Unbolted is a new asset lending company that is providing quick and easy solutions to suit the borrower’s needs. Boasting low guarantee rates and a strong online presence it looks set to stake its claim in this market.
What is the background of the company?
Unbolted was founded by Rito Haldar and Ashwin Parameswaran, and provides a simple and fast opportunity for borrowers to receive an immediate transfer against their personal assets in complete privacy. Rito and Ashwin founded the business as they saw the transformation of the financial services sector and wondered why no-one had given the mass affluent access to the same type of services that private banking customers had received for years. The customer is therefore the driver of the business like never before, and they are guaranteed the best rates, as well as the best user experience. Unbolted brings together a senior management team with over 50 years of cumulative experience and strong academic backgrounds with a wealth of insight from the financial and banking sectors; Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Merrill Lynch. Our knowledge of the mass affluent and high net worth customer, as well as their experience in risk management, derivative markets and hedging, is exceptional.
Why art financing?
The Unbolted business model works for any asset class with a secondary market, which subsequently includes the UK art markets. As interest in art continues to grow, so has the demand for the business of lending against it, in order to finance and expand collections. Art is immensely enriching, and as the dynamics of the art market in the UK are changing, so is the way people access the required capital. At Unbolted, not only can would-be borrowers can apply for secured loans at market-beating rates, but sale advance loans are also offered. This means that borrowers can bid for new works at auction, without having to sell existing pieces – particularly as there is always the uncertainty that the bid ultimately may not be won, and works may subsequently have been sold in vain.
What would you say is your USP?
Unbolted offers the lowest rates to borrowers by offering a simple, transparent and easy to use p2p platform, with no credit checks. Our lenders appreciate the benefits of lending against collateral and are not looking to profiteer but to get a very good yield on their investment.
What is your preferred type of art?
We do not discriminate against art class or people, so for any type of art where there is a viable secondary market, we can lend against it. Artwork value, of course, varies enormously depending on several factors, so we will need to verify the provenance and authenticity of any works before we can lend against them, but this is done through our specialist valuation partners.
What are the main kinds of deals that you are doing?
Primarily with individuals, we lend from £20,000 to £1000,000 (although loan offers can start from as little as £500). With dealers and collectors, this figure is generally slightly higher.
What is your perfect deal?
Where the provenance of the art is clear and the secondary market exists.
Do you require guarantees?
No, the asset itself is given as collateral so no other guarantee is required. We don’t carry out credit checks, and all we need to ascertain is that borrowers are UK residents.
How big a loan do you offer? Would you offer syndication for bigger deals?
There is no limit on our lending capability, although for loans over £30,000, the loan price is bespoke. No we wouldn’t offer syndication. As we are a peer-to-peer lender, we already have a diversified lending base.
What advice are you giving your clients in the current market?
We do not provide advice to clients. All we do is to provide loans to borrowers against their assets at market-beating rates, and our lenders can get a good return on their investment.
What trends are you seeing?
The main one is the increase in the amount and diversity of art assets being used as loan collateral – more now than we’ve seen previously. This is clearly an indication of the increase in art consumption and appreciation, and the diversification of means of financing collections.
What are your predictions for the market?
Whilst we’re not looking to duck the question, we’ll refer to a quote from Nils Bohr, Nobel laureate in Physics – “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
Why do you think prices have risen?
Prices have risen because currently, demand is exceeding supply.