BVZL: Mr. Rensinghoff, North Channel Bank is a specialist bank that has been offering US Life Settlement investment services since 2010. What do you think makes this type of investment so special and who are your clients?
Stefan Rensinghoff: US Life Settlements are an interesting asset class because they are largely independent of the stock and capital markets and can therefore generate above-average returns even in times of low interest rates. Above all for institutional investors, but also for high-net-worth individuals, it is an attractive “alternative investment” that is often used as an addition to existing portfolios.
BVZL: What exactly does your offer look like?
Stefan Rensinghoff: On the one hand, investors have the opportunity to invest as lenders in existing financing with clients who have a long-term business relationship with the bank. The debtors are the respective Life Settlements investors; the payment obligations (in the event of death) of monoliners with an investment grade serve as collateral. Characteristic of these types of loans is the conservative LTV. The yields could be around 5.00% p.a., with terms of 1 to 3 years. Furthermore, we offer investors the opportunity to participate as syndication partners in our financing instruments within US Life Settlements. We manage the loan commitments for them and remain proportionately invested parallel with them throughout the term of the loan. Possible returns can range from 5.00% p.a. to 7.00% p.a. with terms of 1 to 5 years. Investors benefit from the negotiating skills of our bank less the fees for asset management. In both cases, this is an investment in “senior secured debt”. We are currently planning to set up a fund for investors who would like to invest directly in US Life Settlements but do not have the resources or experience to build up a balanced portfolio themselves. The independent development of such a portfolio is only recommended for experienced investors.
BVZL: What role does your US affiliate NorthStar Life Services play?
Stefan Rensinghoff: In cooperation with NorthStar, we cover the entire range of services relating to the financing of and investment in US Life Settlements. The independent direct investment in the asset opens up the highest return opportunities for the investor. An important contribution of our affiliate is its support in the acquisition, the review, the evaluation of policies, and the arrangement of a portfolio, including medical risk assessment, verification of personal and contact data, and a premium flow analysis. The investor benefits from the high level of expertise of the team around John McFarland, our CEO, who is regarded as one of the most renowned experts in this asset class.
BVZL: Mr. Rensinghoff, North Channel Bank has been undergoing change for some time and is in the process of repositioning itself. What exactly does that mean?
Stefan Rensinghoff: With my two colleagues on the Executive Board, Gunnar Volkers and Harald Zenke, I started around two years ago to reorganize and restructure the bank. In addition to our core business in US Life Settlements, we have established or are in the process of establishing new business areas. This includes structured financing with a focus on renewable energies, the offer to FinTechs to act as a frontingbank and the Financial Concierge Service, with which we want to support international, mid-sized business partners entering the European market. We see ourselves in particular as a partner for small and medium-sized businesses, as a bank of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
BVZL: North Channel Bank recently went live with a new website and the claim “Engage, Connect, Enable” immediately catches your eye. What do you mean by this?
Stefan Rensinghoff: One might think that these are a few nice marketing terms. For us, however, they express our mission statement and are therefore not empty words. The banks’ dedicated and intensive support (Engage) and network (Connect) should enable our customers to achieve their goals (Enable). We are interested in a value-based business approach. We work together with our customers to develop solutions for their wishes, needs or problems, and we look at them individually, without the usual standard approach. We seek a business relationship at eye level, based on trust and honesty with the goal of a long-term and sustainable partnership for mutual benefit.
BVZL: Mr. Rensinghoff, thank you for the interview.