Unbolted founding business model was that of a PawnShop, however today it is much more than an online pawn shop, they offer a diverse set of loans which enable the lenders to diversify across different sectors.
Unbolted leverages the power of crowdfunding to increase diversification. Investors are able to participate in Unbolted loans as lenders, and they can earn interest in the process.
Such loans are subject to the risk of default or partial payment. The risk of default is managed because the loans are backed by assets. The returns promised vary between 0.65% a month and 0.85% a month. Unbolted checks the value of the assets backing the loans and usually provides only up to 70% of the value as a loan to the owner. The loans tend to have an LTV ratio of around 70%.
Strengths and Opportunities
- ROI (return on investment) for gold and silver loans on average is 8% for other types of loans 10.5%
- Loans are backed by real assets, these assets are valued by Unbolted experts. Generally, borrowers are only eligible for up to 70% of the value of their assets.
- The capital and interest invested in precious metal loans are “guaranteed” by the Gold Trust. This trust hedges precious metal prices in order to cushion any drop in the price of gold or silver. Learn more: Gold Trust
- The capital of invested in non-precious metal loans is “guaranteed by the “Provision fund”. This fund is financed by the company. Learn more: Provision Trust
- Unbolted is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is an independent public body that is accountable to the Treasury – in essence, a government body, but one that is funded by the fees it levies on the companies it regulates. https://www.fca.org.uk/about/
- Investors can use an auto investment tool. This enables investors to set it and forget it. Once registered, there is no need to login to unbolted to participate in the loans listed. Once a loan is listed, the auto investing tool will buy shares according to investor specifications. If any part of the loan is unsold it will be made available to manual investors.
- Unbolted offers different types of loans; Personal Asset Bridge Loans, Sale Advance Loans, Bid Now Pay Later Loans, Small Business Loans. This selection allows investors to diversify their loan types. Learn more: Unbolted Loan Types
- New types of loans for mid-tier auction houses providing pre and post-auction financing. See more Forum Auctions financing
- No hidden fees or charges for the borrowers and lenders.
Weaknesses and Threats
- Borrower default.
- Certain assets can lose value, in this case, the lenders would be more exposed to a borrower full or partial default on the loan.
- Unbolted can fail, but given the high interest charged to the borrowers (in the range of 40%) it seems unlikely that Unbolted will do so. If Unbolted defaults, investors will have difficulty in managing the loans they are invested in.
- Use of the Provision Fund or the Gold trust fund is at the discretion of Unbolted, they only cover the capital and not the interest. However, they have an interest in the maintaining the goodwill of their company and it seems unlikely that they will not do whatever they can to protect investor interests.
- Deal flow is slow at times. When deals are listed the auto-investing tools buy them quickly. This makes manual investing a difficult investor strategy. However as of 15/07/2017 deal flow is picking up significantly.
- Asset descriptions could have more detail.
- Unbolted does not have a secondary market, investors are locked in the loans until the loans are paid off.
Peer to peer lending is still a maturing industry. Investors putting all their eggs in any one peer to peer platform are concentrating their risk unnecessarily. Today the UK has many p2p investing options and Unbolted is a well-managed peer to peer lending platform. It is relatively small compared to the larger players in the market, this is an advantage as it allows them to address a niche that larger p2p lenders ignore.
To learn more on Unbolted visit: https://unbolted.com
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