A GROWING number of peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders currently face a quandary: should they market their Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISAs) outside of ISA season or simply bide their time?
The IFISA market has grown exponentially over the past 12 months, as P2P platforms received regulatory approval to become ISA managers following a raft of delays. Many firms are currently devising marketing strategies for this new type of ISA, which means deciding whether to promote the product outside of ISA season.
ArchOver, which launched its IFISA in May, plans to market its product sooner rather than later. Chief executive Angus Dent highlights two key reasons for promoting the tax wrapper outside of ISA season.
“Firstly, a lot of people are getting shockingly low returns on their ISAs. They can transfer those ISAs into the IFISA at any time. We have seen quite heavy demand from people transferring in their existing IFISA or making them into IFISAs.
“Secondly, there is general brand awareness. Telling people that we are still here, we have an IFISA and they should consider us when they are thinking about where to place their ISA money,” Dent explained.
Jordan Stodart, co-founder of Orca Money, agrees. Now that more IFISAs are available, he suspects the tax-free benefits may encourage savers to invest in P2P for the first time – whether it is ISA season or not.
Read more: Investors dumping cash ISAs for IFISAs
“For P2P platforms, the IFISA is a great tool to convert users into investors, any time of the year,” he added.
So, for companies that are looking to market a new IFISA – what is the best strategy?
The term “Innovative Finance ISA” attracts close to 2,000 searches per month on Google, Stodart notes, so pay-per-click advertising should remain a key marketing channel.
Educating savers about how IFISAs work represents a key component of The Barbican Group’s marketing strategy, alongside digital marketing and PR. Barbican launched its IFISA in July, which invests in specialist care homes.
“This new market was launched in April 2016, so a lot of effort needs to go into educating people on the industry as a whole,” explained Gina Canny, Barbican’s operations director.
For the time being, it seems like there is no wrong time to market an IFISA – at least until the novelty of the new investment product wears off.