Our Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Development, Milena Naitoh, is back with her third Q&A to help prospective and existing investors understand how we manage your funds throughout your investing journey on the Validus platform in a safe manner.
Can you share how fund movements occur when I invest on Validus’ platform?
There are three main points to note:
Every investor will receive a unique Virtual Account Number (VAN) upon joining the Validus platform. The VAN tags your funds to a unique account number in the Validus escrow account. You’re able to transfer funds from your bank account directly, and they will be recognised automatically in your name. Using this escrow account mechanism, these deposited funds will be held in your name, where they are directly deployed towards investments on your behalf.
Key takeaway: As a MAS regulated entity, each investor has a unique account to which all of their investments will be tagged and tracked. We ensure strict separation of Validus’ operating account and the accounts of the investors’ capital. You can be assured that your funds are adequately safeguarded for investing through the platform.
When a new loan goes “live” on the Validus platform marketplace for funding, it will be available until investors commit to financing it through their accounts. Once the loan has been fully funded, VISTRA, our third-party escrow agent, will receive the corresponding funding instructions to release your funds in escrow towards financing that particular loan. This is only possible upon authorisation towards loan facilities you have selected to invest, and for which the corresponding authorisation and evidentiary documentation of the same are in place. Subsequently, funds will be disbursed to the borrower’s registered bank account. When loan repayment occurs, the amounts are tagged back to your account, including the corresponding interest earnings prorated to your participation in the loan.
Key takeaway: We respect investors’ privacy on the platform. This method ensures that borrowers will not have any information about their lenders while allowing you to have a live view of where funds are going and the specific amounts.
Once a facility matures, investors can expect repayment from either the end-buyer (if based on a disclosed/notified arrangement), or repayment may be swept into the Validus’ escrow account from the SME borrower. Principal and interest repayments will come directly from Validus’ escrow account to the participating investors in the particular loan ID (pro-rata to their share of the loan). Participating investors can expect to see an increase of funds in their escrow account balance as it is reflected immediately upon logging into their Validus account.
Key takeaway: Our system verifies these funds against the invoices financed to match repayment amounts with their corresponding unique loan ID. As borrowers might have multiple loans for various invoices on the platform, this ensures that repayment is credited towards the correct loan ID.
Why is an escrow account used for investors?
Most, if not all, similar platforms employ an escrow agent as a safeguard for business continuity purposes – this keeps investor money safeguarded and segregated from the viability of the business itself, which is linked to an active account. It ensures no misappropriation of funds for business expenses, and proceeds are only used as intended and instructed explicitly by the investors. At Validus, keeping your funds safe and fostering trust around the same is our priority. There are strict policies around fund governance set in place; investors have unique account identifiers, a live view of their balances linked to escrow on the platform, and a third-party escrow agent manages all inflows and outflows.
Key takeaway: Your funds are segregated from our Validus operating account. As an added layer of security, VISTRA manages the funds, preventing misappropriation or unauthorised usage and withdrawal.
I’ve not heard much about VISTRA; can you share more?
Founded in 1986 and known as OIL Hong Kong, the company underwent a rebranding exercise to emerge as VISTRA in 2006 and later came to Singapore in 2010 as VISTRA Trust (Singapore) Pte Ltd. They’re licensed by MAS under the Trust Companies Act (“TCA”) to provide trust services and adhere to the international standard of AML protocol.
Whether you are a prospective or current investor, you can take comfort in knowing platforms like Validus operate under the jurisdiction of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, where we adhere to the highest standards of fund governance, compliance, and AML/CFT policies. Licensing is a crucial part of our company’s DNA; we follow a rigorous due diligence process by MAS. Our Capital Markets Licence (CMS) reflects our commitment to ensuring a safe experience for all investors and SMEs looking for investment opportunities or a small business loan while conducting activities regulated under the Securities and Futures Act.
If you’re a prospective investor, you can catch up on our previous Q&As, where Milena answers some of the most common questions about SME lending and as an attractive alternative asset class to diversify your portfolio.
If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. Existing investors may also schedule a 1-on-1 call to discuss your portfolio and have your questions answered by our IR team.