BrickOwner: p2p equity investing in UK property

BrickOwner

Brickowner review with CEO Fred Bristol

Brickowner is a property co-investment platform based in the UK. In this interview, the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Fred Bristol, explains the benefits of the peer to peer equity investing model in property and how Brickowner leverages it for the benefits of investors.

When investors co-invest in a particular property they share in the rental yield and also the capital gains with all the other peers who invested.

Brickowner is currently running a seedrs campaign, this allows investors to become shareholders of the firm. More info : https://www.seedrs.com/brickowner

Can you briefly introduce yourself and your role/position in Brickowner?

Fred Bristol is the Founder and CEO of Brickowner. For the last 15 years I’ve been working in the property investment and management sector, both in the UK and abroad, with a range of experience covering different property sub sectors from residential, to land, planning, industrial, retail and commercial.

What is Brickowner about?

Brickowner is a property crowdfunding platform that lets people invest as little as £100 into institutional grade property investments that usually require a minimum investment of around £50,000 or more.  Our platform acts as an aggregator, so that the investors that come through us combine to make a large enough sum to invest in these investments.  We are making a whole area of property investment available to those that wouldn’t normally be able to access these investments

Brickowner sources property asset managers with strong track records within their property subsector.  These managers tend already to manage property portfolios worth £50m-500m, but they mainly deal only with very large investors.

The aim of our business is to act as an aggregator, so our users get access to new investment opportunities, whilst the asset managers we work with get access to new investors. We think this is the future of investing. Using the efficiency of a digital platform means smaller investors can cluster together like this to invest in institutional property deals, which were previously out of their reach.

Because of our model, we can offer Brickowner users the ability to invest in a far broader range of property investments than we would if we were sourcing and managing the assets in house.

Can you describe Brickowner in figures?

£1.29 trillion, £483bn, 2m, 1.8m,

£1.29 trillion is the size of the private rental sector in the UK, and £483 billion is the amount that gets invested into UK commercial property.  These are massive markets, offering enormous opportunities for Brickowner to capture a portion of this.

2 million is the number of buy to let investors in the UK now looking for a new way to invest in property after recent tax changes make it harder for them to own property directly themselves,.  We believe many of these investors will use alternative avenues to invest in property such as platforms like Brickowner.

1.8 million are the number of 23-35 year older locked out of the housing market since 2001 looking for an alternative way to own property. At Brickowner we understand how difficult investing in and owning property has become for this age and believe that our platform can support this these investors.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

Brickowner offers the advantages of Access, Return and Diversification.

Access: our platform is easy to use and offers investors access to institutional grade property investments. This means that investments which usually required £50k+ to access can be accessed from £100 using the Brickowner platform.

Return: the returns we target on our platform are 8%+, this will be a mix of regular income and a capital gain. We believe this returns are incredibly attractive when compared to other investment options.

Diversification: Given that our platform offers investments across sub-asset classes, investors will be able to use our platform to invest into residential, commercial and property development sub-sectors across the UK.

What ROI can investors expect? 

We are currently targeting 8+% return.

Do investors pay any fees? 

We source property asset managers, and subsequently vet the investment opportunities they offer us, once a deal goes onto our site:

(1)  We charge a small upfront fee (3%) to cover the transaction cost,




(2)  We charge an annual management fee (1%) for dealing with the relationship between the investors and the investment manager, and ongoing administration.

What is the average term planned for the property investments?

Investment terms differ but are typically 3-5 years.  We will shortly be launching a secondary market which will let investors put their shares up for sale before the end of the investment term.

Is Brickowner open to international investors?

Yes although due to various regulatory requirements we are unable to presently accept investment from the US.

What are the main risks for investors and how does Brickowner mitigate them?

As with any investment, investors subscribe to some sort of risk in return for a potential return on their original investment. This means that investors can be exposed to underperformance either in rental income or property value, as with any property investment.

The investments placed on our platform are managed by experienced property asset managers with a strong track record.  Brickowner users have the ability to diversify their investment across a number of different investments using the platform, which helps mitigate any risk.

What systems does Brickowner use to rate the value and potential income from the properties?

All the properties offered on Brickowner will have been independently valued, and these valuations will be presented to the platform users.  In the same way the projected income of an investment would have been independently assessed taking into account various factors such as potential voids and any ongoing costs.

Will Brickowner focus on the properties of a specific type or in a specific location?

Brickowner offers its users the ability to invest it institutional grade property opportunities, these can range from residential property, to student and professional accommodation, to industrial and commercial property. Our investments are all UK based, but we are eager to offer a diverse portfolio of opportunities to our investors.  We are able to do this by working with property asset managers who are experts in their sectors.

What was the greatest achievement for Brickowner and what was key to this success?

We recently funded our first property investment, Abbeygate, in a much shorter time than expected, with 45 new investors.  This was a very important milestone for us, particularly as this validated the platform and the business. Apart from proving the technology we also proved customers want the product, and trust our platform. That is a very big deal, and I’m very proud of it. We are now looking forward to growing the platform and user base.

Can you please describe the current market environment from your perspective?

P2P lending and Investment crowdfunding in general is starting to challenge traditional finance and investment. Banks no longer hold a monopoly in finance with transparency, technology and more efficient investment schemes allowing investors to beat the often low returns many banks are offering, without increasing their risk substantially.

Whilst property crowdfunding is allowing individuals access to property ownership and investment they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get, as as I highlighted above the market is massive.

The growth of the industry is staggering according to a report by Nesta.  Debt crowdfunding could be worth more than £12bn in less than 10 years, since 2015 the alternative finance sector facilitated £3.2bn in investments, loans and donations (up 84%) which is quite something for a relatively new industry.

Despite this growth it is clear that work needs to continue ensuring a standardisation of transparency, fairness and regulation. Brickowner welcomes this as it will mean that we are able standardise how financial returns and accounting information is presented, making it easier for investors to compare our products to others.

Where do you see Brickowner in 3 years?

I want Brickowner to grow substantially, and be a leading player in the property investment market. I want our company to offer people opportunities to invest their money, however small an amount, to get the best possible returns so that they can save for a home, or just lay down money for their future. This simple opportunity is currently hard to achieve for most people, so this clearly has to change.

I have enjoyed building the company so far, and working with some very talented people, so I look forward to more of that as the company grows.

Do you have any Special offers at this time?

Yes! We have an offer open to those making a first investment of £1000 or more into their first Brickowner investment property. In order to qualify for this bonus users must remain invested in the property until the property is fully funded.  Subsequent withdrawals before funding has completed will not count towards this offer. Your welcome bonus will be transferred to your account wallet within 30 days after the funding round has been completed. Brickowner reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any stage. Please e-mail hello@brickowner.com for further details and confirmation.

Use this link to boost your deposit in Brickowner : Deposit £1000 and get £1050!

We thank Fred Bristol for the interview