A message to investors - Covid-19
We have all witnessed the unfortunate stock market effects stemming from the uncertainty surrounding the virus. We expect this will continue at least to some degree before treatments and then the vaccine is announced in due course. We all know that this is being worked on at a pace and the announcement of either, or both, will likely remove the substantial uncertainty from the markets that has driven this recent volatility and let us all move on. We hope you all stay safe during this time.
We are a relatively stable asset class and have delivered strong and stable income across our whole loan book every year since we started, and with fixed interest rates on our loans to borrowers. Nonetheless past performance cannot guarantee future performance and whilst we expect our lender interest to continue to be paid as normal, we saw an imbalance in withdrawal and deposit activity manifest itself on Thursday 12th March 2020 that was potentially becoming a trend so we decided to act quickly for everyone’s protection and we now class the situation as no longer “normal market conditions”.
The current uncertainty has also created many, much larger challenges in other markets. Large capital losses in the stock market have already happened, indeed the markets have been closed to trading more than once in the last couple of weeks. We have also seen a substantial bank interest rate cut to near zero that is unlikely to be reversed for some time and may well have further to go.
For our platform, we didn’t have those sort of huge changes happen but we did see an imbalance created on Thursday 12th March 2020 between withdrawals and deposits that we had not seen before and couldn’t allow that to continue without a positive intervention.
From past investor feedback, we believe that we have had the leading liquidity (speed of sale of loan parts and withdrawal of cash) in the peer to peer market and have served well over £1.5bn of exactly on time investment withdrawal requests in less than one second of the requested time to date from the Access Accounts. This compares to reports of days, weeks or months to withdraw from our similarly large peers in this market.
Due to current circumstances, we have taken the prudent decision to move our Access Accounts, for the time being at least, to a similar queueing system that has mostly been used by others. This will better match buyers and sellers in this unusual period and is now in operation. We cannot predict withdrawal speed at present, but we will display it once there is enough data.
This Access Account change does not affect target rates of return, nor withdrawals from your cash account nor secondary market trades, they all work as before. This is a change that solely affects the speed of sale of your investments and subsequent withdrawal of funds from the Access Accounts. It was a necessary change as the investments underlying the Access Accounts have remaining terms of a few days to 5 years and liquidity is only possible if there is balance between buyers and sellers, something many markets have lost from hand gel and toilet rolls to shares.
New Access Account withdrawal requests can be submitted to join the queue. All existing QAA, 30 Day Access Account and 90 Day Access Account withdrawal requests are still queued in the order they were requested, and their position will be honoured.
Thank you for your understanding.
- March 13, 2020