The current lending market.


I am often asked how the lending market is performing and its not always an easy question to answer. None of us handle a large enough share to give a conclusive answer. On the other hand conversations with the right people and monitoring certain indications can give a reasonable outline.

At the present time I would say that the invoice financing market is pretty stale. Many lenders and contacts will always claim they’ve “had their best month ever” of course so the true picture isnt always easy to ascertain, but I have my trusted sources

I have been quietly busy myself althoigh the pipeline is relatively low but more significantly lenders whos opinions I trust are saying much the same thing. The reasons for this are not hard to understand. Invoice financing is dependent on businesses seeking growth and with so much uncertainty around few enterprises are prepared to take risks. Brexit is the clear elephant in the room here

Its naturally easy for outsiders to state that there should be relatively little effect from the exit and I would certainly agree with them. The predicted effects of brexit have been laughably and irresponisbly overstated by so called experts such as Mark Carney right through to obsessives on social media. Much the same could be said about those claiming future benefits too. But for small businesses its their livelihood and prospertity thats on the line. Something those with career structures and wages often do not appreciate.

This has led to many lenders looking to find gaps in the market with alternative products and with the continuing growth of PTP lending this has greatly expanded the scope of the market

Its is now possible to obtain lending against items such as R&D tax credits as well as WIP balances. In fact ive just completed an excellent arrangement for an accountancy firm whereby WIP was a large element of the lend.

And there are still new entrants into the market. A major new player is a very long private established bank which has hired a very qualified team. With well over 50 lenders to choose from competition should remain fierce

And naturally enough all of these factors increase the role and importance of a broker who truly engages with your client and explores the market fully










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Damning report on Carillion


I am simply going to quote some of the salient paragraphs from the MPs report on the collapse of this seedy enterprise. There are any number of issues to consider here including that highlighted in my previous piece but most significant could be the fuel this gives to those that understandably state that too many of these major enterprises are run purely for the directors personal benefits without any long term thinking, commitment to employees and straightforward pride in the business

This has to stop.

Here are the quotes (taken from here)

Carillion collapsed as a result of “recklessness, hubris and greed” among directors who put their own financial rewards ahead of all other concerns, according to an excoriating report into the firm’s demise that spreads the blame between board members, the government, accountants and regulators

A damning 100-page report compiled by two select committees, published today, found that directors prioritised senior executive bonus payouts and dividends for shareholders even as the firm neared collapse, while treating pension payments as a “waste of money”.

A damning 100-page report compiled by two select committees, published today, found that directors prioritised senior executive bonus payouts and dividends for shareholders even as the firm neared collapse, while treating pension payments as a “waste of money”.

It claimed that KPMG had been “complicit” in signing off Carillion’s “increasingly fantastical figures” and internal auditor Deloitte had failed to identify “terminal failings” in risk management and financial controls, or “too readily ignored them”.

The report named Adam as the “architect of Carillion’s aggressive accounting policies”, which disguised the firm’s financial woes until July last year, when it admitted that £729m of revenues it had previously accounted for were unlikely to be obtainable.


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“Break up the big four”


A scathing report by MPs published today into Carillion accused the Big Four of being “complicit” in its collapse. They were “guilty of failing to tackle the crisis” at Carillion, “prioritising their own profits ahead of good governance at the companies they are supposed to be putting under the microscope.” It called for the firms to be dismantled to break up the “cosy club” audit market. The ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza warned, “It’s a watershed moment. If we don’t fix this I don’t think we’ll have a profession in 20 years’ time.”

Maybe the last sentence is a little melodramatic but this has been a serious problem for some consiederable time. The relationships between supposed auditors and large corporations is unhealthy and works for their own ends and not those of clients, suppliers, employees and shareholders. Reform is now surely essential

One possible solution would be that which was ( and maybe still is) imposed in Spain whereby if i recall rightly,  no audit firm can audit the same client for more than four years on the trot.



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More on the tiresome GDPR

Everyone seems to bound up with the process of “re permissioning” but is this at all necessary? My previous post indicated that at best this was probably not the case and at worst very ambiguous. If the contact has previously had the ‘unsubscribe’ option then it would appear to be GDPR compliant

Or is it? The following attempts to clarify in a lucid way but almost admits defeat.

Lawyers will always urge extreme caution but is this the correct approach? If you are going to lose contact with the vast bulk of your database because of “repermissioning” then that could be a serious issue but not one that will probably bother your lawyer unduly

Currently many marketers send messages without explicit consent, using ‘soft opt-in’. This enables brands to send existing customers marketing messages if the following criteria is met:

You only use the contact method (email, SMS, etc.) that were provided during negotiations for the sale
Customers are given a clear, easy opportunity to opt-out of marketing communications at the time of data collection, and in every subsequent message
Communications must relate to similar products or services to their purchase
The ability to use soft opt-in is possible under the ePrivacy Regulation (otherwise known as PECR, which sets out rules for sending electronic communications) and customer data can be processed under the grounds of legitimate interest to satisfy GDPR.

However, note that the updated PECR (at least, the draft version, which is currently undergoing ratification) has slightly altered the wording for the use of soft opt-in, as it can only be used during ‘negotiations of sale’, with contact limited to the ‘context of the sale of a product or service’.

There are three salient points for me

  1. The indications are clear that with previous unsubscribe options in place only new contacts will require a degree of “permission”
  2. Mailchimp is probably the biggest and almost certainly the best mail marketing outlet and they have guidelines rather than instructions. They have certainly not contacted users directly instructing them to be GDPR compliant (the unsubscribe function has always been a feature) .
  3. As with many other supposedly major changes in legislation there will be plenty attempting to sell you complete worst case scenarios for their own benefit.

My newsletters will continue to my selected database. You are welcome to be added to my database by contacting me on

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Return of the Milkman


Here is an interesting story of consumer choice seemingly driven by ethical concerns. The milkman is making quite a startling comeback with daily deliveries up from 800000 a day to a million in just two years. As someone who has had deliveries constantly for over 20 years, im pleased to see this. Aside from the concerns about supermarket plastic, mik simply tastes better out of glass. As do all drinks

But this is an indication of consumer preferences increasingly being about more than pure cost and its a trend that retailers would do well to keep in mind.

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Final part of my interview with Carlo

I really look tired!  It was a freezing day though

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GDPR. Cut to the basics


Like many businesses who conduct a proportion of their marekting through email newsletters, there has been a concern that the GDPR regulations would create difficulties

Many businesses are running all sorts of courses and seminars on this tiresome issue. My advice is dont bother

Many thanks to Marketing Eye for the above concise summary (expanded in clear language through the link).

By using the excellent Mailchimp, my clients have been able to “opt out” of my newsletters at any time.

That was all that was required

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