What is ALP?
ALP is a platform for purchasing secured bonds from Amberside ALP plc, company number: 11041038 (“the Company”). These bonds are a debt instrument upon which the Company will pay a fixed rate of interest, with the initial investment due to be repaid at the maturity of the bond.
What does ALP stand for?
ALP is the Asset Lending Platform operated by Amberside ALP Plc and its subsidiary Amberside ALP Trading Limited.
ALP will use the proceeds of your bond purchase to issue loans to companies carrying out activities that are expected to generate relatively predictable long-term cash flows, further details of which can be found in the Information Memorandum.
Since ALP intends to lend to a range of companies, an investment through ALP may offer benefits of diversification compared with peer-to-peer lending, where an investor lends directly to companies or individuals.
What is a secured bond?
A secured bond is a debt instrument where the bond holder has security over the assets of the company which issues the bonds (including its subsidiaries and their assets) which can be called upon if payments on the bond are not made.
Bonds purchased from ALP are secured bonds, so if ALP is unable to pay you then you will have a claim on all the assets of ALP in order to recover your investment.
The loans that ALP makes to other companies will also be secured loans, so in the event that a borrower fails to make payments on their loans, ALP will have a claim on the borrower’s assets.
What is the ALP ISA?
The Innovative Finance ISA (“IFISA”) was set up in 2016 by the UK government to allow investors to use some (or all) of their ISA allowance to lend funds to companies such as the Company, without paying tax on interest earnings.
The ISA allowance for the 2018/19 tax year is £20,000 and is subject to future change.
Who can invest in ALP?
Individuals aged 18 or over, firms, trusts, and foundations, who fit into one of the following categories:
Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to accept investors based in the USA, or who are US tax payers.
Why should I invest in ALP?
Holding bonds in ALP should generate a higher return than you are likely to receive on cash held in a bank account. Please see the Information Memorandum for more information on returns and the associated risks.
You have the choice to invest your capital for different lengths of time depending on when you need access to your funds, or for further flexibility you can choose our “Flexible Term” bond, which allows you to withdraw your funds with one month’s notice.
You also have the option to either receive a steady income from the bonds, paid every six months, or to reinvest your interest to generate a higher effective interest rate (AER).
Becoming a bondholder may also diversify your investment portfolio, if you do not already hold similar assets.
Is there a minimum I can invest in ALP?
In order to make ALP accessible to a wide range of investors, we have set the minimum amount you need to invest at just £100.
How much interest will I be paid?
The interest rate you receive is fixed and depends on the term of your investment, generally the rate will be higher if you lend money to ALP for a longer period of time. Please see terms to check the current rates available.
All interest rates are stated as gross annual rates. If your investment is held within the ALP ISA then you will receive this interest without any tax deductions, however please see: ‘Will I pay tax on my returns from ALP?’ below for more information.
You will start earning interest once we receive your funds, and will be paid at a time depending on the payment option you have selected.
If you have chosen to receive interest payments semi-annually, your bank account will be credited on the last business day of June and December. The first interest payment will cover the period from the date of your investment to the end of the next June or December, unless this period is less than one month, in which case the first interest period will be extended to the following June or December.
If you have chosen to reinvest your interest, then interest accrues each day after your investment is received and is reinvested automatically on the last business day of June and December. Upon the final maturity date, the entirety of the compounded interest is paid to you along with your original investment. Because your interest is reinvested semi-annually, your interest generates a return in the latter part of each year and you receive a higher effective interest rate (AER) each year by reinvesting your interest.
How do I get started?
You can set up an account by registering here and entering your personal details, creating a password and agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.
When set up, you will be asked to provide further ID details as part of standard compliance checks.
Once verified, you may begin investing in ALP Bonds by depositing money into your account via bank transfer. You may wish to turn on auto-investment, which will allow us to queue your investment as soon as we receive your deposit.
Are there any costs involved?
No. ALP earns its revenue through interest income on the loans it makes, not through fees or charges to bond holders.
How can I monitor my investment?
You can monitor your investment at any time by logging in here using your email address and password provided during registration.
On log in you will be taken directly to your Portfolio page which gives you the current state of your account including your cash balance, invested amount and total Portfolio value.
You will be able to view a summary of any investments that you have made and see how they are performing.
What are the risks of investing in ALP?
Bonds in ALP are non-readily realisable securities and you are at risk of losing some or all of your invested capital if ALP is unable to make payments and the bond security is insufficient to recover your investment. Please see our risks section for more information.
Is ALP regulated by the FCA?
The operators of the ALP platform, Amberside Capital Ltd (fund manager), CH1 Investment Partners LLP (wealth manager), and Goji Financial Services Limited (platform technology provider and ISA manager) are all regulated by the FCA.
As with most lending platforms, the borrower itself is not regulated by the FCA. On P2P platforms the borrower would usually be an individual person or company seeking debt, but in the case of ALP, a company called Amberside ALP Plc is the borrower, and it then on-lends that money as secured loans to infrastructure projects. We believe that by allowing investors to buy bonds from Amberside ALP Plc, rather than directly from an individual end borrower, we can offer additional benefits from diversification and structural protections within the company itself (see “How does ALP protect my investment?”).
Am I protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?
ALP bonds are secured investments and FSCS protection does not apply to them.
Therefore, if ALP were to become insolvent or go out of business, bond holders may lose all or part of their investment and no government or other body would be required to compensate them for such loss.
There are two types of relevant FSCS protection that apply to an ALP bond holder: deposits and investments.
Deposit protection applies when money belonging to investors is held in a Client Account operated by an ISA fund manager. With investments in ALP bonds, this occurs initially when investor money is transferred to us to make an investment and when interest repayments and the repayment of capital are being held on behalf of investors. While the money is in the Client Account of the ISA fund manager (which is likely to be a short period) it is protected by the FSCS deposit protection which is currently £85,000 per person.
Investment scheme protection may also be available in cases where loss is incurred by factors such as mis-selling or misrepresentation on our part, or on the part of our appointed representatives. The FSCS investment protection is currently up to £50,000 per person.
This is unlikely to significantly affect the risk that investors assume when investing in ALP bonds. The FSCS is a fund of last resort to cover any claims investors might have against a firm that is in default. For more detail on the FSCS and their eligibility criteria see their website.
Investors should not invest on the basis of FSCS protection. While there are unique circumstances where it may apply, they are infrequent.
Am I eligible to use the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)?
If you have any concerns about the service you have received from ALP then we request that you first get in touch with us at email@example.com to resolve your issue. Please include your full name, address, telephone number, and details of your query, then we will get back to you with a full response within 5 working days.
If you feel that your concern has not been dealt with satisfactorily, you are able to complain about Amberside ALP directly to the Financial Ombudsman Service, for more details please visit financial-ombudsman.org.uk.
Will I pay tax on my returns from ALP?
Tax payments are related to individual circumstances and may change in future.
If your bond investment is held within the ALP ISA then no income tax will be payable on your interest income.
If your investment is not held in the ALP ISA then your interest income will attract income tax. In this case we are required to withhold 20% of your interest and pass this on to HMRC on your behalf, however if you are a higher or additional rate tax payer then you will have to account for further tax within your self-assessment tax form.
Investments made via UK corporations will be paid without any tax deductions, which may also be possible if your investment is made via an overseas corporation. This income will then likely attract corporate tax where applicable.
Can I withdraw my investment in ALP early?
Under normal circumstances you will not be able to withdraw your original investment through ALP until the maturity of your bond. Our “flexible term” bond option allows for investment to be withdrawn with a month’s notice, however generally a higher return will be available to those investors committing their investment for the full term.
What happens to my ALP investment if I die?
If you are a bond holder in ALP when you die, your bonds can be transferred to an authorised person acting for your estate.
If you are acting for the estate of a deceased bond holder, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does ALP protect my investment?
ALP will use your investment to make secured loans to companies in need of capital. These loans will be secured so in the event that a borrower defaults on a loan, ALP will have a claim on the assets of the company in order to recover the loan. This security reduces the default risk for ALP and thus reduces the risk of ALP defaulting on its payments to bond holders.
Additionally, ALP will build up and maintain a cash buffer to reduce the liquidity risk which might delay payments to bond holders. All interest income from the loans we make will be paid into a separate bank account. Until the account holds an amount equivalent to 5% of the total value of bonds held by ALP investors, plus any accrued interest owed to ALP investors, ALP will only withdraw funds to pay amounts owed to bond holders and to pay a fixed management fee which covers the running costs of the company.
How can I contact ALP if I have more questions?
The easiest way to get in touch is to email email@example.com; we’ll respond within 5 working days.