ArchOver ISA Review

Overview

As part of the Hampden Group, a long established provider of business support services, ArchOver was founded in 2014 to provide funding to UK business in a ‘fair and innovative way’. Under the leadership of CEO, Angus Dent, and COO, Ian Anderson, the firm has facilitated £85 million of funding and is continuing to grow.

The big USP in this product IFISA is that the loans are secured through borrower revenues which have to go through accounts controlled by ArchOver before being handed back to the business.

Customer service

The company’s website is clear and easy to understand, despite a fairly complex product model. This is another platform that offers a personal dashboard through which investments can be monitored.

With a team of nearly 30 staff, there certainly enough people at ArchOver to deliver a solid customer service experience. With so many variants of their IFISA on offer, that’s a good thing.

On TrustPilot, ArchOver manages to secure four out of five stars, although a few unhappy customers report that, recently, loans ran into trouble. A spokesperson for ArchOver responded by saying that these bad loans are the first defaults on the platform in over four years of lending.

The stats

The ArchOver ISA

With ArchOver, lenders can browse the investment opportunities available to pick and choose which they think best suit their needs and will perform best, building their own portfolio along the way. Interestingly, the borrower has the opportunity to market themselves to the investor.

Once the total loan amount is replete, the investment opportunity is closed and, after a 14 day cooling-off period, the borrower is able to draw down the loan. From this point, the investor begins to earn interest.

Investor can pay in on a loan-by-loan basis in multiples of £1,000 for periods of between three and 36 months, or in increments of £250 via an automated Investment Plan over a 26 month period. Rates of return vary between 6% and 10% per annum based on the investment model chosen:

In each of these the rate of return increases proportionally with risk. So, for example, in the case of the SI IFISA, all the borrower’s invoices are insured against loss, while the SDA IFISA consists of highly risky, unsecured short term loans.

Security

All loans are reviewed by an in-house credit team before the details (including rate, term of loan, security type and company details) are uploaded. These are updated regularly on the online platform for investors to review.

ArchOver say they apply the most rigorous credit analysis processes in the industry. Borrower’s need to be trading for at least two years and have annual sales of £2 billion.

Most of the business loans lent by ArchOver are secured against invoices due to be paid by the borrower’s customers or similar assets. This is done by channelling borrower revenues through accounts controlled by ArchOver, before being passed onto the borrower.

This certainly gives ArchOver a lot of transparency when it comes to how the debtor’s company is performing financially. In the event that the borrower isn’t paid by its own debtors, the invoices are insured with 90% of the accounts receivables potentially recoverable – to cover the value of the loan.

Archover operated a loss in 2017, however, it is part of the Hampden Group which is a major firm with a long track record. With insurance assets of more than £2 billion, the parent company has sufficient capital to meet the day to day operations and regulatory requirements of the platform for the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

Archover’s IFISA product is interesting based on its approach to using accounts receivables as collateral, but a distinct a lack of information on bad debts does not inspire confidence. Four years, in some loans appear to be encountering choppy waters. Mind you, since the Hampden Group has already made a considerable investment in the company, it’s likely that should the firm run into financial difficulties in future, then there’s a guardian angel to help out.

Overall, however, these are complex products, requiring investors with the time and experience to analyse risk and select which loans perform best.

Originally Published: Thursday, October 25th, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

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