P2P Lending Diversification
Are you considering trying out a new P2P lending platform in order to improve your platform diversification?
If so, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve written this comprehensive article to impart our knowledge about the benefits and disadvantages of investing on multiple P2P lending platforms.
If you decide to invest on more than one P2P platform, you should have a solid reason for so.
While we test multiple P2P lending platforms in the creation of our comprehensive reviews, it's not something you should have to do yourself as a private investor.
Spoiler! There aren't any benefits to investing on more than two to three platforms.
Keep reading to find out why.
Watch our latest video, where we explain how you should approach diversification within your P2P lending portfolio.
Why Diversify in the First Place?
Before you start researching other P2P lending platforms, ask yourself the reasons why you want to diversify your portfolio in the first place.
Defining your goals will help you decide whether it’s necessary to start investing on a new platform, in order to achieve the diversification you’re after.
Once you’ve done this, check to see if your current platform offers you enough options to diversify on that platform alone, because keeping all of your funds on one platform, rather than spreading them across multiple, is often the easiest and safest option.
Not sure why you’re diversifying?
There are multiple reasons why investors want to diversify, the primary reason often being because it lowers the risk of default on a particular platform.
In order to justify this reason, we should be looking at scenarios where a P2P lending platform might default.
How Can a P2P Platform Default?
There are several scenarios that can lead to the bankruptcy of a P2P lending platform or lending marketplace. Let’s explore the main four reasons...
1. Loan Companies (Partners) Go Out of Business
If the loan originator goes out of business due to the poor performance of its loan book, or as a result of external factors like new regulations or an economical crisis, it will decrease the P2P platform's revenue.
P2P marketplaces are financed by the fee that is charged to the loan originator in exchange for the funding the platform provides.
If multiple loan originators go out of business, the revenue of the P2P lending marketplace can decrease to the level where the company can no longer operate.
2. ‘Bank Run’ - Investors Exit their Investments
During an economic downturn, private investors tend to withdraw their investments as cash becomes more valuable.
Many investors move their funds from P2P lending platforms during the recession to invest in stocks, which are often cheaper during periods of economic turmoil.
Equally, an economic crisis often means the borrower’s demand for loans increases. As a result, on the P2P platforms, the ratio between the supply of loans and the demand for investment opportunities changes, which cause a shortage of funding options.
If the platform cannot provide enough funds to its borrowers or loan originators, the value of the service decreases to the point where a P2P platform can no longer operate.
3. Poor Management
Strategic business decisions certainly have an impact on the financial health of a P2P platform.
If a company, for example, is expecting a decrease in demand, it doesn’t make much sense to invest money in growth strategies.
At the end of the day, poor management decisions can lead any company into a bankruptcy.
4. The Platform is a Scam
But, it is not always easy to spot a scam.
Mainly because of the lack of transparency that seems to have become the ‘industry standard’ within the P2P lending space.
At least that's how many platforms operate. Here is our guide to conducting your own due diligence on a P2P lending platform.
Recessions (like the one we are facing right now) expose several scams, and are those recently exposed platforms the only scams out there? Probably not.
Here is our guide to help you decrease the chances of joining a fraudulent P2P lending site.
You should keep in mind, however, that despite our experience with investing and our meticulous strategies, we’re unable to guarantee the 100% legitimacy of any platform, as the P2P lending market isn't regulated in most of the countries they operate in.
Alright, so we’ve looked at the four possible scenarios that can lead to the bankruptcy of a platform.
When choosing the second or third platform to invest on, you would probably want to decrease those risks.
Which Platform Should You Choose?
If you’re considering diversifying your investments by branching out onto different platforms, you should be looking for platforms that offer services, features and investments different to your current platform’s offerings.
It doesn't make much sense to invest on two platforms that list the same loan types from the same loan originators, does it?
For clarity as to how you could diversify your portfolio, see the example below:
If you are already funding short-term consumer loans on Mintos, there's not much value in investing in the same loans on Viventor. Instead, what would make sense, is to invest in property-backed loans onEstateGuru.
If you are an advanced investor with higher investment amounts, you can diversify your investments across other countries and/or loan originators. That's perfectly fine, as long as you have a solid strategy in mind.
Here’s our checklist with further criteria you can consider when choosing your secondary P2P platform:
- Are there enough loans available to invest in?
- What's the current interest rate?
- Is the P2P lending platform transparent with their statistics?
- And are these stats comprehensive?
- What kind of loan types and securities are available?
- What countries do the loans come from?
- Are there any regulations you should keep in mind?
You should also bear in mind that the more you diversify your portfolio, the more time you need to spend monitoring the performance of your portfolio and keeping up with the news about the industry.
Is Diversifying Across Multiple Platforms Worth Your Time?
Let's say you invest €10,000 in P2P lending on five platforms with an average interest rate of 10% per year; you can expect to earn €1,000 every year.
Ideally, you’ll check the performance of your portfolio every two to three weeks.
If you have your investment invested on five platforms, you’ll spend a significantly larger amount of time monitoring your portfolio than you would if you only invested on fewer platforms. In our experience, the time spent monitoring your wide portfolio is not best, as it won’t be represented in your earnings.
Pros and Cons of Diversifying Across Multiple Platforms
So what are the benefits and disadvantages of investing on multiple platforms?
- Opportunity to expand your P2P lending knowledge
- Potential to invest in multiple countries
- Option to invest in various loan types
- Opportunity to invest in multiple loan originators
- Significantly higher amount of time spent on monitoring your investments
- Higher risk of defaults for smaller platforms due to little track record
- Higher risk for a new platform to be a scam
As you can see, diversification across multiple platforms can result in both positive and negative effects; it all comes down to your investment strategy.
For most private investors, there are not many reasons to invest in more than two to three platforms, unless you invest more than €50,000 on each platform.
Keep in mind that P2P lending is risky and you should start investing small amounts to gain familiarity with the P2P lending platform before investing higher amounts.
Here is a list of the best P2P lending platforms in Europe at present, it will help you to find the best fit for you.