Welcome to Lendermarket stars, where we bring you the latest news and the greatest insights from industry enthusiasts. This time, we had the pleasure to discuss with Enqome – the personal finance and investing blog. Read on to build your knowledge and let us know what you think in the comments!
Hello, it’s a pleasure to have you on the Lendermarket Stars blog series, let’s start by getting to know you a bit better, tell us about your background and how you started with Enqome.
First, I want to express my sincerest gratitude for the opportunity to be featured on the Lendermarket Stars blog. I have been interested in finance topics since I was a teenager. This interest only got stronger while doing my finance degree with a focus on banking. However, investing was the topic that really sparked my interest.
As a result, I moved from banking to asset management where I was able to dive deep into the world of investing, on the traditional liquid side as well as the illiquid alternative side.
While I enjoy working with professional investors, I was always surprised by how little most people know about investing, even when talking to friends and family. I believe that it is crucial to understand investing and how much it can benefit someone’s life – either to help you reach your dreams or to feel secure and independent financially.
Thus, I have founded Enqome, an educational platform to help you navigate your finances, ranging from personal banking, and loans to the whole world of investing. We offer explanations, discuss key topics and provide independent reviews of various financial products or solutions.
What were your goals when you started your investment journey and have they changed after the recent global events?
When I started Enqome, my main goal was to help everyone interested in investing and personal banking to master their own finances. I want to support them on their own journey, by providing articles, guides and reviews that offer really objective and valuable content.
In my opinion, there are only a few websites that really know what they are talking about and are not biased.
This goal has not changed over the recent global events. However, they have confirmed what I already believe in. Especially in uncertain times, it is important to be well-diversified and to know your finances are well organized. If you know you have a well-thought investment strategy spread over various asset classes, you can navigate times of crisis much more easily, ideally without sleepless nights.
How can investors benefit from reading your blog and learning about P2P through your website?
I believe that P2P lending offers valuable investment opportunities as part of a well-diversified portfolio. Many people still think P2P lending is not a serious asset class that is very risky. Certainly, P2P lending does not come without risk, but it has become an established investment possibility with attractive returns.
We have created a comprehensive guide for investing in P2P loans that makes it as easy as possible to start investing. We have also independently reviewed over 15 P2P platforms in Europe, scoring them based on safety, returns, risk and features.
I believe that someone who is new to the topic of P2P lending will vastly benefit from our guides and articles. But also someone looking for an additional platform to invest in will find an independent option and perhaps new ideas.
In your opinion, what steps should investors follow to choose a trustful P2P platform?
For me, the safety of a platform and the investments, the returns you get for the risk you take, and the features offered are most important.
Ideally, a platform is regulated by an official financial authority and is pretty transparent. If annual reports and statistics are available, that helps to build trust. Also, if a platform has been operating for several years and managed to offer a large loan volume is also a good sign.
The offered returns should match the risks investors take. Especially when returns are very low or very high, investors should evaluate carefully whether the platform is worth investing in. I usually also point out that recognizing red flags are essential. If there are any issues communicated in the press, by the regulator or investors, you should be careful.
As P2P platforms are fully digital, features are critical to making an investor’s life as easy as possible. Thus, buyback obligations, secondary markets, auto-invest functions and tax reports should be important to investors.
What has been the biggest learning in your journey to financial freedom?
“If you do not take care of your finances yourself, you will never be independent.” You may have family members, a partner or paid advisor to take care of your finances, but you will always have to rely on this person to help you and make decisions for you. You need to understand your finances to make superb decisions.
And I believe it does not need to be difficult if you have a great source of content and like-minded people to discuss ideas and questions you might have during your own journey towards financial freedom.
How do you see the future of P2P Lending in Europe?
2022 has been tough for P2P lending in Europe. Many P2P platforms are based in Eastern Europe and the war in Ukraine increased the uncertainty a lot. A few platforms were suffering from credit defaults or delays.
But a big crash of the P2P market as some had forecasted did not happen. Platforms were able to navigate these uncertain times. I believe that this has strengthened the P2P lending market and will lead to further growth in the future.
What features are a must for you when starting to invest in a new platform?
For me, a really user-friendly auto investment, a secondary market (especially with longer-dated loans) and tax reports are important.
Buyback guarantees or obligations are also important, but they are only as good as the company providing these guarantees. If a loan originator gets into financial difficulties, they might not be worth much. So, I’m always cautious there.
An app is useful, but as I do not log in daily (which I would not recommend to investors), it is not a must-have for me.
What is your advice for beginners on how to invest?
Beginners should get to know the basics of P2P lending. It is not that complicated. In the beginning, I would recommend spreading a smaller amount of your available capital over three platforms to gain some experience.
Once you fully understand the key characteristics of investing in P2P loans and gained experience, you can increase the investment amount. I would always recommend spreading investments over 5–8 platforms.
Our last interviewee left a question for you: What, in your opinion, defines a transparent P2P lending platform?
Firstly, the website of the platform should be transparent. I get really annoyed when I cannot find things on a website. I think detailed statistics, annual reports and the ownership/team of the platform should be available easily.
Secondly, there should be detailed information about the loans and loan originators that are offered.
Thirdly, I believe all platforms should strive for regulation via a financial authority.
And last but not least, in order to continue with this chain, leave a question for our next interviewee to answer!
Do you think regulation or being a regulated platform will play a major role going forward?
Do you want to start investing in P2P by yourself? Check investing opportunities in Lendermarket.