The Peer-To-Peer IFISA Guide

We have nagged the taxman’s notoriously tight-lipped officials, and chased down accountants, IFISA providers and even 4thWay’s own skilled experts to give you answers to all your IFISA questions, as well questions you never thought to ask. Here goes: What is an IFISA? For the…

What is Peer-to-Peer Lending?

Here’s an overview of how you can earn an income and make money by helping others escape the banks through peer-to-peer lending. You open an online account with one or more peer-to-peer lending companies, and then you can lend money to people or businesses, including property owners….

4thWay’s 10 P2P Investing Principles

Peer-to-peer lending is on average relatively low risk compared to the stock market and it is relatively easy to assess compared to picking shares – provided you arm yourself with knowledge. But it’s still, most definitely, an investment, meaning carelessness, greed, panic, pride, fear and…

10 Ways To Get Your P2P Lending Money Back!

We’ll show you: Why buying and selling loans won’t always be speedy, and can sometimes be nigh-on impossible. What the delays cost you and how long they might last. The silver lining: that your risks actually come down due to slow lending and good investing…

Unbolted Review

Unbolted’s IFISA And Classic Account are Unrated, because we don’t quite get receive sufficient data to conduct our full assessments. Lenders are currently on course to earn around after bad debts. Visit Unbolted or keep reading the Unbolted Review.

Loanpad Review

Loanpad’s Premium Account/Premium IFISA received an Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating. This account has been paying interest after zero bad debts. Visit Loanpad* or keep reading the Loanpad Review.

Kuflink Review

Kuflink’s Auto-Invest 3 Year Account received an Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating. This account has been paying interest. Visit Kuflink* or keep reading the Kuflink Review.

Invest & Fund Review

Invest & Fund Lending Account received an Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating. This account has been paying in the regular P2P lending account after fees. It pays in the IFISA, due to slightly higher fees. Visit Invest & Fund* or keep reading the Invest &…

CapitalStackers Review

CapitalStackers’ Property Lending Account/IFISA currently has two alt ratings of secured and hidden gem, as we have no doubt it will receive the top 4thWay PLUS Rating soon, when its history is sufficient. These loans have been paying lenders an average interest after bad debts. Visit…

CapitalRise Review

CapitalRise’s Bridging & Development Loans have earned the Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating. These loans have been paying lenders around  interest after bad debts. Visit CapitalRise* or keep reading the CapitalRise Review.

Is Peer-to-Peer Lending Safe For Lenders?

The process of money lending has been very profitable for thousands of years, even before computers and credit reports. For many decades now, it has become especially easy to assess borrowers and decide what interest rates to charge them. Research from Liberum and data from…

The 12 Key Peer-To-Peer Lending Risks

The main peer-to-peer lending risks are: Yourself (psychological risk). Not enough diversification (concentration risk). Losing money due to bad debts (credit risk). Losing money due to a P2P lending site going bust (platform risk). Losing money due to a solvent wind down (more platform risk)….

IFISAs: What Are The Risks?

The key risks in IFISAs are: Psychological risk: your own greed and fear. Concentration risk: you don’t spread your money across lots of loans and P2P lending sites. Credit risk: borrowers don’t repay you. Platform risk: the P2P lending site (the “platform”) goes bust and…

CrowdProperty Review

CrowdProperty’s Bridging & Development loans received an Exceptional 3/3 4thWay PLUS Rating. This account has been paying lenders interest after bad debts. Visit CrowdProperty or keep reading the CrowdProperty Review.

Peer-to-Peer Lending Vs Other Investments

In this guide, we explain how peer-to-peer lending performs when compared against stocks and other investments. Here’s a short summary of what you’ll learn Useful investments for most people are 1) Savings accounts, 2) peer-to-peer lending, 3) buying your own home and 4) the stock…

How Does Peer-to-Peer Lending Tax Work?

When you earn money through peer-to-peer lending there are huge tax breaks available to you. For most people there’s an automatic tax break on all P2P lending accounts. You can also open specific peer-to-peer lending accounts, called IFISAs, which are always free of income tax…

Sourced Capital Review

Sourced Capital’s Bridging & Development loans are currently unrated, due to not enough information being provided. This account has been paying lenders in the region of interest after bad debts. Visit Sourced Capital or keep reading the Sourced Capital Review.

4-Step Strategy to Safe Peer-to-Peer Lending

Safe peer-to-peer lending is not as risky as the stock market. Not by a long shot. On average! However, as with the stock market, the risks in P2P lending are not uniform. Some lenders will lose a lot of money over the next half century, simply…

Downing Crowd Review

Downing Crowd’s Senior Property & Renewable Energy Lending is unrated, due to lack of information. These loans have been paying lenders around interest before bad debts. Visit Downing Crowd or keep reading the Downing Crowd Review.  

What is Downing Crowd?

Downing Crowd does loans to UK businesses that own property or energy projects, including businesses developing property. It’s looking at typical interest rates for lenders before bad debts of 5.46%.

When did Downing Crowd start?

Downing has been lending investors’ money since 2010. Its peer-to-peer lending branch opened in 2016, where individuals have lent £210 million.

What interesting or unique points does it have?

Downing Crowd’s loans are to such trading businesses as pubs and care homes, typically for renovation and expansion, or to renewable energy businesses with working installations that receive taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Downing Crowd review: how good are its loans?

Borrowers usually have a profitable history and earn an income already, which can lower the risk of a loan falling into trouble. The income isn’t necessarily high enough to get a bank loan the size that Downing offers, so Downing caps the loan at 75% of its internal valuation of the property or renewable plant, which is reasonable. Valuations here aren’t always easy; property or plant sales could reduce losses on a bad debt, but not always eliminate them entirely.

Downing cherry picks the loans that it funnels to its P2P arm from its wider business to contain the risk for lenders. A long time ago, Downing Crowd provided data showing that the first cherry-picked loans it put on its P2P platform were probably high quality. But we have not received any data since then.

How much experience do Downing Crowd’s key people have?

Downing Crowd has approved the same kinds of loans for a decade and its people have complementary skills, including property loan approvals, development lending and renewable energy.

It was convincing about its experience when we conducted our interviews with it many years ago. However, with team changes and no successful contact with Downing for sometime, there’s no-one left there who we have interviewed directly.

Downing Crowd review: lending processes

Some years ago, we talked to Downing Crowd about many of its processes in lending, loan-monitoring and bad-debt collection, and we took information and data to back it up. We thought it had in place some capable and professional lending operations.

While we are unable to get an update on that, I think it’s more likely than not that its processes have remained robust.

It also outlined its credit-risk modelling, which is a technique for containing risks that’s not always applied – and harder to do – for many of the types of loans that Downing Crowd does, but it’s good to see.

How good are Downing Crowd’s interest rates, bad debts and margin of safety?

Very old data from Downing Crowd showed good results. Potentially as few as seven out of every 100 borrowers suffered problems and less than 4% of debt was written off. That was highly satisfactory compared to similar competitors. We can no longer assume that its results have continued that trajectory as its online lending platform has matured.

Downing Crowd doesn’t provide 4thWay or the general public with regular, detailed updates on the ongoing performance of its loans. We don’t know how many loans are late or in trouble, with recovery procedures happening. Downing Crowd also doesn’t respond to our requests for basic information to enable a superficial assessment of its performance and the risks of bad debts.

Lending interest rates are low at Downing Crowd compared to similar competitors. It’s not possible any more to establish whether they are appropriate for the risks.

Has Downing Crowd provided enough information to assess the risks?

Downing Crowd was extremely open with 4thWay for our initial detailed assessment of it, providing all the data, information and interviews we requested.

While we initially received a great deal of information from Downing Crowd, we have not had a detailed data update since 2018. Also, for some years now Downing Crowd has not answered our ad-hoc questions nor have we had any interviews with its people.

Information is insufficient to assess the risks.

Is Downing Crowd profitable?

Downing Crowd is owned by Downing LLP, an investment manager that has made annual profits of £3-£12 million in recent years and has been profitable for all or most of the past 14 years at least. This provides lenders good safety in the event Downing Crowd needs to be wound down.

As we’re missing all the information we need to give any assessment of risk and performance, in 2022 I’ve not gone through the company filings for every single company related to this group, as there are a large number of subsidiaries.

However, I read the most recently filed audited accounts of the parent company, which show over £7 million net profit in 2021. It has plenty of cash and assets outweighing debts.

What can you tell me about Downing Crowd’s cybersecurity?

A soft probe of Downing Crowd’s cybersecurity from our security provider has shown its website is likely to be well programmed from a security standpoint, with negligible issues.

It appears to be malware free and is marked clean by Sucuri, Google Safe Browsing and others.

However, Downing Crowd has not responded to our requests for information about whether it takes some of the expected safeguards, such as firewalls, regular website monitoring or independent analysis of its security.

Is Downing Crowd a good investment?

My best guess, if pressed, is that Downing Crowd is still a good investment, but guesses aren’t good enough. Downing Crowd simply needs to provide more information for lenders to make any kind of sensible decision. Without it, lenders are shooting blind.

What is Downing Crowd’s minimum lending amount and how many loans can I lend in?

The minimum loan is £100. You need to choose your own loans.

The last data we received – an age ago – showed there aren’t a huge number of loans to choose from. But, if it’s continued to approve a similar number of loans, over the course of a year I expect you could spread sufficiently across one or two dozen borrowers.

Does Downing Crowd have an IFISA?

Downing Crowd’s loans are available in an IFISA.

Can I sell Downing Crowd loans to exit early?

Not easily. There’s no online market for buying and selling.

You would need to find another Downing Crowd lender who wants to buy and ask Downing Crowd to trade the loan manually, for a £25 fee. The amount that the buyer pays for your loan parts is agreed between you (e.g. if the buyer wants to pay less as the loan is now considered more risky.)

What more do I need to know?

Downing Crowd also has a product that blends lending with part-ownership in property. Plus, it might still sell fixed-rate bonds that involve lending to other Downing group companies or to businesses it owns. These are not always peer-to-peer lending and are outside 4thWay’s scope. Consider lending in just one loan where Downing is the borrower.

Visit Downing Crowd.

Is Downing Crowd truly P2P lending?

The legal structure is what protects you from seeing your money going off to pay the P2P lending company’s own debts, if it was to go bust. So long as the structure is legally correct, and the provider operates those structures correctly in practice, your loans are ringfenced from the likes of Barclays taking a slice from you to pay off what the provider owes it.

We only note legal structure for you when a P2P lending company doesn’t use the standard “P2P agreements”. While Downing Crowd has had permission from the regulator to offer those agreements in the past, it has never used them.

Currently, it uses permissions related to the FCA’s debt-based investments regime. Rather than being called loans, Downing Crowd’s bonds are technically known as “non-readily realisable securities”.

Cutting short the mumbo-jumbo, the important point is that Downing Crowd is so structured that it never has any right to the loan, or any part of your loan repayments or interest, except for receiving its fees and costs agreed with you.

The bottom line is that there’s no perceivable difference in risk between this and a standard P2P agreement in terms of protecting lenders from Downing Crowd going bust.

Downing Crowd review: key details of its Senior Property & Renewable Loans

Interest rate after bad debt


Here we show the P2P lending site's own estimate (or 4thWay's if theirs are not appropriate)

4thWay Risk Score


Lower Risk Scores are better. How is this different to the 4thWay PLUS Rating?


£210 m since 2016 in secured short-term loans to trading businesses with property, property development loans & loans to renewable energy providers. Available in an IFISA

Minimum lending amount


Exit fees - if you sell loans before borrowers fully repay

N/A - no early exit possible

Early exit is not guaranteed. Usually, other lenders need to buy your loans

Do you get all your money back if you exit early?


Loan size compared to security value

No info on avg; 75% (max); developments 75% (max) of future sale value

Reserve fund size as % of outstanding loans

Company/directors lend alongside you/first loss


Independent opinion: 4thWay will help you to identify your options and narrow down your choices. We suggest what you could do, but we won't tell you what to do or where to lend; the decision is yours. We are responsible for the accuracy and quality of the information we provide, but not for any decision you make based on it. The material is for general information and education purposes only.

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