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This review of Orca Money will help you decide whether this is the right investment for you. We believe, that it is worth considering when looking for:

Ways to diversify your overall portfolio.

Passive investment that yields predictable, steady return.

Long term, strategic investment.

 

‘When we told our friends and family that we were starting to invest they all told us to forget about it; because people ‘like us’ don’t do this stuff, you see.”

Are you surprised? So was I. Still, this is the investing ‘support’ a good friend, whom I met through personal finance, received when she started to invest. As it happens, my friend and her husband ended up with multi-million pounds worth of real estate portfolio, which makes the naysayers obviously wrong.

Today, investing has become an accessible necessity for all, not just the privileged playground of the ‘select few’. While investing has, at one level, become simpler through index funds and digital wealth managers, it has also become more complex because of the immense growth of opportunities.

Finding the right investment for you is not a trivial matter. Hence, we’ve already published a review of Nutmeg investing; discussed investing in Scalable Capital; and created The Money Principle guide to ISA in the UK.

Here, we give you a detailed review of Orca Money: an investing opportunity different from the ones we’ve already told you about. How different? Well, you’ll have to keep reading for that. Let’s just say that our review of Orca Money convinced us that it is an opportunity worthy of consideration as part of a balanced, long term investing portfolio.

What is Orca Money?

Orca Money’s ambition is to ‘become a hub for alternative lending’. It started as a comparison site for P2P lending building on the proprietary analytics engine to analyse peer-to-peer lending loan books monthly.

Today, Orca Money provides opportunities for diversified investing in peer-to-peer lending through the Orca Investment Platform. In the words of Jordan Stodart, Orca Money’s co-founder:

“Orca increases yield, diversifies risk and provides investors with easy access to the alternative lending market by using proprietary research to construct diversified investment portfolios.”

How does Orca Money investing work?

One thing our review of Orca Money told us is that investing with the Orca Investment Platform platform is easy and entirely passive.

This is what happens:

  • You sign up with Orca Money and send funds. This sets up your P2P investment portfolio.
  • Orca Money open accounts in your name on the P2P lending platforms that build your portfolio.
  • The P2P platforms do what they do best: match your funds with borrowers so that your money starts working for you.
  • You monitor your investment from your Orca Dashboard.

As you can see, your tasks when investing with Orca Money are to sign up and to monitor your portfolio.

How are Orca Money portfolios curated?

Remember earlier in this review of Orca Money I told you about the proprietary analytics engine to analyse peer-to-peer lending loan books that the co-founders developed?

Well, the same technology is used to analyse P2P lending platforms construct your investment portfolio.

The number of P2P platforms included in your portfolio is different depending on how much money you have in it. If you start your Orca investment portfolio with £1,000 it will consist of three P2P lending platforms. When your portfolio reaches approximately £2,500 the lending platforms included in it will be four. Similarly, when your portfolio is approximately £7,000, it will include five lending platforms.

Orca portfolios are curated through research and diversification.

What investment returns you can expect?

Orca Money advertise 5% indicative annual return on your investment. This is calculated as a blend of the advertised investment returns of the underlying P2P lending platforms.

Please note that the rate of return is indicative, and your returns may vary. For the purposes of this review of Orca Money, we could not test this ‘in real life’. Still, if the returns of the P2P platforms in which your portfolio is invested are any indication it is likely this is a slightly conservative estimate.

Importantly, Orca Money investing advertise 5% net indicative return; this means you can expect this return after fees have been paid.

START INVESTING WITH ORCA MONEY

What are the fees on Orca Money?

Orca charges 0.65% administration fee per year.

How much money you need to start investing with Orca Money?

On the Orca Investment Platform investing starts from £1,000. After that, you can add funds to your account in £1,000 chunks.

Investment risks and how Orca Money offsets these?

All investing is risky. Hence, the question we need to ask is, while aware about the specific risks, what is being done to offset them?

Investing in digital platform carries two kinds of risk: core risk stemming from the business itself and digital platform related risks. P2P lending, like any lending, comes with the risk of borrowers defaulting on their loans. Clearly, investment returns would be affected. Next, there is the risk of the digital platform being compromised or the company backing it becoming insolvent.

Orca Money has a sound risk management system consisting of three parts.

Diversification

Orca Money is an aggregator, e.g. your investment is distributed across three to five different P2P platforms.

Orca investment portfolios are diversified across P2P companies and sectors. Naturally, your portfolio is likely to include the largest, most established P2P lenders with the best track record of returns and the healthiest loan books. Still, investing with one provider comes with risk that are reduced when investing in several platforms.

Apart from being diversified across companies, your investment portfolio with Orca Money would be diversified according to the sector in which these companies operate; e.g. property lending, consumer lending and business lending.

While diversification is not hundred percent risk-proof, I believe it would take a cataclysmic event to affect adversely all industry leaders at the same time.

Sound research and ongoing monitoring

As seasoned investors know, the next best thing after diversification in investing is research, research and more research.

Orca Money’s investment decisions are based on research and continuous monitoring of P2P platforms – we are back to the proprietary algorithm that the co-founders of Orca developed.

Individual accounts with third party provider

Orca Money have been careful to avoid compounding the risks associated with digital platforms through making investments in your name and keeping your account in an individual account (in your name) provided by Modulr Finance.

Talking about risk, I ought to mention the matter of regulation. Orca Money doesn’t perform activities that need financial regulation. The P2P platforms building your portfolio, and Modulr Finance who provide your bank account, are fully regulated. Please note, that peer to peer lending is generally not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

How to withdraw funds from Orca Money?

You can request to withdraw your money at any time. There are two ways to do that:

  1. Withdraw as soon as possible which means that you can expect to pay a fee of up to 1% of your investment. Lion share of that is the fee charged by the platforms (for early withdrawal) and Orca Money administration fee. Please note that requesting to withdraw your money as soon as possible doesn’t mean that this will be soon – withdrawing from your portfolio early is only possible if there are other investors who wish to buy those loans from you. Usually this is fine, but under adverse market conditions there may be a delay in getting your funds back or you may have to hold your loans to term (up to a maximum of five years).
  2. Withdraw without fee which means that the process may take up to five years. This way you can withdraw your money without fee, but you must wait out the ‘natural’ re-investment cycle.

Withdrawing your investment with Orca Money ought to be planned and can take up to five years. This only means that Orca Money is not the place to keep your emergency fund. It is not a platform open to the temptation to dip in your investments either.

Investing with Orca Money should be purposeful, strategic and long term.

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How does Orca Money investing compare with other investing opportunities?

You’d probably agree that, for the purposes of this review of Orca Money, it is not entirely fare to compare it with more traditional investing vehicle like property investing, investing in businesses or even value and dividend stock investing.

Hence, we’d compare Orca Money with other non-traditional investment vehicles, like digital wealth managers and innovative finance investment providers.

How is Orca Money different?

Conducting this review of Orca Money, we discerned the following difference between this platform and other investing opportunities:

Orca Money is different from, and complementary to, the digital wealth managers operating in the UK in that it doesn’t invest in the stock market. This means that Orca Money is a good way to diversify your investment portfolio. While not correlated with digital wealth managers they still share fundamental causality. E.g. if the economy tanks digital wealth managers and Orca Money would be affected in the same way but through different mechanisms. This is life.

Orca Money is different from P2P lending platform in that it is not a lending platform itself. It is an aggregator distributing risk and offering a high degree of diversification.

Orca Money compared with other investment opportunities

Here is how investing in Orca Money compares with savings accounts, GIA (general investment accounts) digital wealth managers (robo-investing) and peer-to-peer lending platforms according to:

  • Returns. What are the returns on investment.
  • Risk level. What is the risk to your investment/savings.
  • Fees. How much are the fees?
  • Predictability of returns. How predictable are the annual returns of your investment?
  • Diversity. How diversified is your investment?
  • Effort. How much effort from you does the investment require.

 

Saving accounts GIA robo-investing Peer to peer Orca Money
Returns Typically

0.5% to 2%

Variable, could reach 10-15% on some funds (but could be negative as well)  

4% to 11%

(advertised)

 

5%

(advertised)

Risk level Low High

 

Low-Medium Low
Fees No fees except for early withdrawal

 

 

Rarely exceed 1% of

0% to 10% of returns 0.65% admin fee
Diversity Low

 

Depends Medium high
Predictability of return High Low High High
Effort Low

 

Low to High depending on account Low Low

 

The Money Principle Assessment of Orca Money

What we love about Orca Money

Now that I’ve told you all I learned while conducting the review of Orca Money, let me tell you what I love about it. I love:

#1. The combination between the high predictability of investment return and the relatively low level of risk. I don’t buy the myth of investing for heroes, venturing into the unknown and coming back with the one and only prize.

#2. The ease of investing and diversification.

#3. How investing in Orca Money is a way to diversify an overall investing portfolio while avoiding correlated, complex investments. E.g. a diversified investment portfolio can include investments in digital wealth managers (or index funds), Orca Money investments, cash savings and direct investments in a crowd funding platform.

#4. Investing with Orca Money is a strategic, long term venture; and the limitation to immediate withdrawal of funds makes sure that one adheres to the long-term goal.

START INVESTING WITH ORCA MONEY

What we view as potentially problematic about Orca Money

Here is where I see potential problems with investing with Orca Money.

#1. Orca Money are not eligible to offer Innovative Finance ISA at the moment. According to Jordan Stodart, Orca Co-Founder:  “In time, we will explore the viability of offering an IFISA as we are conscious of its appeal in the market.”

#2. This means that investment returns are taxable. I’m not going to even try to discuss this one – tax is a minefield – but it would be wise to discuss with an investment advisor the ways to minimise tax.

#3. I like to have control over my investments. Failing that, I like to be able to react fast to changing conditions. Were things to go wrong, there is nothing to be done with investments with Orca Money.

Would we invest with Orca Money?

Yes, we would invest with Orca Money if we were:

  • Looking to build a nice retirement nest complementing other arrangements, e.g. contributing to employer pension schemes.
  • Looking to build enough investments to pay off my mortgage by a specific deadline.
  • Wanting to diversify my investment portfolio without putting too much effort and taking too much risk.
  • Just starting to invest and don’t want to be very hand on with it.

Now let me play couple of scenarios for you.

Scenario 1: Retirement plus

A forty years old would like to retire at 60 but don’t want to take their pension until they are 65 (there are many reasons not to dip into your pension fund early, trust me; I’ve analysed them all). Were they to start investing with Orca Money and:

  • Start with £5,000;
  • Add £5,000 annually (slightly over £400 per month);
  • Plan to withdraw the money in 20 years (request withdrawal after 15); and
  • Achieve an average return of 5% per year compounded.

In 20 years, the investment would be approximately £186,800 – enough to bridge the time to retirement.

Scenario 2: My home is my castle

A thirty something years old take out a 25 years mortgage. Were they to start investing with Orca Money and:

  • Start with £5,000;
  • Add £5,000 annually (slightly over £400 per month);
  • Plan to withdraw the money in 25 years (request withdrawal after 15); and
  • Achieve an average return of 5% per year compounded.

In 25 years, the investment would be approximately £267,000.

If you want to play with other numbers and scenarios, here is a good compound interest calculator.

The Money Principle Verdict:

Our review of Orca Money convinced us that this is an investment opportunity worth considering when looking for:

  • Ways to diversify your overall portfolio.
  • Passive investment that yields predictable, steady return.
  • Long term, strategic investment.
START INVESTING WITH ORCA MONEY