Lightyear is targeting UK freelancers, solopreneurs and sole director businesses with new business accounts that promise them the chance to earn more interest on company money.
Investment platform Lightyear is targeting more than four million sole director companies in the UK with its new business and investment accounts. Opening up to sole director companies and freelancers first, Lightyear's UK business accounts will have access to 3,500+ international stocks and funds and offers up to 4.5% interest on uninvested company cash.
The investment platform has partnered with BlackRock to give small businesses access to Money Market Funds (MMFs) without the usual high fees or minimum investments. MMFs track the real interest rate, a benefit usually reserved for larger companies. For UK small businesses, Money Market Funds are hard to access, with options in the market reserved for large corporates who can buy in with a £1 million minimum investment. These funds are normally accessed via business investment accounts that you can only open once you're a business of a certain size.
Business bank accounts
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the UK is home to 5.5 million private sector businesses - 4.1 million of which have no employees. However, most business accounts with high street banks pay little or no interest and freelancers and sole director businesses often find it hard to access the stock market.
With another interest rate hike on the horizon, Lightyear says that the new business accounts could help freelancers and sole director companies make the most of their company funds, ensuring that excess corporate cash isn't eaten up by inflation while sitting in bank current accounts.
Higher interest rates
Lightyear is looking to open up its business offering to all types of SMEs and larger start-ups over the coming months. Martin Sokk, co-founder and ceo at Lightyear, said: "The retail investment market has come a long way in the last ten years or so … [but] the business market is miles behind. In fact, for the UK's solopreneurs, it basically doesn't exist. We're first focusing on the largest, but most underserved part of the market - sole owner businesses - then we'll open this out to multi-user and larger businesses in the next few months."
Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise and start-up investor, said: "Businesses in the UK need to make sure their cash is not draining its value against inflation, but they currently don't have enough options to do this. With today's high interest rate climate, Lightyear's launch of both business investment accounts and MMFs is a timely step towards helping entrepreneurs put their cash to work. Their new business accounts enable freelancers to earn interest and invest their otherwise stagnant cash, and their BlackRock MMFs partnership introduces these entrepreneurs to a whole new area of investing, previously reserved for larger corporates."
Written by Rachel Miller.