Intelligent Partnership have found that the Alternative Finance industry needs to do much more to reach out to advisers.
Although 73% of the Alternative Finance providers IP surveyed stated that they were either already marketing to financial advisers, or planned to do so in the future, the vast majority of advisers were still unaware of key industry developments. Only 7% of advisers surveyed realised that Alternative Finance is now regulated by the FCA, and only 13% were aware that some platforms used contingency funds to protect investors from losses.
Guy Tolhurst, Managing Director of Intelligent Partnership commented: “When we asked platforms what they thought the biggest barriers that prevent advisers from investing in the sector were, the vast majority said that it was a lack of education and awareness – so the alternative finance industry knows that they have to do much more to successfully reach out to the adviser community”
With the new Innovative Finance ISA launching in April 2016, Alternative Finance is set to become increasingly popular among mainstream investors. According to the Future Trends in UK Banking, a report commissioned by Fiserv and compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), alternative finance could be worth £12.3 billion a year by 2020.
Daniel Kiernan commented: “In the peer to peer lending sector, we know that retail investors are interested in the potential of truly uncorrelated, near-cash investments that will beat the returns they can get on bank deposits. Being able to hold these investments in an ISA will be the icing on the cake, and advisers will find more and more of their clients will be exploring this area.”
John Goodall of peer to peer lender Landbay added “Peer-to-peer lending has become an innovative and accepted alternative to traditional savings and investment products. Very soon it will cease to be viewed as alternative finance, but instead viewed as mainstream.”
However, despite advisers advising on an estimated £590 billion, over a quarter (27%) of alternative finance platforms have no plan in place to engage advisers. Investing in this market is not easy for advisers. Kiernan continued: “For advisers, investing their clients’ money in individual opportunities, would be time consuming and difficult from a compliance perspective. At our recent alternative investment summit IFAs who wanted to invest in alternative finance were advised by industry experts such as Louise Beaumont of GLI Finance to start by investing in one of the specialist retail investment funds that have launched, or by using the platforms’ in-built automation to make investments according to their specified criteria.”
Geoff Miller from GLI Finance stated that “For those who are new to the sector it can be an extremely confusing picture, but it is important to understand the issues that need to be considered and then either do your homework or find a fund that can do it for you.”
Equity crowdfunding is seen as a much more risky proposition as it involves taking equity stakes in small or unproven companies, but this is a part of the Alternative Finance universe that is also maturing rapidly, with some platforms providing investors with opportunities to co-invest alongside experienced angels, access EIS and SEIS tax reliefs, utilise the services of professional fund managers and provide capital alongside AIM listings. James Codling of Venture Founders: “In the near future, demand from sophisticated investors will see the need for a model that bridges the gap between the less sophisticated crowdfunding approach and the more professional and mature Private Equity and Venture Capital markets”.
For advisers who have no knowledge of the Alternative Finance sector though, the message is simple. Tolhurst again: “Our surveys tell us that a lot of advisers don’t know much about alternative finance beyond the headlines in the mainstream press. Reading this CPD accredited report will be a quick and easy way to bring themselves up to speed. It will give them an understanding of the key issues and the differences between models like crowdfunding, peer to peer lending and invoice financing, even if they don’t feel ready to recommend clients invest.”
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.