Lender Review Speaks for Rebs Success

Interview with Brian Johnson, successful rebuildingsociety.com lender

Hello Brian, how did you first find out about Rebs?

I was becoming interested in P2P and opened some accounts with Funding Circle, Zopa and Ratesetter, when I came across an advert for a Rebs breakfast seminar in Hunslet, which I decided to attend

What made you decide to invest?

I was impressed by the approach set out at the seminar, especially the understanding of the issues faced by new, young and small businesses, and the hope that Rebs could play a part in stimulating local and regional economic revival. The fact the Rebs is Leeds based was another big plus for this proud Yorkshireman! Also, Dan, Kylie and other staff happily devoted time to answering questions well into the morning, as a result of which I decided to open an account.

How much do you have on the platform at any one time?

Prefer not to say, but not so much that a total or partial loss would cause me financial difficulties. This applies to all my investments.

What’s your average return?

As I mentioned in my Trustpilot review, Rebs and many longer term investors went through a period of relatively high losses as a significant proportion of businesses defaulted. After tighter vetting and more rigorous enforcement processes- and a more cautious spread of investments on my part, including in the Secondary Market – my overall return is recovering. So in broad terms, average returns have gone from 13-14% to a low of 6.9%, now recovering to about 9%, and my target is 10 -12%, probably nearer to 10%. Inspite of the set backs and my withdrawing some money, these interest rates, compounded through reinvestment have resulted in the amount in the account having more than doubled.

What other platforms do you invest on? Could you provide info on the returns from them compared to rebs? Which are the best?

Funding Circle (5.9%),  Zopa (4.1 – 4.3%), Ratesetter (circa 4.4%). So Rebs is still returning a significantly higher rate. (around 9%) And now, of course, it is the only site which enables – nay, encourages – you to be an active investor, and does so in a pretty straightforward way.

In fact I have found Rebs to have been superior to Funding Circle in terms of information available to active investors in all phases of the investment cycle (initial information, updates, news of financial difficulties with individual investments, involvement in decisions over recovery actions, and in relation to returns and income). The relationship with Funding Circle always felt (indeed feels even more so) a bit remote, cold, even ‘robotic’

As I indicated in my Trustpilot review, one of the pleasures of Rebs is to be able help borrowers, sometimes with advice, occasionally by doing business with them, and not infrequently through investors’ votes in relations to recovery action. I am pleased that in nearly every case relating to a clearly honest business that has hit unforeseen problems, investors take a positive and generous approach, allowing time for the business to recover. It is notable how many problems are linked to directors’ personal circumstances, as well as to issues like the late placing of a contract, late payments and the inevitable effects on cash flow.

I think Rebs and its investors’ inherent generosity of spirit might have been abused by some unscrupulous borrowers in the past, but this seems to have tightened up and investors now do take a dim view of the relatively few ‘chancers’ that we now encounter. It would be interesting to know how many Rebs investors have either been directors or owners of small businesses.

What advice would you give to someone considering investing on Rebs?

Join Rebs because you share its ethos and want to be an active investor, and through your input help smaller businesses, and the regions where they’re based, to prosper. Don’t invest more money that you can afford to lose and ‘don’t put all your investment eggs in one basket’. Don’t invest solely in the highest interest-returning borrowers, which usually have highest attendant risk. Mix it up a bit, including buying some investments on the Secondary Market where borrowers’ repayment records are obvious. Understand the power of compound interest combined with reinvestment. Focus on your net return (after losses) and your overall growth in capital invested (the product of compounded interest, reinvestment and time).

Any other insights?

No, I think that’s enough blether on my part for the moment!

Thank you very much indeed Brian! It’s a pleasure working with you.


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