Access Accounts update
Due to the impact of Coronavirus the Access Accounts are no longer operating in 'Normal Market Conditions’. As a result, withdrawals from these accounts are operating slower than usual.
You can view our letter to investors regarding the Access Accounts by clicking here or you can view our frequently asked questions below.
We will continue to update and add to these FAQs as the situation develops. So please check back here in the first instance if you have any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Access Accounts in the Current Market Conditions:
(Last updated 17:00pm 3/6/20)
Why are the Access Accounts no longer in ‘Normal Market Conditions’ and what changes have been made to them as a result?
The impact of Coronavirus on financial markets and a significant change in investor behaviour has meant that the Access Accounts are presently unable to achieve the same high levels of liquidity they have enjoyed before this pandemic.
We have seen heightened investor withdrawal requests, therefore we needed to make changes to the operation of the Access Accounts for this temporary period.
An Access Account withdrawal system is operating to allow withdrawals to continue in a fair and timely way, albeit more slowly than investors have been used to due to market factors. Following the temporary stop (to what was previously an instant withdrawal process) when Normal Market Conditions ended as a result of Coronavirus, inbound new investor cash, in combination with Access Account cash balances, was no longer sufficient to instantly satisfy withdrawal requests.
The delay to withdrawals required a new withdrawal system that would satisfy those requests over time. Withdrawals are partly serviced by new investment arriving in the Access Accounts (AAs) and partly by cash received upon repayment of loan capital by a borrower. Currently, as funds become available for withdrawal from the Access Account, these are allocated to an investor’s withdrawal request on a pro-rata basis directly related to each investor’s total investment in that loan within the relevant AA that they are withdrawing from, not the size of their withdrawal request. This process will reduce a lender’s withdrawal request by the sum withdrawn under this pro-rata allocation process.
Please note: The processes for new investment into the Access Accounts, withdrawals from your Cash Account and investment in the Manual Lending Account continue as normal.
What are ‘Normal Market Conditions’?
We define ‘Normal Market Conditions’ on the Key Account Information for the Access Accounts - https://www.assetzcapital.co.uk/invest/our-accounts/quick-access-account/key-account-information.
The impact of Coronavirus has created a situation where ‘Normal Market Conditions’ are no longer in effect, at least for the time being.
When did ‘Normal Market Conditions’ end?
The financial markets had particularly excessive volatility on Thursday 12th March 2020 as a result of the global impact of Coronavirus. In addition, our analysis of the Access Accounts’ behaviour confirmed that ‘Normal Market Conditions’ had ended suddenly on Thursday 12th March 2020, in line with most financial markets seeing extreme activity around that time, and so the withdrawal system operation for Access Accounts did not operate that day and will not operate in the original way until further notice. We will continue to regularly review this situation and keep our investors updated.
How does this impact withdrawals from the Access Accounts?
During this period of financial turmoil, we are currently operating a pro-rata withdrawal system based on lenders total loan holding in the Access Accounts, as described above. This has been done in line with section 20 of our Terms & Conditions which allows us to make changes if we reasonably believe them to be in the interests of the Lending Members, which we do here in the context of our Lending Members as a whole. Given the rapid onset of the current national and global crisis, it simply was not possible to provide 30 days of notice.
When can I request a withdrawal from the Access Accounts?
You can give notice on the 30DAA and the 90DAA as normal right now and as those notice periods expire you will either receive the withdrawal if cash is available to do so or enter the queue at that time.
A withdrawal instruction on funds “Directly” invested in the QAA will also place you immediately in the queue at the time you request it.
The ‘Invest Idle Funds’ feature has been temporarily removed and any funds you had in the QAA via this mechanism are now in the account as ‘Direct’ investment. To join the withdrawal queue, you must place a manual withdrawal request from the QAA. If you previously turned off ‘Invest Idle Funds’, prior to the removal of the feature, the funds associated with that mechanism will already be in the queue. The queue is working now, and some funds have been released from the Access Accounts.
Will withdrawals from my Cash Account be processed as usual?
Any normal withdrawal requests for cash that were not monies held in the Access Accounts in any way will continue to be processed as normal.
What is the speed of withdrawal likely to be?
Whilst we hoped to be able to publish the speed of withdrawals once more data became available, it has become clear that we’re unable to provide meaningful forecast on withdrawal speeds. This is principally because borrowers are facing two challenges in the market. Firstly, a difficulty carrying out normal refinancing of our loans that would have repaid us, and secondly a slowdown in property sales due to the lockdown. We expect both of these to improve but at present do not have enough meaningful detail to make forecasts on withdrawal speed.
We would like to assure you that we are working extremely hard behind the scenes and making all reasonable efforts to preserve and enhance liquidity. However, there are many factors related to Coronavirus and its associated measures which are entirely beyond our control.
We do continue to work on new initiatives to improve liquidity in the Access Accounts. One of the initiatives we’re actively working on is a new marketplace facility for the Access Accounts, which we hope to deliver towards the end of June 2020. This is intended to give lenders more control over the liquidity of their investments, in difficult market conditions such as these, by providing an optional feature to discount your loan parts to incentivise buyers to purchase investments more quickly where desired. We’ll continue to communicate with our investors and keep you updated with our progress.
Why can’t I just have my cash back by selling my investments immediately as I used to do?
There is not presently an excess level of inbound deposits versus withdrawals to permit the rapid withdrawals that we have historically delivered since the Access Accounts originally opened. This is due to these no longer being ‘Normal Market Conditions’, as we always highlighted could happen from time to time over the years at moments of market volatility and similar.
The design of our Access Accounts remains market leading, so much so that in ‘Normal Market Conditions’ they did not need to await specific new investments into an account to permit immediate withdrawals by other investors. Unfortunately, we are not presently in ‘Normal Market Conditions’ due to the impact of Coronavirus.
This is highly dependent on a degree of balance being restored between withdrawal requests and funds becoming available to service them. Presently, the accounts that you are invested in will receive cash from several sources including from new investments by other investors as well as loan interest, repayments and monthly amortisations from borrowers. All of these will contribute to queued withdrawal requests being fulfilled.
We ask that investors bear with us as we, and the country as a whole, look forward to a return to normal market conditions. Our priority remains the protection of capital value in your investments, and secondly the delivery of the interest due on those loans. The liquidity of withdrawals from the Access Accounts remains the third level priority as prioritising that would severely prejudice the former two priorities.
What happens to any 30DAA or 90DAA account withdrawal requests I had already submitted?
They will join the queue when the relevant notice period expires.
Will I still receive monthly target rate interest payments on investments held in the Access Accounts?
Interest receipts from loans held in the Access Accounts will still be applied to the payment of investor interest as usual, subject to the advertised target rate caps.
Please note that there is no way of predicting exactly how much interest will be paid by our borrowers in the coming weeks as they adjust to this new reality and grapple with the challenges.
However, we hold substantial sums in our borrower retention accounts. These retentions are for a variety of purposes but include being able to pay lender interest for a period, even if a borrower stops paying.
What interest rate will I receive on my 30DAA & 90DAA funds whilst they await release beyond the standard notice periods?
As previously, target interest rates remain capped at the advertised rate of the account they were withdrawn from.
How does the ‘Invest Idle Funds’ function now work?
We have made the decision to temporarily remove the ‘Invest Idle Funds’ function at this time. Whilst withdrawals from the Access Accounts have resumed and moved to a queuing system, we feel that temporarily pausing this function will simplify our lenders’ experience whilst we are no longer in ‘Normal Market Conditions’.
This also prevents a situation where money returning to a lender’s account may be swept into the Access Accounts at a time when withdrawals are operating more slowly than usual, if that lender had not switched off ‘Invest Idle Funds’
Do capital repayments in full, or part, or where a loan has regular repayments of capital, contribute to withdrawal requests from the Access Accounts?
Yes, they do, however please be aware that, at the time of writing, it appears that many banks and other major alternative lenders have suspended funding new loans. This means that we are experiencing reduced loan redemptions in full compared to what was previously expected to have made up a substantial amount of the cash for withdrawals. Therefore, capital repayments are no longer at a material level at this time.
Will the Access Accounts be funding new loans during this time?
The Access Accounts are not funding new loans at this time. Any potential new loans visible in the queue to be drawn soon should not be considered to change this position. Funding of new loans would slow withdrawals and so we have stopped that activity for the time being.
- March 13, 2020