There is one thing we value more than anything, and it’s the endless loyalty of our investor community. Believe it or not, but 40% of our investors have been investing with us for over a year. Lars Wrobbel has been with us even longer than that, and he’s seen our platform evolve ever since its beginnings, so he’s definitely got an opinion worth listening to.
Lars is no ordinary investor, he’s a great P2P enthusiast and he manages huge community of German investors under the name of Passives Einkommen mit P2P Privatkrediten. This is what he has to say about VIAINVEST and the scene of alternative finance in the Baltics.
When and how did P2P catch your attention? Now it is pretty easy to find information about P2P because of efforts of numerous bloggers and opinion leaders, but how did you end up knowing this industry inside out?
I heard about it in 2014 when I saw a video about the German P2P platform Auxmoney on the YouTube channel of my business partner Kolja Barghoorn. A short time later I was invested. At that time I didn’t know any foreign P2P platforms.
What are your as investor’s expectations when investing with P2P platforms?
I would like to have a platform on which I can invest automatically. I’m not only an investor, but also an entrepreneur and don’t have the time to constantly take care of my investment. That’s what the platform has to do. As secure as possible, of course.
What factors besides interest rate and company’s financial indicators may attract your attention to a particular platform?
There are two things that are important to me. 1. the communication with a platform. Only through good communication does a P2P platform build a relationship with the investor and of course also with bloggers. 2. The team. Because of my visits to the P2P platforms, I realized how important it is to know if there is a good team behind the platforms or not.
Why do you think Latvia and Baltics in general have become the center of P2P in continental Europe?
Currently, due to a lack of regulation, it seems to be much easier to operate from there than from e.g. Germany.
In addition, the Baltic states are noticing an increasing acceleration of digitisation, which favours business models such as P2P platforms and others.
What benefits do Latvian P2P platforms provide to investors in comparison with local German platforms?
German platforms have a very low return for the high risk that one takes with an investment. With the largest German platform Auxmoney, for example, I am at 3% return after 5 years. Is the risk worth it? Probably not. In addition, their hands are tied when it comes to introducing new tools due to the regulations. I can better invest a standard index fund at the stock market with an yearly average yield of 6 – 7% than in platforms in Germany.
The Latvian platforms, on the other hand, seem to operate much more freely. The investment is also easier to plan thanks to the Buyback Guarantee.
You have been investing with VIAINVEST for more than 2 years. What’s your experience so far?
In the beginning, the platform needed a lot of getting used to. Over time, however, it has developed and taken many of the investors’ wishes to heart. For me, VIAINVEST is currently one of the top platforms in the Baltic States alongside Mintos, Bondora and Estateguru.
Can you name one superpower VIAINVEST has, if compared to other platforms?
Fast implementation of investor needs.
How and in which areas should we, as a platform, improve?
You still have some areas where you withhold the tax. This reduces the yield and increases the effort for the investors to get back this money. I know you are on the right track, but I also hope that no more Withholding Tax will be withheld soon.
As a respected opinion leader in P2P, would you suggest your community trying out VIAINVEST? If yes, why should they trust their funds to us?
Yes, and I’ve already done it. VIAINVEST is one of the most transparent platforms, e.g. by publishing regular annual reports. It also belongs to the VIA SMS Group, which has many years of experience in the lending business throughout Europe. In addition, I have excellent contact with the team and trust that the platform will develop in the right direction.
Why would you advise young people to choose P2P investments instead of traditional bank products?
In fact, I would recommend both. One does not exclude the other. Young people in particular have to gain experience in several areas in order to form their own opinions later.