The Anonymous Widower

Zopa Co-Founders Speak Out Against Fintech’s Peer-To-Peer Exit

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Financial News.

Read it, as it a cautionary tale about what happens to disruptive innovation.

Eventually, the big bad boys make sure you don’t disrupt their easy life.

Zopa has been part of my life for fourteen years and it did me well. Especially in the bad times and when I had a personal crisis.

I wrote Stability in Financial Systems in 2012, where I said this.

I have a strong feeling that Zopa, the peer-to-peer lender, is also a stable system. Other companies of the same type may well be too! but I am not as familiar with them as I am with Zopa.

Unfortunately, the decision makers in Zopa decided to become a bank, broke the stability and crashed the company.

Son of Zopa will arise!

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

Zopa Pulls Out Of P2P Consumer Lending As It Blames Cowboy Firms For ‘Damaging Customer Trust’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on City AM.

This is the first three paragraphs.

Peer-to-peer giant Zopa has started to inform customers it is closing down its P2P consumer investment division, transferring its loan portfolio to its relatively new bank unit.

In an email to customers, Natasha Wear, peer-to-peer CEO at Zopa, wrote that “after 16 years of peer-to-peer consumer investments at Zopa, we’ve taken the difficult decision to close this part of our business..

“To support this, Zopa Bank will be buying your entire loan portfolio at current face value without any of the fees you’d normally pay for a loan sale,” the email reads.

This is a very sad day.

I have been an investor in Zopa for fourteen years and it has done me well, returning four to five per cent before tax in that period. My first investment was the money, I received from the sale of C’s Porsche.

I also feel that since Giles Andrews ceased to be at the head of the company, Zopa rather lost its way.

Perhaps, their mathematical modelling wasn’t up to scratch.

But at least, I haven’t lost any money on my investment.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Finance, News | , | Leave a comment

Never Remove A Feature In A Computer Program

One of my golden rules in updating computing programs, is never to remove a feature however obscure it is. The reason is obvious, in that if the feature exists someone will find an extremely useful way to use it.

Here are two changes in other software systems that are annoying me at present.

The Windows 10 Photo Viewer

I use an SD card to capture images in my camera..

On my old laptop with Windows 7, if I was looking at a folder of images, I could scroll past the last image to the first and vice-versa, which was a very useful feature, when looking for an obscure image.

Windows 10 doesn’t have this feature and it is very annoying.

Zopa’s New System

I invest some of my savings in Zopa and use it as a high-interest one month-access deposit account in a concept that I call hybrid banking, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Hybrid Banking.

The old system used to give two figures about your money, that was yet to be invested.

  • The money sitting there waiting in the queue for new borrowers.
  • The allocated money waiting for the borrower to be checked and sign up.

The first figure was invaluable, as by watching it, it enabled me to see how constipated the system was. There’s not much point, of putting more money in Zopa, if it will just sit there. It could be more productive in crowdfunding an outstanding idea.

But in the new system, they have added these two figures together.

It’s not catastrophic, but it’s a nuisance.

Conclusion

Never disobey, the title of this post!

February 16, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , | 9 Comments

Who Needs Offices? Zopa Doesn’t!

opa’s update to all their investors yesterday.

It had a sub-heading of At Zopa!

Finally, a quick update on where we’re at as a company. All of our staff are still working remotely. Our diligent preplanning for a situation in which we could lose access to our offices has meant we’ve been able to continue to serve our customers throughout the pandemic, while also implementing new solutions to adapt to this unprecedented situation. Like other businesses, we’ve been planning for what a return to our offices looks like. But as we’ve been able to keep serving your needs while operating from home, we are in no rush. Being in this position allows us to stay focused on supporting your needs during this challenging moment.

How many companies after we are through the COVID-19 pandemic will decide to downsize their office requirements considerably?

June 18, 2020 Posted by | Business, Finance, Health, World | , , | 1 Comment

Zopa Seems To Have Deconstipated

In early March, I wrote Is The COVID-19 Having An Affect On Lending At Zopa?, where I said this.

I lend money on Zopa and at the moment no-one seems to be borrowing any money.

I put some of my pension in my lending pot into the peer-to-peer lender each month and it’s still there sitting safely in the queue for a borrower.

Perhaps everybody is being cautious because of the COVID-19 alert.

At the time of writing this new post, everything seems to be back to normal. Or at least money, that I put in my lending account yesterday, has now been allocated to borrowers and is awaiting the final checks.

Eight years ago, I wrote Stability in Financial Systems, where I put forward my belief that Zopa is a stable system, that adjusts itself to the conditions it encounters.

Has the peer-to-peer lender just demonstrated, that my thoughts are correct, by sailing untroubled through the COVID-19 crisis, with just a small adjustment on the tiller here and there, just as it survived the Banking Crisis of 2008?

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Finance, Health | , , | Leave a comment

Zopa Resumes Lending To ‘C Risk’ Borrowers

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Peer2Peer Finance News.

Zopa, the first peer-to-peer lending site, rates all borrowers as to risk, between A (the best) down to E.

Certainly, since they introduced this policy, my invested money gets lent out more quickly.

Hopefully, the risk won’t have been increased by an amount, that is unacceptable to lenders.

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment

What Exactly Is Upside Energy?

On Friday, August 9th, 2019, there was a massive power cut in the South of England, that is described in this article on the BBC, which is entitled Lightning Strike ‘Partly To Blame’ For Power Cut.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A lightning strike and the sudden loss of two large electricity generators caused nearly a million people to lose power in England and Wales earlier this month, an interim report has found.

So what exactly happened?

This article on Wired is entitled How Batteries Stopped The UK’s Power Cut Being A Total Disaster, was written after the report into the cut had been written.

This is the third paragraph of the article.

But it could have been even worse. Within seconds of problems hitting the grid, a fleet of batteries dotted around Great Britain were able to pump power into the system, preventing a rapid drop off in transmission frequency.

Is fleet the right collective noun for storage batteries? But it will do for the time-being.

This is the next two paragraphs.

Upside Energy is one firm that lent a helping hand by supplying six megawatts (MW) from five large lithium-ion batteries located on a solar farm near Luton Airport. “Those batteries responded immediately – actually it was sub-second,” says the firm’s chief executive Devrim Celal.

Six megawatts may not sound like much. It’s about the same capacity as a single medium-sized wind turbine, but in the context of national electricity supply that can make a difference, says Tim Green, co-director at Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Laboratory. “A home on average is consuming about two kilowatts – six megawatts gets you 3,000 homes maybe.”

But every little helps!

So who are Upside Energy?

If you look at their web site, this is the headline on the home page.

Smart Energy Management Systems

There is also this description.

Our award-winning cloud-based platform provides our customers with a way to capitalise on new opportunities, while supporting an acceleration in the use of renewable technologies, and overall helping to create a more sustainable and efficient power network.

From what I can gather with further reading, it almost looks like a peer-to-peer network for energy, akin to how Zopa is one for money.

  • If you or your company, built a battery or a solar farm, then Upside Energy would control it, in the most efficient way.
  • As the Wired article states, they also have a few batteries of their own.

On another page they describe the system as a cloud-based platform can connect with a multitude of devices across commercial, industrial and domestic sites. They give the following examples of devices.

  • Battery storage systems.
  • \electric-vehicle charging points.
  • Uninterruptible power supplies
  • Heating and cooling systems.

They then say a bit about how it works.

It uses advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to match energy demand with the available supply, helping the electricity grid deal with fluctuations and times of peak usage. Supporting the grid in this way, opens the doors to additional revenue streams for our customers, who also benefit from significant reductions in energy costs and carbon emissions.

The platform can manage demand response for more than 100,000 devices running in parallel.

As a Control Engineer, whose friend went on to manage ICI’s power networks in the North West, I know management of these complex networks was difficult even in the 1970s.

It is interesting to look at their funding page.

Funding would appear to be typical for a company like this.

Conclusion

If I was a farmer, who was investing in a solar farm on a piece of land, I would check out Upside Energy.

But I’m not!

Over eight years ago, I wrote Stability in Financial Systems, where I used my Control Engineering and mathematical experience to postulate that Zopa might have found a way to create a system with an equilibrium between saving and borrowing, that responded to politics, the economy and unforeseen circumstances.

Could Upside Energy have created a system that balances energy production, storage and use, which navigating the perils of the modern world?

 

 

 

 

May 17, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 1 Comment

Zopa And COVID-19

As regular readers of this blog will know, I invest my spare savings in the peer-to-peer lender Zopa.

I have a feeling, from my experience of reading the statistics of my lending on the site, that money is slow to be lent out!

But there are people out there, even in these insecure times, who have a guaranteed cash-flow and a good credit rating.

And some of these may need a loan to perhaps replace a car, that has expired and they need to get to their essential job or to furnish a spare room as a home office or schoolroom.

If I needed a sensible loan, which I don’t, I’d check out Zopa.

April 3, 2020 Posted by | Finance, Health | , | Leave a comment

Is The COVID-19 Having An Affect On Lending At Zopa?

I lend money on Zopa and at the moment no-one seems to be borrowing any money.

I put some of my pension in my lending pot into the peer-to-peer lender each month and it’s still there sitting safely in the queue for a borrower.

Perhaps everybody is being cautious because of the COVID-19 alert

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Finance, Health | , | 1 Comment

Is Zopa Losing Its Attraction As A Platform To Go For A Loan?

Over the last month or so, I have been getting bigger amounts of money moved to my holding amount on Zopa,.

It appears to me, that borrowers could be repaying loans early.

This could be for one of several reasons.

  • People are fed up with non-Brexit and are being prudent, by repaying loans.
  • The economy seems to be picking up and borrowers can afford to pay loans off.
  • There are some good offers out there and borrowers are consolidating their loans elsewhere.

As Zopa don’t charge anything to pay off a loan, so if you have spare money, it must be top of the list for a loan to pay off.

A Worrying Trend On Lending

Perhaps more worrying is that at the moment the money I have made available to borrowers, seems to take a long time to be allocated.

Is this due to a shortage of would-be borrowers?

Conclusion

I have decided to increase my spending and visit some of the places on my bucket list.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance | | Leave a comment