P2P investing market has been shaken by recent events. Grupeer and me personally, is being asked a lot of questions about our company, our people, our projects and our vision of the P2P investing industry. Of course, Grupeer is sad to watch how the trust deteriorate, however it is normal that market undergoes corrections from time to time. We are confident in our business model and in our due diligence processes, but we have learnt an important lesson during these turbulent times- the investors’ trust is one of the most important assets for a P2P investment platform.
We realized that a lot of clients do not have enough information about Grupeer and our business practices to be confident in our company. We decided to change that- this year Grupeer will increase transparency and we proclaim 2020 the transparency year! We are going to publish more information about Grupeer, our loan originators and our projects, and we hope that the rest of the industry will do the same to increase investors’confidence (we going to call it transPEERancy).
This has happened before
P2P industry is a relatively new branch of alternative finance. The first ever platform was founded in the UK in 2005. As fifteen years has passed, we have reached a certain popularity of P2P platforms: more and more people discovered the empowering possibilities of investing and on the other hand, more platforms have entered the market, especially during the last year.
As with many investment products, there was an overwhelming demand from clients and the market has shown signs of overheating. Among the worrying signs that we were witnessing were- very high interest rates, lack of due diligence, questionable projects by some platforms were collecting large sums in a record period of time.
We are really sad that some investors have incurred losses, however, this is the sign of P2P investment market getting more mature. When the new investment opportunity arises- there are several stages that almost every investment product goes through. The financial markets are very tied up with psychological effects in this sense.
It all starts with optimism, enthusiasm, exuberance. The danger kicks in when euphoria stage begins. During this phase people are happy getting high returns and are forgetting about the risks that they might bear. This happened with stocks of the tech companies, during the dotcom bubble, with real estate during the great recession, and even in crypto space. The bull market is often followed by the anxiety, denial and panic.
The most important thing to bear in mind that the corrections are normal and the panic is not a solution to a problem. The turbulence in the financial markets often cleans up the industry from dishonest or unprofessional participants. The lesson for investors is to choose your P2P investment platform more carefully, do a prior research about the company, and invest with established platforms.
Coming up to our 3rd Bday
Grupeer platform went live in February 2017, so next month we will be celebrating our 3rd birthday. I am really proud of what we have achieved, but there is still a massive amount of work to be done. We are constantly listening to our investors, some of them send us suggestions via email, via personal meeting and other means. We do implement the suggestions, as the customer is central pillar of our business model. Some changes are easy to implement and some require a lot of human and technological resources.
In the near future our new clients, will experience improved registration process; to increase our AML compliance we are updating our KYC process; The investors’cabinet is going to be more user-friendly and more informative. All these changes are introduced very soon and were done keeping clients’ wishes in mind.
Some other projects, like the long-awaited Secondary Market is a much more complex work-flow. We are actively working on it, the dedicated project manager is collaborating with the IT, legal, and financial departments to bring Secondary Market to life in the near future. We realize that some clients have a short-time horizon for their investing needs, so we are offering many short-term deals (2-6 months).
During the past three years Grupeer didn’t just grow in terms of business, our team grew from few people to forty great professionals. All our teammates are working hard to ensure the impeccable service and attractive product. Anyone who is interested in Grupeer and wants to meet our team, is welcome to our office, which is located in beautiful Art Nouveau district in Riga. In the near future you will see our team on the Grupeer website.
Licensing & Regulation
Currently, the P2P investments industry does not have a dedicated regulation. We are looking forward for the financial authorities in the European Union to design the proper framework, which P2P companies will follow. This will make the work of platforms more efficient and will protect the investors. We are open to representing the interest of P2P investment industry together with other market participants.
Until the P2P regulation is not designed, we explore our options. We have moved our legal entity to Ireland last year with hope to get the support from Irish authorities, as they are promoting the development of different Fintechs. Also, we explore the licence possibilities in other European jurisdictions, which would suit the work of Grupeer.
We understand that the transparency of Grupeer means the transparency of our loan originators too. The 2019 financial statements are planned to be published on the Grupeer website, when they are filed with the respective authorities. Moreover, we have arranged the visits to our development projects with several respectful bloggers. The trips to see our development projects will take in March and June, and will include the interviews with loan originators and real estate developers. So, stay tuned!
Grupeer’s mission from day one was to bring our investors great returns with lowest risk possible. We stick to this goal, but also will work towards strengthening the industry as a whole. We are passionate about the P2P investing; we love how it makes investing accessible to everyone and we want to get stronger this year.
Alla Kisika, co-founder of Grupeer.