P2P Bloggers: My Learned Lessons

S4F Risk Management Scams
Answering three simple questions can trigger a lot of thought and energy to understand all the mistakes I made during 2019 and face the hard consequences now.

Kristaps Mors is one of the most disruptive voices in the European P2P industry. Some people love him, some other hate him. He recently requested my contribution to compile reactions from multiple P2P bloggers about everything that happened during this crazy year. You can find the full article here. This was my contribution.

N26 The Mobile Bank @ Savings4Freedom

Hey!

I want to compile some blogger views on last years events.

Would you be interested to comment on 3 questions?

Sent to email.”

Kristaps Mors message over telegram

My reply…

Hi Kristaps,

Thank you for all the information that since you started sharing were quite helpful in helping me lose less money than I would otherwise. Please keep sharing.

I hope my answers help in the preparation of your next post. Looking back to all the shit 2020 brought to my P2P portfolio it would be easier to simply disappear, but I like what I do and I always take responsibility for my past mistakes. My answers are aligned with this life philosophy.

If you need additional information, just let me know.

Cheers!

Carlos

Question 1: When you started investing in P2P, what return did you expect? What is the result right now?

I expected annual returns of 10% on my P2P investments, with compounding over time. The reality is quite different: on September 15th, 2020 I invested 38.108€ in my P2P portfolio having lost 18.718€… almost 50% of my total investments. This resulted entirely from a stupid decision in 2019 to concentrate my entire P2P portfolio in high-interest peer-to-business platforms that in reality were scams. If P2P was my entire investment portfolio it would be a nightmare.

Question 2: If you invested in any of the shady platforms, did you notice any red flags in the beginning?

I’m among the “scam bingo” winners: K, E, M, G, W… At the time I was blind. But looking back with the reality-check that now results from my mistakes all red flags were there to see. The lack of transparency and experience from the team with young and inexperienced CEOs and a hidden shareholder structure. A confusion of companies with no relevant capital behind them with multiple cross-relations among shareholders… office addresses registered in residential areas. Jesus! The simple analysis of the maturity and technical quality of the platforms would be for me now a red flag. The constant changes in bank accounts… everything was there for those willing to see. It was not my case.

Question 3: Any lessons learned? Have you changed your investment strategy, based on last year’s events?

Yes, in more than one way. To start I stopped publishing for months trying to understand how I could be more professional and responsible in my blog posts. I would like to keep testing, reviewing, and investing in P2P platforms, but I also wanted to apologize for the manner my blog contributed to promoting scams. I changed the blog entirely to address the identified problems… still much to do, but with the limited time I have, there is still a lot of work to do. Regarding investments, first I reduced my position. The reality is that I can only work with the decisions I do now, not the ones I did one year ago. Now I’m more focused on tracking loan originators and their financial reporting than P2P platforms and their buyback guarantees. Basically I’m changing my investment choices from platforms to the loan originators I want to work with.

A Final Comment

I believe P2P lending will have a bright future by disrupting the financial services industry. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms are smashing old business models and democratizing access to financial and investment information to individual investors to help them overcome the current low-interest rate environment. I wouldn’t be investing in P2P loans unless I thought it’s a simple, viable, and profitable asset class, with a great future ahead.

In any case, I’m critically aware of the industry risks, frauds, and lack of regulation that make it almost impossible for any institutional investor to add this asset into their portfolios. Only with a constant vigilance and investment diligence, following a work ethic far from the passive storytelling the entire industry is sharing, and through the individual courage of P2P whistleblowers we will be able to avoid the criminals that destroy the community trust.

Sources

#1 SavingsForFreedom Portfolio

#2 Better than Before an Honest Look at my Blogger Path for Financial Maturity

#3 We Need More P2P Whistleblowers

#4 7 Lessons to Protect Yourself from P2P Scams


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