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What I would like to see in 2014

Im not one for resolutions or seeing one year as significantly different from the nexy but here are a few random developments I would like to see next year

1. Personal guarantees. There is a wide chasm between the perception of the lenders on the borrowers on this issue and frankly I know which side i come down on. The PG is demanded in invoice financing to “concentrate the directors mind on collections if the business fails”. What rubbish and i wonder how often this is effective. So why not a warranty rather than the heavy over the top approach? Its a competitive market out there, so stop complaining and make yourself competitive on this sensitive issue

2. Asset lending. Think it through. It is a reflex response from lenders that lending can only be made against “tangible assets”. Why? A brand has value and whilst the book value can be overstated treating it as zero is unrealistic. When MFI went bust, guess which asset realised the highest value?

3. Underwriters. Stop acting like a herd and think commercially. The same mantras about the same debtors are trotted out time and again and often they are a little laughable. I had a perfect example at the end of last year which tempted me to name and shame the slew of underwriters who would be kicked down the stairs if they had refused the same credit in a genuinely commercial environment

4. Banks. We need more players in the market. With the unwelcome fading of the Co-op and retreat of Clydesdale, the business banking options are still too limited. There are some new players but they are too risk adverse and the major players are frankly far too often out of touch with the requirements of SMEs

5. Penalties. For lenders who are obstructive with changing providing obligatory details for changing banks and facilities. There should be a statutory time limit and heavy fines for non compliance

6. Companies house. No more suggestions from Vince Cable that accounts filing requirements are to be considerably loosened. Aside from the difficulties it will create for credit managers, this will only lead to restrictions in lending. A dangerous idea

And in the wider world

1. The EU. Because the crisis is less prominent now and certain countries appear to be getting back in track, there is a danger that the lessons will not have been learnt and that the idealistic push to greater integration will continue apace. I believe that it will be far from just the uk that will be very uncomfortable with this agenda. I would like to see the EU scale back it’s reach and concentrate on the trade and economics rather than politics

2. American resurgence. I want to hear less about the supposed success of the chinese model from those of an authoritarian bent and witness America lead the world once again. It’s free market can be a little raw for some tastes but fundamentally the values and freedoms as well as the remarkable spirit of enterprise is only to be admired.

3. London. The worlds number one city and booming as never before. But i want to hear less rubbish about how this “drains” the rest of the country and more about how it is the Uk’s economic driver. It is an international city and competing not with Birmingham but New York and Frankfurt. Envy from the regions at the capitals success has to stop. For a whole host of reasons, you would be worse off without us

4. London again. Crossrail is 20 years too late but will be a huge success (witness the stunning development of the London overground). Stop dithering and kick off the much needed crossrail 2 now

Happy new year

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