending cannot just be said to be high or low. It varies on a large variety of factors. These factors are included in the ratings to use as much/many relevant aspects in order to objectively find the best P2P lending platforms in Europe.
The ratings, factors, and weightings are a work in progress and any contributions are welcome.
P2P Lending Platform Rating
The TLDR is found in the table below.
Should you trust the rankings? The short answer will be no, because I am biased by the industry and the weightings are based on what I find important.
What is interesting is that the weighting actually works well. EvoEstate scored low in most factors. However, scored well on the important factors which weights the score to its favor.
Initial Rank of Platforms (Before Weighting Factors)
The initial scores of the platforms were more or less as I expected. A lot of platforms are immature and still developing. None scored in the 90% percentile as a developed and mature platform. I would not expect this to happen soon either.
|A||100%-90%||90-81||Platforms should be viable for long-term investments.|
|B||89%-75%||80-67||EstateGuru and Mintos.||Platforms are mature in an immature market, but be careful.|
|C||74%-60%||66-54||Crowdestate.||Maturing platforms which lacks some basic aspects.|
|D||59%-45%||53-41||Bulkestate, Viainvest, Robocash, PeerBerry, Bondster, Profitus, LenderMarket, and Iuvo Group.||Lacks some serious basic aspects to gaining trust.|
|E||44%-0%||40-0||Grupeer, Fastinvest, CoinLoan, Crowdestor, Debitum Network, Lenndy, Monestro, Reinvest24, Iban, Swaper, wisefund, Monethera, and EvoEstate.||If you invest here, you better understand the platform.|
The scores and ratings can be seen in the overview below. It is a good illustration as to why a weighted method is appropriate to thoroughly evaluate the platforms.
There is a big cluster around 40±5, hence the weighting makes good sense to separate the platforms in terms of whether they are scoring high on important or less important factors.
Weighted Ranking of P2P Lending Platforms
The method that will be used is a “Multi-Criteria Decision Making” technique called the weighted point method. It is a tool used in supply chain management to filter and rank suppliers. The intention is to use this method to evaluate each “supplier”/platform of loans to find the best platform.
The final step in the evaluation has come. Each platform is getting the assigned scores weighted in accordance to the category-, and individual category- weightings. The platforms which score high grades on important factors will be awarded a better rank than platforms scoring high grades on unimportant factors.
Ultimately, the weighting of the categories and factors should give the final rankings for each platform.
The weighted rankings give a clear separation between the platforms. Evoestate and Iuvo Group goes from a mediocre 45%-53% scores to being placed 4th and 6th. The weighted rankings, therefore, works as intended.
News/Updates on Rankings
Grupeer has been caught in faking multiple loan originators, and cutting 99% of their staff. Grupeer should not be considered an active platform anymore.
- Due to the discovery of fake LOs a lack of communication from Grupeer, they have moved to rank 16, from rank 8.
Description of Rating Factors
The ratings for the different factors/questions are based on what information or statements a P2P lending platform has available. The rating will be weighted to account for the priority. E.g. the importance of the details in the loan terms compared to customer experience (taken from Trustpilot).
The categories are weighted in accordance with what I think is important (e.g. I think transparency is more important than liquidity, ultimately). Furthermore, the individual factors are weighted to the importance in relation to each other.
The ratings can change over time, and additional factors can be added.
Transparency, or as the P2P lending platform Grupeer calls it transPEERancy is very important. If a platform cannot manage to communicate and show information in a transparent way, there is no way to tell what is actually going on.
Is the Platform Regulated or have a Valid FFA License?
According to the website Kalashnikov.ee, a Financial Institution License (FFA) allows for borrowing and lending operations and issue guarantees and commitments.
Points are given:
- 5 points if: The platform is regulated by a local government or as a P2P lending-, or Crowdfunding- platform.
- 2,5 points if: Active FFA license.
- 0 points if: None of the above.
Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license
While the EMI license in itself is not that important as it is developed more towards businesses such as Revolut and VIALET. However, it has some features that could drastically improve the trustworthiness of a P2P lending platform. What is important from the EMI license is that it allows a business to offer an IBAN account and e-wallets.
The ranking of the EMI is a yes or no essentially. Therefore, 5 points are awarded for having an EMI and 0 if not.
Do Employees Register the Platform on LinkedIn as their Employment?
One of the things learned from the Envestio and Kuetzal scams where that some employees (higher ranking) did not include their position in on professional business/job/career networks like LinkedIn. Therefore, when management is titling their employment at a platform the rating of 5 is given. If the management is not titling as employed on a platform on LinkedIn they are rated a 0.
Under the available agreement/documents is the legal and transparent information an investor needs to trust the platform. This means publicly displaying their registry code without having to look for it (to look up the company at the local government database), loan agreements, account statements, loan descriptions (i.e. the intention of the loan, the borrower’s status (country, income, etc.), and legal office address.
These 5 different points is what I think is critical for the overall transparency of a platform.
The ranking of this question will, therefore, be 1 point for each of the 5 which they comply with.
Transparency in Costs for Borrowers
The transparency in costs for borrowers is a rating made of qualitative “feeling”.
Let me give you an example to give an understanding of how I base my ratings:
EstateGuru has the specific costs listed for the borrowers in % and fees. Mintos has an effective APR %. I would rank EstateGuru 5 as they include everything relevant.
Whereas I would rank Mintos 2,5 as they provide the information about what is in the APR% calculation. However, there is no transparency in what the specific costs is.
Transparency in Costs for Investors
The transparency in costs for investors is conducted using the same method as for “Transparency in costs for borrowers”.
Defaulting Loans Track Record/Transparency
Looking into the defaulting track record and the transparency of the defaults will be rated based on a gut feeling based on the information available. For example, EstateGuru has a statistic showing the percent in default and the percentage of loss in capital. However, it is not made clear which loans are in default. However, their track record is clear, as they have lost zero investment funds.
The rating will be based on public statistics and the transparency of how defaults is handled.
Financials & Management
Would you invest in a stock, where the management actively chose child labor or slavery and used the companies money for personal yachts? I didn’t think so. The management and financials is therefore also important when looking at P2P lending platforms.
Are the Financial Statement (or equivalent Economic Report(s)) offered?
When looking at the financial statements or other financial reports, I look into whether the company is providing a full financial statement with P&L, balance sheet, and notes. Furthermore, it is important to me whether the financial statement is issued at a group level (such as VIAINVEST). If the financial statement is issued at the group level, there is no transparency in the individual subsidiaries’ financials.
I will award a rating of 2,5 if the financials is a report in another language than English. This also applies if the reports are issued at group levels.
I will award a rating of 5 if the financial report is a full financial statement in English.
I know that it is not a requirement for many countries to issued financial statements in English. However, as an investor not speaking any languages form the Baltics I would prefer a common language of English for transparency.
Are Financial Statement Audited?
If a financial statement is audited the platform is granted a rating of 5, if the financial statement is not audited, the platform is granted a rating of 0.
Management Track Record
The management’s track record is found through LinkedIn. The intention of using LinkedIn is that business oriented people like to “brag” about their success, hence people from the management have done well they would presumably publicize it on LinkedIn.
Platforms Time in Business
The time in business can be difficult to measure in an industry this young. Therefore, I have decided to give a platform 1 point for every 2 years in business. Most platforms have not been in business for 10 years, which should also make the rating punishable for younger platforms.
Communication is an important part of a new industry. The P2P lending market has had its ups and downs already, and clear communication is an easy way for the platforms to gain the investors’ trust, if done with full transparency.
Customer Experience (Trustpilot ratings)
To make a rather difficult rating easy, the points granted to the platforms are the Trustpilot scores. I know there are rumors that businesses on Trustpilot are cheating with their scores (e.g. deleting bad reviews or paying people to say something nice).
Clear Publicity Statements About Defaults
The communication and transparency about defaults vary from platform to platform. Platforms that issue buyback guarantees will never reach the point of default as the loan is repurchased.
However, the buyback guarantee is only as good as the financial situation of the loan originator. Therefore, a buyback guarantee does not grant 5 points.
For the platforms that offer buyback guarantees, it is often stated on your account statement if the loan where repurchased due to exceeding the buyback period or just a regular interest/principal payments.
Details in Loan Terms
Details in the loan terms covers the aspects of information disclosed in the loan agreements and overall loan conditions. A current best practice is EstateGuru. EstateGuru discloses the standard terms such as the loan term, loan type, etc. However, they also disclose the physical address for the project, the collateral, the address for the collateral, appraisal reports of the collateral, borrower company name, borrower company address, etc.
There is also the worst practice from e.g. Iban, who discloses nothing. Such platforms scores 0, whereas platforms like EstateGuru scores 5.
Financial Security of Investments
Many P2P lending platforms is issuing “Buyback guarantees”. Usually, the buyback guarantees are offered in 2 forms: The repurchase of loans that is not repaid, and repurchase of loans if early termination is wanted. These buyback guarantees are only as good as the financial stability of the P2P lending platform or the loan originator.
Another financial security is collateral. Collateral can be found in many forms: Mortgage, properties, personal securities, etc. Then it can be first or second rank collateral. In essence, the agent with first-rank collateral has the first rights to claim the collateral.
The last attribute to the financial security is the debt collection of defaulted loan originators/borrowers.
Liquidity is a problem for investors on platforms with inactive or nonexisting secondary markets. Liquidity in P2P lending is sought after, and is generally one of the reasons people would invest in dividend stocks instead.
Does the Platform Offer A Secondary Market?
This is a simple question. Does the platform offer a secondary market or not? 0 for no, and 5 for yes.
Degree of Cash-drag
The degree of cash-drag is very hard to determine. However, what I will do is use my experience to give the most adequate and objective opinion. However, it should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am not invested in all platforms. However, I do follow the community very close.
Information/Facts Based on Ratings
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.lb.lt/en/sfi-financial-market-participants/estateguru-lietuva-uab, https://www.teatmik.ee/en/personlegal/12558919-EstateGuru-O%C3%9C
- Financial Statement: EstateGuru Financial Statement
- Financial Statement: Mintos Financial Statement
- Financial reports: https://blog.grupeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Profit-and-Loss-Grupeer.pdf & https://blog.grupeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Balance-Sheet-Grupeer.pdf
- Personal experience of ThePoorInvestor following and investing in P2P lending
The Roasted PeerDuck has uncovered some disturbing news about Grupeer. Lion Lender and Epic Cash is 2 fake loan originators. You can join the Grupeer discussion telegram channel to see the evidence and the full-blown discussions about grupeer and their future. In the telegram channel, it is also stated that Monetria is also a fake loan originator, along with Promenada which is a fake project.
I will be withdrawing everything I can, as I fear that Grupeer will end up disappearing.
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.teatmik.ee/en/personlegal/14002296-Bulkestate-O%C3%9C
- Financial Statement: https://viasmsgroup.com/investor-relations/
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.teatmik.ee/en/personlegal/14453478-ExFinance-O%C3%9C
- Financial Statement: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/crowdestate-media/Aruanded/2018+Crowdestate+-+annual+report+ENG.pdf
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.teatmik.ee/en/personlegal/12651582-Monestro-P2P-O%C3%9C
- Financial report: https://robocash.group/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Robocash-Group_Summary-Financials_2018.pdf
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://financni-subjekty.penize.cz/176535-p2p-finance-cz-s-r-o
- Financial Statement: https://or.justice.cz/ias/ui/vypis-sl-firma?subjektId=869013
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.teatmik.ee/en/personlegal/14616437-Monethera-Group-O%C3%9C
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.lb.lt/finansu-rinku-dalyviai/uab-sutelktinio-finansavimo-platforma-profitus
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.lb.lt/en/sfi-financial-market-participants/neo-finance-ab
- Financial Statement: https://www.lendermarket.com/docs/cs_annual-report-2018_eng.pdf
- Is the platform regulated or have a valid FFA license?: https://www.fi.ee/en/banking-and-credit/banking-and-credit/credit-intermediaries/licensed-credit-intermediaries-estonia/iuvo-group-ou