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The topic of investing is complex, just like the problems in our world. Here you will find everything you need to know about sustainable investing, crowdfunding and bettervest. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us by email or phone. .

Questions according to bettervest

bettervest is an online investment platform for sustainable investments that contribute to a livable future for people and planet.

bettervest GmbH is a contractually bound intermediary in the sense of § 2 para. 10 German Banking Act (KWG) and acts in the brokerage of financial instruments exclusively in the name, for the account and under the liability of the financial services institution Effecta GmbH Florstadt. Effecta GmbH is an institution regulated by the German Banking Act (KWG).

We broker securities and investments between investors and issuers (the project owners). Investors can invest their money with us in an uncomplicated and future-oriented way. There is the possibility to invest in bonds (securities) as well as subordinated loans (investments) of different issuers. In this way, investors can diversify their portfolio and have the opportunity to earn attractive interest rates without any disadvantage to people or the planet. Project owners, in turn, receive financing or partial financing through our platform, with which they implement socially and ecologically sustainable measures, e.g. the purchase of solar products, the installation of an efficient combined heat and power plant or the energy-efficient renovation of a property. Each project either generates cost savings or generates income. These are used to repay the loans including interest.

The entire investment process is handled online. This is faster, cheaper and saves a lot of paper and unnecessary shipping.

There are many sustainable and impactful projects waiting to be funded and many people who want to put their money to good, meaningful use for profit. We create a space where project owners and investors meet to jointly close this funding gap. We provide the technical infrastructure and the necessary know-how. We involve trustees and paying agents to protect the flow of funds and ensure lean and smooth processes.

At bettervest, sustainability is not just the focus, it is part of our DNA. Since our founding in 2012, our focus has broadened from CO2 savings to sustainability at large. In doing so, we have specifically made the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals our mission.

We always follow strict social and environmental criteria when selecting our projects. In this way, we ensure that you only finance projects that contribute to a future worth living. For example, projects related to factory farming, weapons and tobacco are excluded. So, of course, is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. But we focus much more on positive criteria. First and foremost, projects must have a positive impact on people, the environment and the climate. Our focus is on the careful use of resources such as water or energy. A detailed list of our inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found in our Ethics Policy.

It is important that projects meet our sustainability criteria, which are listed in detail in our Ethics Policy. On the other hand, projects go through a project selection process in which, depending on the project, an external energy consultant evaluates the energy measures.

The founding team of bettervest has various competencies that are important for our business model: Futurology and cognitive science, IT architecture and software development, and engineering in the field of renewable energy and development cooperation. Get to know our team here.

Since September 2018, bettervest GmbH and Triodos Bank Deutschland have been cooperation partners. Triodos was founded in 1980 in the Netherlands and is now Europe’s leading sustainability bank with branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, the UK and Germany as well as a representative office in France.

The focus of this strategic partnership is primarily on jointly addressing private and business customers in the sustainable finance sector. Another goal is the joint development of new types of financial products that combine the strengths of a bank with the possibilities of a digital platform. More information on the background of the cooperation can be found on our cooperation page.

In addition to the cooperation, the Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation, a foundation managed by Triodos Investment Management (a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank), has purchased shares in bettervest. The stake amounts to less than 25 percent. The Triodos Sustainable Finance Foundation finances initiatives that contribute to the transition to a more sustainable world and has, for example, already invested in the Dutch investment platform “Duurzaaminvesteren.nl”.

Since December 2019, bettervest is a so-called tied agent under the liability umbrella of Effecta GmbH. As the operator of the bettervest.com platform, bettervest GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, acts as a “contractually bound intermediary” within the meaning of Section 2 (10) of the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz) when brokering investments and in doing so acts exclusively in the name, for the account and under the liability of Effecta GmbH, Florstadt.

We continue to ensure that the projects are presented on our platform based on our strict socio-ecological and economic criteria. Investors also continue to invest via the bettervest.com platform, but in accordance with the requirements of the Money Laundering Act, they must first go through an identification procedure (online via the Deutsche Post service), just as one does, for example, when opening a bank account.

All data collected on bettervest.com will only be passed on to Effecta within the framework of the legal requirements and will not be used for advertising or other purposes./p>

Questions from Investors

Investor must be at least 18 years old.

To register as an Investor:in, click on the Register button that appears in the upper right corner of the browser window. To register, simply enter your email address and a password. Then click on the confirmation link that will be sent to you by email to complete your registration.

In order to submit your first investment, you will need to complete your profile and identify yourself via identification procedure after completing the investment. All details will be sent to you by email.

 

bettervest offers investors the opportunity to invest insubordinated loans and securities (e.g. bonds or profit participation rights).

No, there are no fees for the investor for investments on bettervest.com.

Yes. Before you can make an investment on bettervest for the first time, you have to go through an identification procedure. The identification is done via the service of Deutsche Post and can be done conveniently online. This usually only needs to be done once, unless you change your name or address.

You will receive an e-mail to start the identification process after submitting your investment. There is no cost to you for this. Usually you should have your identity card handy, you will be informed about further details in the actual identification process.

In case of subordinated loans, your money will be transferred via a payment service provider, in case of bonds via a so-called paying agent (bank).

For corporations (GmbH, AG, KGaA, UG) there is no investment threshold if the issue volume is between €100,000 and €6 million. The legal form is requested during registration, so this information is taken into account later in the investment process. For corporations, no self-disclosure is requested.

For all other companies, the same thresholds apply as for individual private persons:

For an investment amount above €1,000 up to and including €10,000, a company must provide a self-disclosure confirming either that it has freely disposable assets in the form of bank balances or financial instruments of at least €100,000, or that the total amount that one wishes to invest in assets on behalf of the company does not exceed twice the average monthly net income of the representing company.

In the case of an investment amount exceeding 10,000 euros, it is necessary to provide a self-declaration confirming that the total amount that one wishes to invest on behalf of the company does not exceed two times the average monthly net income of the said company.

The self-declaration will be automatically requested during the investment process if the above-mentioned thresholds are exceeded.

Risks and Collateral

In principle, there is a risk of total loss. Investors should therefore always familiarize themselves thoroughly with general and project-specific risk information before investing.

In the case of bonds, in contrast to subordinated loans, there is the possibility of contractually incorporating hedging instruments such as sureties, default guarantees or pledges of the installed technologies. Nevertheless, there is always a risk of total loss with both bonds and subordinated loans, i.e. the loss of your entire invested capital.

Securities/ Bonds

A bond (also known as a fixed-interest security, bond or debenture bond) is an interest-bearing security. It is a security that grants the creditor the right to repayment and to payment of agreed interest. Additional rights may also be agreed. Typically, bonds serve the debtor for – usually long-term – debt financing and the creditor for capital investment. (Source: Wikipedia)

As with other financial investments, the purchase of a bond is associated with risks. There is also a risk of total loss with bonds and it is advisable to familiarize yourself intensively with the relevant risk information before considering a subscription.

The securities information sheet (WIB) contains general information about the issuer, the type of product, the risks, the issuer’s level of indebtedness and the costs and commissions associated with the security. The WIB is the counterpart to the VIB (asset information sheet) which is issued for investments.
To purchase a bond, you must have a securities account and have completed registration and identification with bettervest. Subsequently, the issuer decides on the allocation of your investment.

You can open a securities account either at your house bank or at an online broker.

Please note that securities accounts at the following banks can unfortunately not be used for an investment in a security on bettervest.com: Augsburger Aktienbank, Umweltbank, Frankfurter Fondsbank (FIL Fondsbank), Fondsdepotbank, Dekabank, Union Investment, trade republic.

You can invest in a bond at bettervest by going through our online process. To complete this process it is mandatory that you have identified yourself online through our partner Deutsche Post. After submitting your subscription, you will receive an email with the next steps including a link to start the identification process. This can be done conveniently on your computer, cell phone or at the branch.

The issuer will then check the allocation of your investment. Once the allocation has been made by the issuer, the fixed-income security is booked into your securities account, which you have deposited in the investment process. Overall, the process can take several weeks, on average between 4-8 weeks.

bettervest only acts as a tied agent, which means we do not have access to your money at any time. As usual with securities, this is managed by a so-called paying agent (bank) and then booked into your securities account.

In principle, you can invest from €250. This is determined by the issuer and may be higher if necessary. The maximum amount depends on the total funding amount and, depending on the project size, is €25,000 or is even unlimited. These limits are set by the legislator. Your personal funding threshold is explained as follows: For an investment amount above €1,000 up to and including €10,000,you must submit a self-disclosure in which you confirm that you either have freely disposable assets in the form of bank balances or financial instruments of at least €100,000 or that the total amount you wish to invest does not exceed two times your average monthly net income. In the case of an investment amount exceeding €10,000, € you must provide a self-disclosure statement confirming that the total amount you wish to invest does not exceed two times the amount of your average monthly net income. The self-disclosure will be automatically requested as part of the investment process if the above thresholds are exceeded.

Each bond is structured differently. Therefore, investors should find out exactly how the bond is collateralized on a case-by-case basis. You can always find out whether and how the bond is collateralized on the respective project page.

This depends on the interest method agreed with the issuer. In general, a fixed date for the start of the interest payment is common. This date is usually at the earliest the date of the project start. If you invest later, so-called accrued interest is then incurred. The accrued interest accrues at the time of purchase, because on the next interest payment date the interest amount for the entire period covered, i.e. from the start of interest, is paid out, regardless of when the investment was made. These are calculated directly on the specified investment amount in the investment process.

The payment of interest or redemption is made via the paying agent to the reference account of your deposit.

As with subordinated loans, you will receive project updates directly from the issuer of the project.
These can also always be found in the implementation tab on the project page. However, you can also contact the project owner at any time and ask questions about the project status. You can find the contact details for this in your investment under the “Details” item.

Banks have higher collateral requirements, demand very restrictive contract designs and are more risk-averse. Of course, this in turn means that investors should be aware of the total risk of loss with securities brokered here.

Another difference is that in the past, bonds were only interesting with much higher sums; with the integration of a digital platform, automated processes and new legal frameworks, they are now interesting for more companies and even with smaller amounts.

We will contact you in case of insolvency of a project owner and inform you about all further steps.

Currently it is not possible to invest in the name of another person.

Subordinate loans

In its basic structure, a subordinated loan is an ordinary loan. However, certain rules apply to this loan. Particular attention must be paid to subordination. This means that in the event of the insolvency of a project owner (borrower), investors as subordinated creditors are only paid after all other senior creditors. Subordinated loans thus belong to a significantly higher risk class.
With subordinated loans, investors are only serviced after all other creditors in the event of insolvency. This subordinated servicing is also known as subordination. The loan agreements that you sign as an investor:in on bettervest.com are therefore a loan with qualified subordination. All claims of the investor arising from the loan agreement – in particular the claims for repayment of the loan amount and for payment of interest – cannot be asserted against the borrower if this would cause insolvency for the borrower. As an investor, you thus bear a (co-)entrepreneurial risk that is higher than the risk of a regular lender. The lender does not become a shareholder of the borrower and does not acquire any shareholder rights. It is not a so-called gilt-edged investment, but an entrepreneurial investment with an equity-like liability function. More information on the legal basis of your investment can be found in the respective risk note of the project.

Due to subordination, there is always the possibility of total loss when investing in subordinated loans. It is therefore not advisable to invest your entire savings in subordinated loans, but only an amount at which you can cope with a possible total loss. To spread your risk, a portfolio strategy is also advisable. For this purpose, divide your available budget among several projects of different issuers.

Basically, the higher risk is reflected in the interest rates, which are significantly higher for subordinated loans than for other asset classes. Invest your money accordingly in a risk-conscious manner and include subordinated loans as an admixture in your portfolio.

It is always advisable to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the risk information before investing.

Both the yield and the term are determined by the project owners (borrowers). Generally, terms are based on projected cost savings or revenues that will occur from the implementation of the project. In principle, these savings and revenues are sufficient to cover the repayment of the loan, including return and fees. Repayments should be able to be made without an additional source of funding and within a realistic range. See respective project description for details.

There are different reasons why a project owner does not go to a bank for a loan.

In Germany, many project owners, especially medium-sized companies, want to reserve their equity capital for important day-to-day business investments. They also often keep the credit lines at their house bank free for supposedly more important things than energy savings. From their bank’s point of view, the subordinated loans that bettervest arranges (as so-called mezzanine capital) are also valued like equity. Thus, thanks to the acquisition of a subordinated loan, the project owners can also obtain larger loans from their bank (so bettervest does not see itself as a competitor of the banks either, but as a possible partner and beneficial supplement). In addition to the financial aspects, however, marketing and communication also play an important role. The project owner can use the publicity effect of a financing campaign in the social media and the press to win new customers, to make existing customers aware of its sustainability commitment, and to sensitize its own employees to sustainability and get them involved.

In emerging and developing countries, on the other hand, bank loans are often difficult to acquire or simply too expensive (interest rates of over 20% are the rule rather than the exception here). In addition, local credit institutions or banks often have no experience with financing renewable energy projects or development projects. This makes the application for a loan much more difficult. Subordinated loans offer an affordable and non-bureaucratic alternative at this point.

The majority of subordinated loans brokered through bettervest are annuity loans. With annuity loans, the repayment amounts are constant, consisting of interest and repayment, also known as installment payments.

The VIB is a brief information, quasi the “package insert” of the offered investment. It informs the investor on a maximum of three A4 pages about the essential characteristics of an offered investment (source: BaFin).

At the moment, only bank transfers are possible.

You can invest from as little as €50. Higher amounts can be invested in €50 increments.

For an investment amount above €1,000 up to and including €10,000,you must provide a self-declaration in which you confirm either that you have freely disposable assets in the form of bank balances or financial instruments of at least €100,000, or that the total amount you wish to invest does not exceed twice the amount of your average monthly net income.

In the case of an investment amount exceeding €10,000 you must provide a self-disclosure confirming that the total amount you wish to invest does not exceed two times the amount of your average monthly net income. The self-disclosure will be automatically requested as part of the investment process if the above thresholds are exceeded.

First, your money ends up in an escrow account. As soon as the required funding amount has been reached, the money is paid out to the project owner. The owner then uses the loan to implement the measure described in the project.

All investors enter into a loan agreement with the project owner through their investment. This contract specifies, among other things, exactly what the money may be used for. In the case of an annuity loan, an amount calculated in advance and specified in the contract flows annually; in the case of a bullet loan, only the interest payment is made annually and the repayment is made in the final year.

If available, the so-called “pre-interest” applies, i.e. as soon as your transfer has been received by the payment service provider, interest is paid on your investment at the specified pre-interest rate. The regular interest rate mentioned in the project profile starts after the successful funding end or the resulting start of the interest rate. Please note that the funding is only considered successful once the two-week right of withdrawal, which all investors have, has expired.

You will receive a certain amount back every year, the so-called annuity. This usually includes both interest and a repayment amount. Only in the case of a bullet repayment do you receive only an interest distribution each year. At the end of the term, you will also receive the repayment and the agreed interest with the last payment. Please note our risk information.

In the investor section you will find the payout data for your investments. The payout will be made to the account you used when depositing the money. If your bank details change, you will find a form in your profile with which you can inform our payment service provider about the changed bank details.

At bettervest we attach great importance to the social and environmental impact of your investment. Therefore, you will of course be informed about events in the project, for example when the project has been fully implemented or the project owner has uploaded the annual reporting. We will inform you by mail as soon as there are relevant updates. These can also always be found in the implementation tab on the project page. You can also contact the project owner at any time and ask questions about the project status. You can find the contact details for this in your investment under the “Details” section.

We will contact you in case of insolvency of a borrower and inform you about all further steps.

In the following document, we have compiled information on questions regarding the tax treatment of losses from subordinated loans.

The contents do not constitute a binding legal statement, nor do they constitute tax advice, and are intended solely for your guidance.

Should you decide to claim losses for tax purposes, we strongly recommend that you seek professional advice or support from an experienced tax advisor.

 

If a project owner is insolvent, the investors in the respective project will only receive a refund of their loan after all other creditors (e.g. debt providers such as banks) have been satisfied by the project owner. Insolvency can then lead to a total loss of the investment. Once insolvency proceedings have been completed, a loss can usually be claimed against the tax office for tax purposes.

Currently it is not possible to invest in the name of another person.

Organizational Questions

You can edit your address in your profile. Please note that when you change your registration address, you trigger a new identification procedure.

You can request your password again in the login screen under “Forgot password”.

You can change your e-mail address in your profile under e-mail address.

The legislator has defined a new regulation for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism on 01.01.2020, according to which investors must now identify themselves.

So before you can make an investment on bettervest, you have to go through an identification process. The one-time identification* is done via the Deutsche Post service and can be done at a local post office or online. As a rule, online identification takes no more than 10 minutes. This does not incur any costs for you.

After your investment, you will receive an e-mail with all the necessary steps for identification.

*Re-identification is only necessary if you change your name or address.

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