Peer-to-peer lending platform bosses have mixed views on how Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) inflows will perform this tax year.
David Bradley-Ward, chief executive of asset-backed lender Ablrate, said inflows on the platform since April were neither anything to “worry or to be excited about”, but he is reasonably optimistic for the rest of the tax year.
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“I think over the next few months we’ll see where we’re at and if people are investing or sitting on their current investments,” he said.
“But I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Daniel Rajkumar, founder and managing director of Rebuildingsociety, said that the business lender’s inflows dropped in March because of having fewer loans on the platform.
He put this down to the ongoing pandemic and being unable to compete with government-backed lending through emergency loan schemes.
Rajkumar was also optimistic that inflows will pick up during the rest of the tax year.
“I think it’ll be an OK year and come good,” he said.
“A lot of people were nervous about what to invest in, and the full effect of Covid-19 on the industry and businesses is still unknown.
“But we still have half of the year to go so I’m optimistic we will recover, and people will return and invest in IFISAs on our platform.”
However, Brian Bartaby, founder and chief executive of commercial property peer-to-peer lending platform Proplend, was more pessimistic.
He said that he saw a small spike of inflows in April, down to 70 per cent from that in 2019, although the platform receives subscriptions and transfers throughout the year.
Bartaby predicted IFISA inflows at the platform to be lower than that of the previous year due to the ongoing pandemic but highlighted that the product is still an attractive option for investors.
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“Inflows will be quieter given what’s going on in the world, but people are still looking for income and yield,” he said.
“Bank rates are down, ISA returns elsewhere are pretty poor across the board, government bonds offer low returns and people are worried about the stock market.
“IFISAs are still attractive and have a place for investors, but people are worried about putting money into them.”
HMRC data for the 2018/2019 tax year showed that the amount invested in IFISAs has increased while the number of account openings dropped.