Our altfi platform reviews are divided into nine separate and distinct sections:
This sets out some factual information relating to the platform including an overview of its history and structure, some statistics relating to its current investments/loan book, whether (and on what basis) it is ISA qualifying, its reporting to investors and its fees and charges.
Here we set out the main highlights and considerations for the platform and then provide our summary description.
In this aspect we examine the lending history, organisational structure, ownership, regulatory status and permissions of the platform operator. This includes an analysis of its current and historic investments/loan book, and summary biographies of its key personnel.
financials, & business continuity planning
This section identifies the financial health of the platform operator and any plans it has in place to protect investors should it default. Without adequate provisions in place investors could be left to pursue loan repayments personally through the courts.
In this aspect we examine how readily an investor can realise their investment early, either through redemption or transfer, any restrictions placed upon them, the liquidity of the underlying assets and whether there is a secondary market.
security, borrower assessment & borrower default
This section looks at how the platform operator selects its borrowers/investments and acts to ensure investors’ funds are protected. This includes any due diligence conducted and the types of security offered. The level of pre-screening carried out will likely affect the number of defaults, and the level of asset backing will likely affect how much investors can hope to receive in a default scenario.
regulatory compliance & internal controls
As operating a platform can involve performing a number of regulated activities, the platform operator may be within the FCA’s perimeter therefore be required to be authorised and regulated with the relevant permissions. This involves the platform operator adhering to FCA guidelines on its internal processes to ensure that they are robust and that at all times consumers are protected. Here we consider which individuals are responsible for ensuring that these processes are adhered to and any other pertinent internal controls that should be in place.
We then consider any potential issues for pensions around unauthorised payments, taxable property & trading as well as more general tax issues around UK or overseas tax charges in connection with the investment.
Here we examine the main parties involved in the investment, focusing on the investment provider, investment manager, any security trustee or guarantor etc. This includes the directors, partners, owners and significant managers of each party where this information has been provided by the investment provider or we have found from internet searches.
For each party we examine any adverse press, previous corporate failures, regulatory sanctions, relevant sector or investment experience and undertake a credit check on UK based parties. For non-UK based parties we presume an above average credit risk as information may not be available on these parties.