Last Updated on 4th September 2020 by Mark
Honest 8%+ Annual Returns Available Lending On Secured Assets Like Rolex Watches And Diamond Rings! – Unbolted Review
My Lending Experiences & Actual Investment Returns Published Monthly Below.
What is Unbolted?
Unbolted P2P is a UK Peer to Peer lender. Providing pawn shop-style loans on everything from gold jewelry and Rolex watches to diamond rings and imported art.
Offering upwards of 8% annual return on investment. Unbolted have a unique spin on Peer to Peer lending. Capital is loaned against various Items which are sent to Unbolted and stored at their premises as asset security.
Generally smaller, valuable items such as gold or diamonds which are easy to sell fast. This means when loans default, capital can be recovered very quickly.
Unbolted also lend against larger, more valuable items such as collector cars. However these types of items tend to be the exception rather than the rule. They have also started providing bridging and small business loans secured by business assets and Director guarantees.
My Experience With Unbolted So Far
My experience with Unbolted was mixed at first because I had trouble lending out a lot of capital because Unbolted are very popular, so they have a lot of investors.
Now I’ve learned how to invest with them, and their loan book has grown, it’s has been much better. Over the course of the last year, capital is being lent out much faster. I have also been experimenting with the Unbolted auto-invest settings. It appears that setting auto-invest amounts much higher than required can help get invested much faster. It could still take a little time to get a significant amount of capital lent out, however because of the uniqueness and short term nature of Unbolted’s loans, personally I think it’s well worth the wait.
Unbolted are still humming along and doing very well. Even better than before it seems. I keep getting repayments as agreed and defaulted items are still being sold. As I had thought, Unbolted are one of the companies that are benefiting from the COVID 19 situation.
Unbolted offer pawnshop style loans to the general public with very liquid assets. These types of assets can be sold very quickly upon default. Pawnshops typically do better in economic downturns than they do in times of prosperity as people will borrow against personal assets when they are unable to get an unsecured personal loans. LTV’s are usually very low as defaults can be high, so pawnshops need to make sure they can always recoup capital. I have been lending with Unbolted for a couple of years now, and although there have been many defaults, assets have always sold at more than the outstanding loan principle and I have always been paid back both principle and interest very quickly. Loans are short to medium term in nature so a complete exit can be had by turning off auto-invest within 3 to 12 months.
My Unbolted Strategy.
I’ll keep investing with Unbolted as normal as I expect them to be one of the most lucrative investments throughout a recession. Still averaging around 8% returns so no complaints here.
The Obvious Investor – Easy-Info Table© – Unbolted Review
Overall Rating*: (4.2 / 5)
Who can invest: Loan Currencies: £
Estimated Return: 6% to 9.8%
My Actual Return
My Calculated XIRR: 8.14%
Risk Rating*: 4/10 - Low to Medium
Early Exit: No.
Min. Investment: £5
Deposit Funds: By bank transfer. Usually takes 24 - 48 hours for BACS.
Can be same day for Faster payments.
Manual Invest: Yes
Lending To: Agreements directly with borrowers
Loan Types: Pawn Shop Loans. Bridging Loans.
Pre-Auction Financing. Small Business Loans.
Default Rates: Not Published.
Loans Amortize: No.
Loan Security: Yes, some. Pawn Shop Items with Good LTV's (<75%).
Business loans secured by assets or
Provision Fund: Yes. Discretionary Gold Provision Fund and Provision Trust.
Time to Invest: Medium depending on capital amount.
Time to Mange: None (Auto-Invest).
Lender Fees: No.
Payments Received: Interest and Capital Received Monthly.
Amount Lent: £18m +
Number of Investors: Not Published.
Loan/Dflt Stats: Not Published.
Regulated: Yes: FCA
Location: London, UK
Launched: November 2014
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0203 5671300 (UK)
Cashback**: No Current Offers
Learn More >>.
How to Sign Up**: Sign Up Here!
Unbolted Review – Overview
Unbolted’s Peer to Peer business was launched in November 2014 in London UK.
Unbolted do not publish their lending figures as far as amounts lent out. So I am unable to publish that information for this lender.
Their last filed financial accounts are publicly available from Companies House. Balance sheet for 2017 below.
They gained FCA permissions in June, 2017.
It’s important to note that the FCA is not the same as the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme), so capital is not protected as it would be in a bank.
Opening an account with Unbolted is fairly easy. Just the usual ID and anti-money laundering checks. If they can verify you though one of the UK’s credit agencies, you may be approved immediately. If not, you may need to send them a copy of your passport or driving license, and a utility bill or bank statement.
Any resident of the UK who is 18 years old or over can signup with Unbolted if they can pass the ID checks & anti-money laundering checks.
A UK bank account is also required to signup.
Deposits & Withdrawals
Deposits and withdrawals are made by bank transfer from a UK bank.
Typically deposits show up in your account the same or next working day.
Withdrawals can typically take 1 – 2 business days.
The deposit and withdrawal screens are very simple.
Just Unbolted bank details for transfer in, and amount for transfer out.
Note: there is no confirmation after the withdrawal screen. Hit submit and it’s happening.
Time to Become Invested – Unbolted Review
Unbolted has both auto-invest and manual-invest accounts.
In the manual-invest accounts, it’s very difficult to get good diversification as the loans are taken very quickly by manual investors, and there are not many of them.
Auto-lend is what most investors do I believe, so I just get in line with everyone else and let the auto-invest do it’s job.
Capital has been getting lent out much faster recently with auto-invest, so I think it’s a good option.
Who are we lending to?
Unbolted is a true Peer to Peer Platform.
Lenders are lending directly to borrowers who are typically consumers with assets to pawn, or small to medium size British businesses (bridging loans against business assets are available).
Loan agreements are directly between the lender and the borrower. Unbolted just acts as a middle man, managing loans, payments and debt collection etc.
Loan Security – Unbolted Review
Unbolted provide pawn shop-style loans secured with assets, typically with LTV’s of less than 75%. Gold, jewelry, art, antiques, pretty much anything that would historically have been taken to a pawn shop. The benefit to these types of loans is they are very easy to sell and retrieve capital on. I’ve had several loans default over the last couple of years and literally they are sold and the revenue back in my account with in days. Zero losses so far which is really good.
They also provide Sale Advance Loans, where they loan up to 50% of an items reserve auction value, Bid Now – Pay Later Loans, and business loans secured by company stock and/or Director personal guarantees:
Here is a list of a few of my current loans:
As you drill down into the loan information, it is easy to see the details on each individual loans.
Unfortunately, that is all of the information available on the asset.
No pictures or further information, so even if you were an expert on asset valuation, it would be difficult to make educated lending decisions in the manual lending account.
Personally I just use the auto-invest account and make sure the capital is well diversified. I trust Unbloted after dealing with them for a couple of years. They really do know what they’re doing with these types of loans.
Amortization – Unbolted Review
Most of Unbolted’s loans do not amortize, as the loan terms are short (3 – 12 months typically).
Capital and interest are paid back at the end of the loan term, or the loans are sometimes renewed for another period.
You can see on the screenshot below, both principle and interest are being repaid at the end of the loans.
Selling Loans and Withdrawing Capital – Unbolted Review
There is no early exit available with Unbolted loans, so once you make an investment, you are in for the duration.
Loans are typically 3 to 12 months though so you should be able to get most of your capital out within that time period if you set your auto-reinvest option to “off”.
Auto-Invest loans are diversified automatically when you initially invest with Unbolted.
Capital is spread between available loans in each loan portfolio.
In the auto-invest section of the website, you can set the amounts you want to invest in any single loan, and loan type.
As you can see from the screenshot below, I have my investment set to £25. That doesn’t mean £25 is the amount that will be lent, it is the maximum.
I find that typically a much lower amount per loan gets allocated out, so here you can see why it has been difficult to get much money lent.
There is a little trick I came across to help with this. If you set the amounts to a much larger value than you really want lending out, I find that a larger amount gets put into each loan. I have my setting now at £1000 per loan. It increases the amounts lent out on each loan but it never gets close to the £1000 number. Be aware though, it technically could put the whole £1000 into a single loan, so that is a risk if you use this tactic. Not that I think that would be a terrible thing as loan recoveries are very fast and always cover the amount loaned in my experience.
These where my previous settings:
And these are my current settings which seem to be working well. You’ll note I only put £5 into “Bespoke Loans”, that’s because most of them don’t have provision fund protection so I don’t want to get too much lent out with one of those. They are generally safe, but I’m not comfortable putting too much money into a single loan. See next section for a more detailed explanation.
As you can see in the screenshots above, there are 2 types of provision fund with Unbolted.
The first is a gold trust fund which protects lenders against a possible fall in the price of a gold-based asset such as jewelry or gold watches.
The second provision fund is called the “Provision Trust” and typically covers regular non-gold pawn type items.
Bespoke loans are typically business type bridging loans, or auction financing loans are these are not covered by a provision fund but are usually secured by assets with a reasonable LTV.
On the downside, it’s important to note that both of these provision funds are discretionary, meaning it is Unbolted’s decision as to if the funds should pay out or not.
So getting your capital back from a default is not guaranteed, even if it is covered by the funds. That being said, my experience has been that the sale amount of the defaulted item always covers the outstanding amount including interest.
Tax Free Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – Unbolted ISA
Unbolted offer an IFISA (Innovative Finance ISA) for UK residents enabling potential tax free investments for Peer to Peer lenders. Read more about ISA’s here.
Website – Unbolted Review
Unbolted’s website is very basic and easy to use.
It really only gives a few options. Buy manual loans, or set auto-lend options. Add or withdraw funds.
Frankly it’s one of the less-impressive interfaces, but it does the job just fine. For 8%+ returns I can deal with a basic website.
The screenshots shown previously in the review, plus the one below are pretty much all that there are, so at least you won’t get lost 🙂
Summary – Unbolted Review
Overall I think Unbolted are a great option for diversification into unique assets. Lending on pawn items that are easy to sell upon default has its place when you have loans on property that can take months or years to sell if defaulted. Unbolted have a really good business in this area and they know what they are doing with these types of loans.
I keep adding more and more capital to my Unbolted account as I am able to get it lent out. The good news is that lately Unbolted’s loan book has been growing so getting larger amounts of capital lent out is getting easier.
Thumbs Up Points for Unbolted
Good Returns – returns of 6% – 10% on secured, easily salable assets with provision funds is certainly nothing to sniff at. Considering some larger lenders are offering only 5% on non-secured assets, with no provision fund (cough Zopa).
Easily Salable Assets – secured with good loan-to-value numbers, which means that in the event of a default investors should be able to recover most of their investment relativity quickly.
Auto-Invest – I really don’t see any other way to invest with Unbolted, and once you’re invested, it really is a hands-off investment.
Diversification – with the auto-invest account, Unbolted does a good job of spreading your investment over as many loans as possible based on your lending settings.
Low minimum investment – The minimum investment and you can put in to any loan type is £5, so if you don’t have a lot of money to lend, you can still invest with Unbolted.
Good Default Recovery – Unbolted have a good history of recovering on defaults, which is good to know when things go bad.
Provision funds – Gold & Provision Trust funds cover many of the loans, so when defaults occur, it shouldn’t affect your account too much, however they are discretionary.
Financial Conduct Authority – (FCA) Regulated.
Unbolted ISA (IFISA) – tax free savings account available for UK investors – Unbolted ISA
Thumbs Down Points for Unbolted
Smaller Company – with shorter track record, launched in 2014, Unbolted haven’t had to deal with a financial crisis yet, so we won’t know how they fair until the next one. They do seem to be sticking with what they know though so hopefully they will prevail.
No Early Exit – No secondary market to sell loans, so once you invest, you’re in for the duration. Most loans are for 6 months or less though, so it’s not too long to wait to get your capital back.
Cash Drag – larger sums can take a long time to become invested, so cash can sit un-lent making no returns for days or weeks. My tip about setting investment values earlier can help with this though.
Asset Information – not much information at all on the assets you’re lending on, making manual investing even more difficult.
Discretionary Provision Funds – which means there is no guarantee of a payout when default occurs. Management decides when the funds pay out.
Basic Website – although easy to use, the Unbolted website doesn’t give much versatility for choosing loans and automating investments.
Risk Factor – 4/10 – Medium
Is Unbolted Safe? I consider Unbolted to be in the low to middle area of the risk scale.
Even though Unbolted are a smaller company, loans are secured with easily salable assets at very low LTV’s. I’ve been lending with Unbloted for almost 2 years now. I’ve seen many defaulted items, but I have yet to lose a penny.
Who Can Invest with Unbolted
UK residents with a U.K. bank account can invest with Unbolted. Contact Unbolted for further information.
Unbolted Cashback Offers & Signup Links**
No cashback available at this time.
Similar Lenders to Unbolted
Unbolted Intro Video
Who Are the Best Peer to Peer Lenders In An Economic Downturn? Would You Like A Copy of the Spreadsheet I Use for Tracking P2P Lenders? Disclaimers: * My opinions, reviews, star ratings and risk ratings are based on my personal investing experience with the company being reviewed. These ratings are personal opinions and are subjective. You should do your own research before investing any capital and not base investments solely on the opinions published on this site. ** Some of the links on this website are affiliate referral links. When you click on these links, I can sometimes receive a commission, at absolutely no cost to you. This helps me to continue to offer new reviews and monthly portfolio updates here on my website. I don’t receive commissions from all lenders and it has no effect on my ongoing opinions on lenders. Income on my investments and capital preservation are my main motivations. Platforms reviewed on this website I am currently investing with, or I have invested with in the past. You can see with full transparency on my Lending Returns page which lenders I am invested with (or have previously been invested with) at any point in time. I am not paid a fee by any of the companies to write reviews, so the reviews are unbiased and purely based on my own personal experiences. Please read my full website Disclaimer before making investment decisions.
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* My opinions, reviews, star ratings and risk ratings are based on my personal investing experience with the company being reviewed. These ratings are personal opinions and are subjective. You should do your own research before investing any capital and not base investments solely on the opinions published on this site.
** Some of the links on this website are affiliate referral links. When you click on these links, I can sometimes receive a commission, at absolutely no cost to you. This helps me to continue to offer new reviews and monthly portfolio updates here on my website. I don’t receive commissions from all lenders and it has no effect on my ongoing opinions on lenders. Income on my investments and capital preservation are my main motivations.
Platforms reviewed on this website I am currently investing with, or I have invested with in the past. You can see with full transparency on my Lending Returns page which lenders I am invested with (or have previously been invested with) at any point in time. I am not paid a fee by any of the companies to write reviews, so the reviews are unbiased and purely based on my own personal experiences.
Please read my full website Disclaimer before making investment decisions.