Three alternatives to savings accounts: should you invest?
If you're looking for a way to invest beyond traditional asset classes like cash, property and shares and are willing to take on more risk, there are plenty of alternative routes to go down.
You've probably heard of the money to be made by investing in stamps, coins, wine, whiskey and the like but did you know you could invest in car finance and sporting tickets?
We've rounded up a few alternative investment opportunities you might not have heard of that could prove very lucrative.
Peer-to-peer car loans
Peer-to-peer lending has become a genuine alternative asset class for investors searching for decent returns.
Generally, platforms work by putting investors in touch with borrowers that need a loan, cutting out banks and building societies, which usually means each side gets a much better deal.
Buy2LetCars is one firm that has taken the concept and applied it to car leasing.
The firm founded in 2012 allows investors to replace banks in providing car finance to fund lease vehicles for individuals with the chance to earn up to 11% IRR.
Investors provide a lump sum to fund the purchase of a new or second-hand car, which Buy2LetCars then arranges for a driver to lease through sister company Wheels4sure.
Repayments are made monthly and at the end of the two- or three-year loan term investors receive a final exit payment.
There are four options to choose from, which I've set out below. They are all based on monthly repayments over a 36-month term.
Gross Final Payment Month 37
Though it might seem crazy to invest in a depreciating asset, Buy2LetCars founder Reginald Larry-Cole claims the firm simply offers a piece of what banks and finance companies have been profiting from for years.
However, the money you put in is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so won't have any protection if Buy2LetCars goes under.
You could also lose money if a borrower defaults on a loan, though Buy2LetCars claims it has safeguards and reports it has had 0% defaults since 2012. All end of term transactions due to investors have been honoured and on time.
Mini-bonds are essentially IOUs which firms sell in return for regular interest payments and the value of the investment returned in the future.
This alternative investment class has become a popular way for smaller businesses to raise cash, with the likes of BrewDog, Leon, Chilango and even Harlequins rugby club issuing mini-bonds over the last few years.
However, mini-bonds are unsecured, non-convertible, untradeable and returns aren't guaranteed so your money is at risk.
This asset class is also not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) so if the firm goes bust you will lose your money.
Debentures are another type of debt security that can be issued by companies to raise funds. There are a broad range that you can go for, with some that pay interest and some that don't.
Last year there was an opportunity to invest in the Wimbledon No. 1 Court Debenture, which pays no interest but offers perks that could be lucrative.
The No.1 Court Debenture was available for a nominal value of £1,000, but investors had to pay a premium of £25,000 plus VAT at £5,000 taking the total to £31,000 per debenture.
The All England Lawn Tennis Ground plc the company which owns the Club's grounds wanted to raise £25 million to help fund a new retractable roof (ready for the 2019 Championships), additional seating and the creation of a new two-level public plaza.
The debenture lasts for five years and rather than paying interest, it provides a book of tickets for seats in the No.1 Court for the first 10 days of Wimbledon for five years and importantly first dibs on other Wimbledon debenture sales.
Investors only get back the nominal value or £1,000 for each Debenture held on maturity. This may sound like a terrible investment, considering you have to stump up £31,000, but the debentures and the tickets you get each year can be freely traded and are typically in high demand.
The Wimbledon tickets given out to debenture holders are the only tickets that are transferable. They can be sold to anyone for as much as you like but the AELTC and hospitality companies may buy up the tickets if there is enough demand.
Meanwhile, Numis Securities runs a market where debentures can be bought and sold.
One investor who invested in the 2011-2015 Centre Court debenture for £27,750 made a killing when they sold it for £90,000 in 2014.
With two years left to mature, they got £3,462 for each of the 26 remaining tickets for the Championship.
But none of this is guaranteed, so you are taking a massive risk with your money if you go for this type of investment looking for a big return.