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Archive for August, 2013

‘If this is such a good business, why do you need the money?’

i_love_my_retail_banker_mug-r20c705ce45b44b5392bc0bec4e7bad44_x7jgr_8byvr_324“One banker asked: ‘If this is such a good business, why do you need the money?’

From this story here

Quite frankly that leads me to believe that the recent redundancies have not gone far enough or simply have not taken quality of staff in to consideration. A banker who comes out with a such a statement should be thrown out of his office immediately and if it happens to be through a fifth floor window, then so be it

Absolutely clueless, patronising and insulting all rolled in to one

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Late payment fines…again

Vince Cable (who incidentally is my local MP and lives at the end of my road) has proposed a series of fines for “late paying” multinationals. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/yourbusiness/10238415/Businesses-may-face-late-payment-fines.html

A good idea? Hard to argue that ideally small suppliers should be treated with care by larger buyers but we live in the real world of hard money. The stock market puts a big premium on “cash on the balance sheet” and unless that fundamental and very frankly realistic assessment changes, then there suppliers will suffer. 

And the key issue is clarified perfectly here 

Philip King, chief executive of the Institute of Credit Management, which runs the PPC, said: “Late payment remains a serious issue, so [Mr Cable] is right to be exploring all possible options. He’s also right to link it to responsible capitalism. Treating suppliers fairly deserves more focus.”

However, he warned there would be “devil in the detail as to how guilty parties are accurately identified and how [a proposed levy would be implemented”. He added that any rule that relied on suppliers taking action would be unlikely to succeed.

 

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Trains “better than ever”

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http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/15/nostalgia-british-rail-trains-better

Despite some very predictable comments from the Guardian readers following the article (including one asking why the author should be “allowed” to write such a piece), I think he has a good point

No one will claim that the fare rises have been welcome but it is unarguable regularity of services has increased substantially and the overall comfort is streets ahead of where it was

Take my regular trips from Twickenham. Apart from the vastly improved carriages, there are maybe as many as double the number of services into London compared with twenty years ago. But most significantly I find that when i arrive on the platform for the fast service from Reading (pictured), I barely glance to see if its on time. Why? Because it is ultra reliable

The other remarkable transformation is weekend travel. Sunday trains are just as regular as midweek and almost as full. 

But there is one issue which is perhaps indicative of the other aspect of privitisation and inertia. Its at Waterloo and hopelessly under-utilised. 

Any guesses? 

 

 

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Funny foreigners

Export ConferenceIt is about time I had a rant so here goes…

Britain is a country which needs to export both goods and services. We are quite good at it and naturally success is a boost to our balance of payments. I would expect most banks to agree with that.

Or should i?

Last week I met a great new client who supplies engineers to the oil and energy industry. His clients are almost exclusively scandinavian and high profile. the client is seeking invoice financing and I am of course happy to help

Being “timesheet” work the debt is pretty free of disputes and you would also believe that a Norwegian oil company would not perhaps be seen as particularly risky. To put it mildly. Also being scandinavian, his clients invariably pay precisely to terms

All good and you would expect lenders to be scrambling to lend?

Not a bit of it. Export is seen by some so called credit analysts as “too risky”. Even without knowing who and where the debt is accounted to, it is dismissed as being strange and exotic and impossible to deal with

Now I have discussed this before but my bafflement at this short sightedness remains. A number of lenders are turning down a cracking good business here on the most bone headed of grounds. Presumably they still prefer to deal with creaking british retail chains?

If i as a credit manager refused to sanction credit to a massive scandinavian oil company on the basis that its too “exotic” (the exact word used by one lender) then my feet would not touch the ground. And rightly so

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Always meet your client

A recent Times columnist argument against the proposed high speed rail link is that in future with 3d video technology and so on, meetings between clients and suppliers will not be necessary

We have heard all this before

Last week I met a new invoice financing prospect in Cumbria. That is a four hour journey there and four hours back. Admittedly the journey was very comfortable by train and the final leg between Lancaster and ulverston is spectacularly beautiful, but was it worth it?

Of course it was. As hard as we tried to discuss over the phone there is absolutely no substitute for face to face meetings and frankly I seriously doubt there ever will be

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Vat nightmare

Vat queries are less than exciting and unfortunately certain regulations are seemingly about to become rather more complex

Here is an interesting piece on Steve bicknells always excellent blog

http://stevejbicknell.com/2013/08/06/eu-vat-b2c-e-services-to-be-vatable-where-they-are-consumed/?goback=%2Egde_2407425_member_263815650

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Metro bank buy SME Finance

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http://www.credittoday.co.uk/article/15707/online-news/metro-bank-buys-invoice-finance-firm

Quite a significant move and will be interesting to see how this pans out. I have placed deals with SME finance and have always appreciated the way that they look at the overall business rather than follow a “tick box” approach. 

Lets hope that continues

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