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Frequently asked questions

What is marketplace lending?

Marketplace lending is a return to the oldest form of financial intermediation, where investors gather to provide funds to creditworthy borrowers.

Modern technology allows us to:

  1. transparently assess the creditworthiness of small business borrowers, and
  2. seamlessly match the needs of those businesses with a range of investors that seek returns better than they could get at a bank.

Borrowers benefit from a simple product, convenient access, fast service, and often through lower rates.

Lenders can earn great returns by selecting a broad and diversified portfolio of loans, spreading risk across multiple borrowers. Together this creates a new fixed income asset class.

What makes Bigstone different from other alternative finance providers?

Bigstone is a loan marketplace. Our business is to:

  1. Find potential borrowers and lenders,
  2. Assess the risk profile of each potential borrower,
  3. Connect borrowers with willing lenders, and
  4. Administer the loan repayments and collections.

This requires a lot of information and know-how!

Bigstone has invested heavily in capabilities that allow us to predict the creditworthiness of small business borrowers, so that we can price borrower loans fairly.

And, because Bigstone loans are funded directly from investors, and make our loans over the internet, we cut out the middlemen that traditionally take a cut and make loans more expensive for borrowers.

This means that investors get great returns, and borrowers get interest rates that reflect the risk of their business.

How is Bigstone regulated?

The Bigstone marketplace is owned and operated by Bigstone Capital Pty Ltd ACN 603 289 658.

Bigstone Capital Pty Ltd is an authorised representative (number 001240521) of Primary Securities Ltd ACN 089 812 635, which holds Australian Financial Services Licence number 224107.

Bigstone provides access to the loan marketplace to investors in the Bigstone Loan Fund.

The Bigstone Loan Fund is an unregistered managed investment scheme, and is compliant with the obligations on those schemes in the Corporations Act 2001.

Primary Securities Ltd is the trustee of the Bigstone Loan Fund.

Can I speak to a customer service representative?

Of course!

Simply call us on 1800 244 786 at any time between 9am and 5pm (AEST)

What happens if I forget my username and/or password?

Please contact us on 1800 244 786 and our friendly customer service staff will assist you.

How do I know my information is secure?

Bigstone uses commercial grade information systems, similar to many banks and traditional financial institutions, to make sure that our systems are secure and in keeping with accepted business practice.

What will you do with my personal information?

Any personally identifiable information is treated with extreme care and diligence, in accordance with with the Privacy Act.

Who can invest?

The Bigstone marketplace is open to investors who are 'wholesale clients' under the Corporations Act. We are required to verify that each investor is a 'wholesale client'.

Am I a wholesale client?

There are a number of classifications in the Corporations Act 2001 through which you (or an entity you control) might be a wholesale client. Please read our eligible investors page for more information.

Can I choose the loans I invest in?

Yes. Unlike many other ‘peer-to-peer’ marketplaces, Bigstone empowers you to pick and choose, in real-time, the loan requests that you want to allocate your funds to. You can filter by risk grade, interest rate, loan term, loan amount, and other criteria. This gives you flexibility in your investment. We believe that helping you to make your own decisions is the best way to get you the best returns and to get borrowers the best rates.

What happens if a borrower defaults on a loan?

Borrowers may miss a payment for a variety of reasons. For every account in arrears, Bigstone Capital will take a prescribed set of actions to encourage the Borrower to return the account to good standing.

Please see the Information Memorandum for further details.

What information do I need to set up an investment account?

You will need a certificate to prove that you are a wholesale client (we provide template certificates through our sign-up process).

You will need two forms of Government ID.

You will also need to provide us with verified bank account details, with which you can transfer funds to and from your Bigstone Account.

How do you determine the risk grades and interest rates?

Risk grades are determined using our proprietary risk assessment approach. Once we have completed our credit assessment, we will apply our objective criteria to either reject the loan application if we consider the risk to be unacceptable, or progress the application to a loan request with an interest rate that reflects the borrower’s creditworthiness.

 

Borrowers are graded and riskier applicants are assigned higher interest rates, while those with the lowest risk will get lower interest rates.

How much are the loans for?

Loans are between $10,000 and $250,000

What security do borrowers provide?

Loans are secured by a General Security Agreement over the assets of the borrower, but not over any specific asset. Security interests will be registered on the Personal Property Securities Register in the name of the Trustee of the Bigstone Loan Fund. Each Loan must also be personally guaranteed by at least one of the Borrower’s directors through a personal guarantee and indemnity.

How long does it take my investment to be deployed into loans?

A loan request is listed and available for investment for up to 14 days. If, at the expiry of the listing period, the amount of funds allocated by investors has not reached the Borrower’s nominated minimum loan amount, the loan request will expire, and investors can re-allocate whose funds to other loan requests, or withdraw them.

 

A loan can only be issued once the total amount of funds allocated by investors reaches the borrower’s nominated minimum loan amount, at which point the borrower is committed to accept the loan. At this point, the borrower may request disbursal of the loan at any time (at the amount currently allocated), or wait for further allocations.

 

A loan is disbursed once 100% of the funds requested is allocated by investors or when the nominated minimum loan amount has been allocated by Investors and the listing period expires.

What are the loan durations?

Loans are available for durations between 90 days and 2 years. Just remember, a borrower may repay the whole or any part of the loan early at any time without any prepayment fees.

What information do you take into account when assessing a loan application?

We assess each borrower applicant, and set the interest rate for their loan request, using a rigorous proprietary risk assessment approach, which takes into account (as a minimum):

  • Current debt capacity
  • Historical financial performance
  • The likelihood of default of similar businesses
  • Directors’ creditworthiness
  • The business’ past behaviour towards financial obligations
  • The potential for us to collect on the debt in the event of default

How do I allocate funds to a loan request?

Once you have been accepted as an Investor, you can transfer funds into your Bigstone Account by BPAY or bank transfer. You can then allocate funds to loan requests listed on the marketplace from the available funds in your Bigstone Account by logging into your account.

 

Fund allocations are binding and cannot be cancelled while the loan request is listed. You cannot withdraw funds from your Bigstone Account if the remaining amount would be less than you have allocated to loan requests.

How can I diversify my investment?

You can diversify your investment portfolio of loans by spreading your funds across loan requests with different borrower businesses, industries, locations and risk grades.

 

We provide you with information on each loan so that you can implement your own strategy - how you do so is up to you.

Can I invest on behalf of multiple accounts at the same time?

Not right now, but we are working on it.

What is the legal structure that I invest through?

The Bigstone Loan Fund is an unregistered Australian managed investment scheme that provides investors with the opportunity to invest in loans to Australian businesses. Please see the information memorandum for more details.

Are my returns pooled across loans Bigstone selects?

No. Your investment returns are directly dependent on the loans that you select. When you allocate funds to a successful loan request, your returns from that loan are not affected by the performance of other loans.

What is the minimum investment amount?

You can allocate funds in fractions of $10, so the minimum investment is one fraction, or $10. One of the advantages of marketplace lending is allowing you to diversify your investment across a wide range of borrowers, reducing your exposure on a borrower default. We encourage investors to diversify and participate in multiple loans of different types.

What returns will I receive?

We publish the returns of all loans, all lenders, and of each risk grade on our web site to provide lenders and borrowers with a transparent understanding of the marketplace performance.

How do I put money into my Bigstone Account?

You can only allocate funds to loans once they are in your Bigstone Account. You can deposit money into your Bigstone Account using BPAY - we will provide you with the BPAY details as you sign up.

Is there a maximum investment?

There is no maximum, but if you are an institution looking to invest, we encourage you to contact us directly.

Where are my investment funds held?

The money shown in your Bigstone Account is held by the Trustee of the Bigstone Loan Fund in a trust account with an Australian bank.

Do I always have access to the funds I have invested?

You can withdraw the available funds shown in your Bigstone Account at any time by calling us on 1-800-244-786. You cannot withdraw funds that you have allocated to a loan request, whether or not that loan has been made yet..

 

Funds allocated to a loan request that expires without reaching the minimum loan amount will be returned to your Bigstone Account, and then become available for withdrawal.

Who can borrow?

We accept borrowers from all industries except financial services and primary agriculture. The Bigstone Loan Fund only makes business loans to verified Australian companies (or trusts with a trustee that is a company), that pass our verification and credit assessment process.

 

The Bigstone Loan Fund does not lend to individuals, or for non-business purposes.

How many investors are there per loan?

There may be multiple investors per loan or you could invest by yourself, if you prefer to invest in whole loans. There is no limit on the number of loans that you can allocate your funds to. You should consider funding many different loans, with Borrowers across a range of risk grades, industries, geographies and other characteristics, in order to diversify your risk.

Am I party to a Borrower’s loan agreement?

No. Each loan is governed by a single standard-form loan agreement between the trustee and the borrower. As an investor in the Bigstone Loan Fund, you do not have a direct contract with the borrower, and neither do other investors – instead, you request that the trustee allocate funds in your Bigstone Account to the loan request.

 

When your funds are on loan, your Bigstone Account is updated to reflect your participation in the loan. Your rights in respect of the loans made by the Bigstone Loan Fund are set out in the Constitution and the Information Memorandum.

 

Importantly, when you allocate funds to a successful loan request, you have an economic interest in that loan, and your returns from that loan are not impacted by the performance of other loans.

What if there is not enough investor demand for a loan?

When borrowers apply for a loan, they also nominate a minimum loan amount that they will accept. A loan request is listed and available for investment for up to 14 days. If, at the expiry of the listing period, the amount of funds allocated by investors has not reached the Borrower’s nominated minimum loan amount, the loan request will expire, and investors can re-allocate whose funds to other loan requests, or withdraw them.

 

A loan can only be issued once the total amount of funds allocated by investors reaches the borrower’s nominated minimum loan amount, at which point the borrower is committed to accept the loan. At this point, the borrower may request disbursal of the loan at any time (at the amount currently allocated), or wait for further allocations. A loan is disbursed once 100% of the funds requested is allocated by investors or when the nominated minimum loan amount has been allocated by Investors and the listing period expires.

 

If multiple loan requests expire without being funded, we will incorporate that feedback into the pricing of new loans with similar characteristics, and may price them higher to reflect the inadequate supply of lenders.

What are the tax implications of lending through Bigstone?

We do not provide specific tax advice; everyone’s personal circumstances are different. Please consult your tax advisor. Each tax year we will provide you with a statement of account outlining the interest income your received. This must be reported, along with your tax return.

Are there risks in investing?

Like every investment there are a number of risks that may lead you to lose some or all of your investment. It is important that you read and understand each of the risks set out in the Information Memorandum before you invest. You may also wish to read the guidance on the risks of marketplace lending on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

Who can apply for a Bigstone loan?

The Bigstone Loan Fund makes business loans only to verified Australian companies (or trusts with a company trustee), that pass our verification and credit assessment process. The Bigstone Loan Fund does not lend to individuals, or for consumer purposes.

How much can I borrow, and for how long?

You can request a loan of between $10,000 and $250,000. Loans are for between 90 and 730 days in duration, but you can repay your loan early at any time without any penalties.

How does the loan marketplace work?

Our application process can be done entirely online, at any time that is convenient for you - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can get a rate range tailored to the information you give us in less than 5 minutes.

If you have all of your information handy, you can submit your application in less than 30 minutes.

If you give us access to your cloud accounting system, this could be even faster!

 

We then take up to 24 hours to assess your application and allocate an interest rate and market access fee to your loan. Once you accept the terms of the loan, and sign the necessary paperwork (most of which is done electronically), the loan request is listed on the marketplace for investors to view and fund. You can't withdraw your loan request once it's in the marketplace.

 

A loan request is listed on the marketplace for up to 14 days (the 'listing period'). Once the funding level reaches your minimum loan amount, you are legally obliged to accept the loan and you can disburse the loan (at the funding amount it has reached) at any time.

 

Please contact us on 1-800-244-786 if you want to disburse a loan before the end of the listing period. We will disburse the loan to you without you needing to do anything if the loan request is fully funded, or if the listing period expires and the loan request is funded to at least your minimum loan amount.

 

If the listing period expires and the funding level has not reached your minimum amount, the loan request will be removed from the marketplace. You may be given the opportunity to re-list at different interest rate.

How does early repayment affect my loan?

There is no fee for prepaying your loan. We like good borrowers! Prepaying your loan in advance of its schedule results in the prepaid amount being applied to the outstanding principal of the loan. The dollar value of each repayment will remain the same, but the number of repayments remaining will reduce, so your loan is paid off faster.

 

Please note that after you make a prepayment, your next scheduled direct debit repayment will be processed from your account as per normal - so please only prepay an amount that leaves you enough remaining funds to meet your normal scheduled repayments.

What can I use the loan for?

Whether you are hiring staff, buying inventory, or just smoothing out your cash flow, Bigstone loans can help you seamlessly fund your business. Bigstone loans are for small businesses to fund their working capital, which means that you can use the loan for just about anything you need to grow your business. We do not lend for non-business purposes or for investment in real estate.

How is the loan interest rate set?

The loan interest rate reflects Bigstone’s assessment of the risk of lending to the particular borrower. We assess each borrower applicant, and set the interest rate for their loan request, using a rigorous proprietary risk assessment approach, which takes into account: the business’ current debt capacity historical financial performance the likelihood of default of similar businesses, directors’ creditworthiness, behaviour towards financial obligations, and the potential for us to collect on the debt in the event of default.

 

Before listing any loan request on the marketplace, we verify the identity of the directors and business owners, conduct document checks, and perform a credit file analysis for the borrower applicant and its directors. Once we have completed our credit assessment, we will either reject the loan application as being too risky, or progress the application to a loan request with an interest rate that reflects the borrower’s creditworthiness.

 

Riskier applicants are assigned higher interest rates, while those with the lowest risk will get the lowest rates.

How do Bigstone's interest rates compare with other options?

Bigstone loans are priced very competitively when compared to other business loan providers. Because we fund our loans directly from investors, we minimise the intermediation (middle-men) between the providers of funds and the borrower. This means both parties can get a better deal. We encourage you to shop around to compare prices, because we are confident that we have the lowest rates for comparable products.

Can I find out exactly how my interest rate was determined?

We can’t tell you all our secrets, or we'll be out of business! Accurately pricing borrowers riskiness is a big part of the value that we bring to investors. But we are transparent about the results of our assessment, and we display the components of that result as green-amber-red lights for each financial metric in the description of your loan listing in the marketplace.

What fees does Bigstone charge?

We charge borrowers an upfront market access fee of between 1 and 5% of the loan request amount. The exact amount will depend on how risky your loan is assessed to be - less risky borrowers will be charged a lower fee! We don't charge this fee until your loan is funded through the marketplace - no loan, no fee.

 

There are:

  • No hidden fees,
  • No facility fees,
  • No application fees,
  • No pre-payment fees.

We also charge borrowers that are in default a collections fee of $10 per day, and penalty interest in accordance with your loan agreement. If you don't have enough funds to process a direct debit request, we charge you a $30 fee to process the payment default.

What information do I need handy to apply?

Bigstone loans are fully amortising. That means that each repayment is of both principal and interest, and will be of the same amount. The amount of your repayment will depend on your total loan amount (including fees), the interest rate of your loan, and the duration of your loan.

 

Unlike many of our competitors, we never charge you a fee for repaying early. What's more, you can make early repayments of any amount (not only the whole loan). That means that you can get ahead on your loan when you have a good week!

What information do I need handy to apply?

To complete the application in full you’ll need:

  • Your company's ACN and TFN Access to your business accounting statements,
  • and 2 forms of Government ID for each director.

The more information you share about your business, more accurately we can assess your loan risk, and the better your interest rate will be!

What security do I need to provide for my loan?

Bigstone does not take security over any specific asset. However, all Bigstone loans are secured by a general security agreement with the company, which we register on the Personal Property Security Registry.

 

We also require that company directors provide a personal guarantee that the company will pay back the loan. We know that personal guarantees can be a headache for small business people - but our investors need the reassurance that you will back your business, so they can too.

 

Don't worry, unlike mortgage lenders we don't make you pay for valuations of your land or equipment, or put a mortgage on your home.

Does making an application affect my credit score?

Our calculator gives you an interest rate range that your loan request will be listed at loan market. If you like the range and finalise your application, we need to give you an accurate price (rather than a range) and we need to check your rating with credit reporting agencies to give an accurate final interest rate.

 

Each director must also provide permission for us to check your credit history. This means that an application for a Bigstone loan, just like most loan applications, may be recorded on your credit history, and may affect your credits score.

Can I apply for a loan for a different company that I own?

Yes, of course. Just make sure you tell us in the application process which company the loan is for.

Can I cancel my loan request once it's listed in the marketplace?

No. Once a loan request is in the marketplace, you cannot cancel it. Once the funding level reaches the minimum loan amount, you are committed to accept the loan (although, remember that you can repay early at any time).

 

If the loan request expires without reaching your minimum loan amount, we may offer you the option of relisting the loan request on the marketplace, but you are not obliged to do so.

What is the legal entity that I am borrowing from?

If your loan request is successful, your loan will be made by the Bigstone Loan Fund. Primary Securities Ltd is the trustee of the Bigstone Loan Fund, and is the counterparty to your loan agreement. You have no direct contractual relationship with investors.

 

Bigstone Capital Pty Ltd is the asset manager for the Bigstone Loan Fund, and will administer the loan on the trustee's behalf.

How do I make repayments?

Loan repayments are made by direct debit from your nominated bank account, on a weekly basis. If you wish to make an early prepayment, please contact us 1-800-244-786, and we will provide you with Bpay details.

What information can an investor see about me and my business?

We do not identify you or your company in the loan request. Your loan listing contains a number of indicators as to the financial health of your business, which are displayed TO investors as a green, amber or red signal.

 

You can view your listing in the marketplace and see the information that we provide to investors. As a borrower, all information you provide to us (except personally identifying information, or transaction level information (from your bank account or accounting system) could be made available to potential investors.

 

Once a loan has been made only basic summary information is available to investors. Detailed information remains available to investors that funded the loan.

What would happen if Bigstone becomes insolvent?

Bigstone Capital Pty Ltd is the operator of the Bigstone Loan Marketplace. However, Primary Securities Ltd is the trustee of the Bigstone Loan Fund, and holds all cash and loan assets on trust for investors in the Bigstone Loan Fund. If Bigstone Capital Pty Ltd becomes insolvent, the Trustee will continue to protect investors and administer the outstanding loans. Your loan will continue to be legally binding, and you must continue to make loan repayments as per your repayment schedule.