To help you understand the risks involved when investing in shares on Crowdfooding, please read the following risk summary.
The need for diversification when you invest
Diversification involves spreading your money across different types of investments with different risks to reduce your overall risk. However, it will not lessen all types of risk. Diversification is an essential part of investing. Investors should only invest a proportion of their available investment funds via Crowdfooding and should balance this with safer, more liquid investments.
Risks when investing in equity
Investing in shares (also known as equity) on Crowdfooding does not involve a regular return on your investment. Investing in a fund may help to diversify your investments and to spread the risk but general risks while investing in equity continue to apply. Please bear in mind the following particular risks for equity and fund investments:
Loss of investment or tax relief
The majority of start-up businesses fail or do not scale as planned and therefore investing in these businesses may involve significant risk. It is likely that you may lose all, or part, of your investment. You should only invest an amount that you are willing to lose and should build a diversified portfolio to spread risk and increase the chance of an overall return on your investment capital. If a business you invest in fails, neither the company – nor Crowdfooding – will pay you back your investment.
Tax relief may also be lost due to your personal circumstances or due to the activities of a company.
Lack of liquidity
Liquidity is the ease with which you can sell your shares after you have purchased them. Buying shares in businesses pitching through Crowdfooding cannot be sold easily and they are unlikely to be listed on a secondary trading market, such as AIM, Plus or the London Stock Exchange. Even successful companies rarely list shares on such an exchange. In addition, if you purchase B Investment Shares, these are non-voting shares and may not be attractive to potential buyers.
Rarity of dividends
Dividends are payments made by a business to its shareholders from the company’s profits. Most of the companies pitching for equity on the Crowdfooding website are start-ups or early stage companies, and these companies will rarely pay dividends to their investors. This means that you are unlikely to see a return on your investment until you are able to sell your shares. Profits are typically re-invested into the business to fuel growth and build shareholder value. Businesses have no obligation to pay shareholder dividends.
Any investment in shares made through Crowdfooding may be subject to dilution in the future. Dilution occurs when a company issues more shares. Dilution affects every existing shareholder who does not buy any of the new shares being issued. As a result an existing shareholder's proportionate shareholding of the company is reduced, or ‘diluted’-this has an effect on a number of things, including voting, dividends and value.
Some businesses who pitch for equity investment through Crowdfooding offer A-Ordinary Shares, which may include pre-emption rights that protect an investor from dilution. In this situation the business must give shareholders with A-Ordinary Shares the opportunity to buy additional shares during a subsequent fundraising round so that they can maintain or preserve their shareholding. Please check a pitch, and the Articles of the company to see if the shares you are buying will have these pre-emption rights. Most companies do not offer pre-emption rights for B Investment Shares.
Loss of investment
If a business you invest in fails, neither the company you invest in – nor Crowdfooding – will pay you back you investment. You should only invest an amount that you are willing to lose and should build a diversified portfolio to spread risk.
Lack of liquidity
Liquidity is the ease with which you can sell your investments to a third party after you have purchased them. Investments in start-ups through Crowdfooding should be viewed as a long term and illiquid investment.