February 2019 was a good month for my portfolio. Unrealized gains in the stock market contributed most to our gains. At the same time, companies in Belgium started sending out tax statements, so we’re getting a pretty good idea of what our tax return will look like. Keep in mind, that you shouldn’t chase tax breaks blindly, at least not in Belgium. Generally there is always a catch, which requires you to spend money first.
While most people go on a spending spree with their tax return, we choose again to reinvest the amount for our future.
I’m moving all my money back to the EUR currency as the exchange rates on the Mintos platform are a bit too expensive for the casual investments that appear. I’m still hoping Mintos would encourage loan originators to offer loans in their native currencies or at least closest to the originating currency. At the moment it is clear that loan originators are withdrawing from the Georgian Lari and Russian Rubble.
We’re also getting closer to a situation we’re cash drag is becoming a reality at Mintos. Some investors are getting anxious and are exiting Mintos. The secondary market keeps growing, and the discounts are increasing. For this reason, I’ve decided to temporarily disable my primary market auto investment profiles to pick-up loans from the secondary market with a discount of 0.2% or more and a maximum term of 24 months. As I have indicated in the past, capital gains are not taxed in Belgium, so secondary market discounts are a blessing.
An Alibaba-backed loan originator named ‘Akulaku’ joined Mintos. They are primarily active in South East Asia. After what happened in the peer to peer lending industry in China, I can understand that people aren’t going to be too happy about loan originators from this region.
Cashback campaigns have returned for FIREOF. The cashback didn’t outweigh the low interest rates of 6-8% offered and the bad performance of the loan originator’s loan statistics.
Reducing our exposure to PeerBerry
We’re reducing our portfolio exposure to PeerBerry for the time being.
The majority of the loans offered on the platform are pay day loans. If you like this, then PeerBerry may be a good platform for you. I haven’t made any investments in the new ‘Leasing’ loans yet. I felt like a commitment of longer than 1 year was a little bit too long.
We found that the auto investment tool was a bit slow in picking up loans from the market. We have reached out to PeerBerry Support, and they told us there were too many investors. However, this has caused our returns to drop significantly, which is also partially due to the nature of mostly short-term loans being offered on the platform. If your money is sitting idle in your account, it isn’t earning you anything either.
Near the end of February, an e-mail was sent out that a new CEO is in charge, Arunas Lekavicius. On the right is an extract of the official PeerBerry newsletter which was sent out.
Grupeer is catching up with Mintos
Grupeer is another marketplace like Mintos located in Riga, Latvia. Investors have experienced some cash drag in the past few months. But recently things turned around when they introduced several new loan originators coming from Mintos, as well as development projects.
From February 14 2019 till February 28 2019, you could participate in a raffle to win 100 EUR (7 winners) if you invest at least 100 EUR in one of Primo Invest’s development projects. Grupeer is also more frequently introducing cashback campaigns, if you want to benefit from these campaigns, I suggest you sign up quickly.
Grupeer makes a nice addition to your peer to peer lending portfolio. There haven’t been any defaults on the platform yet. Returns also seem quite stable, so I am quite satisfied with Grupeer. These days, you can mostly expect to pick up loans with interest rates of 13% to 14%.
One of my first investments for a construction of ‘Modern Slowfood Street Market’ has been successfully paid of. I received an e-mail with the following explanation of what was materialized with the loan:
First of all, our team wishes to thank you for supporting the Construction of Modern “Slowfood” Street Market project, which has recently ended and successfully repaid all the interest and principal to investors. Your funding helped to advance the project in its development, which is highly appreciated by the borrower. We met with the representatives of SIA “Zelta Jumts and discussed the progress as well as their future expectations.
Unfortunately the construction itself has not started yet, as the previous technical project was not ultimately approved and coordinated by Riga Council of Monuments. As a result, a full redesign of the project was required. Now that the company has finalized the arrangements with the authorities and has proven to be a reliable borrower, we are currently at the final stage of negotiations with the project owners. We plan to present the redesigned project on our platform later in March. More details will follow once it is published. Stay tuned.
We plan on slowly increasing our exposure to Envestio in the coming months, as the platform seems to have a solid performance for the last 3 months. Below is an overview of our investments at Envestio.
CrowdEstate & BulkEstate
No update for these platforms yet as they have a single bullet payment at the end of the term.
I bought Premier Health’s stock (FRA:6PH) in the beginning of February for 0.588 EUR per share. I am currently keeping 1000 shares in my portfolio. So far the returns seem promising having unrealized gains of 13.8% before tax and commission. It doesn’t seem like its growth is going to stop here any time soon, but with possible daily swings of 5-10% it might be interesting to hop on the train when the stock falls 5%