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Archive for February, 2016

More on the idiot Lord Turner.

Peer to peer lenders have rightly hit back hard at Lord Turner who has cemented the impression that too many of those close to the established banking industry have a near autistic lack of self awareness as well a possibly mentally unstable arrogance allied to pure stupidity. A potent mix

The responses from the peer to peer lenders are arguably quite restrained. Heavier language could have been directed at this failed administrator who presided over 2008

For instance

“The losses which will emerge from peer-to-peer lending over the next five to 10 years will make the bankers look like lending geniuses,” Turner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, saying he was worried nobody was checking whether individuals and businesses who borrow on P2P platforms will be able to pay back their loans.

Pardon? Who is he to make that judgement? Can this clown be taken seriously when he clearly has had zero contact with the lenders in question? And I can safely say that if he claims to have carried out any research whatsoever he is a liar. I know this from my own contact and brokering

I have previously stated some minor doubts I have about the nature of the ptp lending platform in general but his comments are best answered by the very lenders themselves.

Jane Dumeresque, chief executive of Folk2Folk, another P2P lender, made a similar point, saying: “To lump all P2Ps together and suggest they take a laissez-faire approach to risk is grossly inaccurate and revealing of Lord Turner’s lack of understanding of the broad nature of the P2P sector.

“There are a number of very different providers operating in the P2P arena and we would encourage customers to do their research and make sure they understand the difference between them.”

Meanwhile, Christian Faes, co-founder & chief executive of LendInvest, a P2P marketplace for property lending and investing, hit back at Turner on his own record, saying: “I don’t think we can trust the person who presided over the worst financial meltdown in history to tell us who are or aren’t lending geniuses.

 

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The garden bridge should be falling down

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/feb/14/garden-bridge-half-truths-deceptions-evasions-thames-london-rowan-moore

As I have previously posted, this strange addition to the London landscape is nothing more than a somewhat weird, expensive and inappropriate blight.

The view from Waterloo or Hungerfood bridge towards the city and St. Paul’s is one of the world’s iconic vistas. I am all for development and far from being a dreary reactionary conservationist who squeals at the prospect of the slightest alteration to the landscape but I cannot find a single positive angle to this somewhat ridiculous structure

The above article should be read

 

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A wake up for crowd funding and peer to peer?

imageLord Turner, a former city regulator has this week been quoted as stating

‘losses which will emerge from peer-to-peer lending over the next five to 10 years will make the worst bankers look like lending geniuses’

Some might quickly and in my view rightly retort that at least the peer to peer lenders understand the products that will supposedly bring them back down to earth. And it might also be stated that it is somewhat unlikely that their lending will bring the world’s financial system to the bring of collapse.

The pure lack of self awareness of those in the city banking industry or their so called regulators is breathtaking at times. You can almost feel the business community directing a football chant at out lordship along the lines of “where were you in 2008?”

Once that reaction has subsided the natural next question is, does he have a point and I think he does

As a broker, I strongly welcome the Alternative financiers as a complete breath of fresh air. They have greatly shaken up the marketplace in conventional lending, invoice financing and investment. They employ young and motivated staff and have very quick and efficient systems.

But it that is where the problems may start. The problem with lending is that it isn’t simply about numbers and this is especially the case with businesses. Some businesses are easier to assess than others of course but away from the bank statements and balance sheets the business is about the people involved and their culture and capabilities . This is an essential element

It is for this reason that asset based lenders will always require a meeting with the client before lending. Too often this is where the new lenders fall short. They are taking the human element out of credit assessment. Sure that can be fine for relatively limited lends but it’s a very risky game when assessing on going  substantial lending

You can have all the formulas and anaylsis in the world but nothing will ever tell you more about the borrower than sitting across a table.

PACT. The late payment database. Good idea or not?

February 4, 2016 1 comment

A new database has been set up to “name and shame” late paying businesses. Members pay £10 a month to access the details and also use the PACT logo as a deterrent against their debtors

The issue of small businesses being hammered by late paying corporations is not going away and it strikes me that the raw anger is increasing across the Sme community but is this the solution?

Two thoughts immediately spring to mind. Firstly I do find it a little doubtful whether many clients will be particularly bothered. The “you need us more than we need you” relationship will always be the biggest driver. However there is the otehr side of the coin.

If a client does care about its reputation and creditors are going public with on th record accusations of late payment then that is potentially dangerous. “Late payment” can be down to many factors and not all of these will be the debtors intransigence. Far from it.

Bad invoicing and any number of disputes can be responsible and frankly many creditors will be blind to their own failings here which will results in knee jerk accusations. A business taking exception to this may well consider engaging my learned friends

We all wish to see th e late payment culture curtailed but sadly I believe this is another scheme that will have little effect

 

 

 

 

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Curzon Cinemas.

imageA few years back I went to see a Woody Allen film called Match at the Curzon cinema in Mayfair. It was a pretty awful film in truth but there was one surreal moment where there was a seven of some of the cast visiting the cinema. And guess high cinema it was. Curzon Mayfair. You have expected them to walk through the door and continue watching the film

The Curzon cinema chain is almost revered by filmgoers. Curzon Soho is frequently voted London’s best cinema and when visiting it’s not hard to see why. It is a very strong brand and in recent times they have expanded remarkably with the number of locations expanded to twelve with the recent opening of a new cinema in Lewisham.

What has driven this success and ambition? Why is independent cinema thriving across London and the more affluent towns and cities across the country? It’s certainly not just the Curzon chain and the clue may also be in the takeover of the Odeon in Esher by the independent Everyman chain

For some time now a visit to the cinema for many was a somewhat deflating exercise with the local noisy multiplex being the only option. An appealing night out for many is not a tacky interior surrounded by popcorn and noisy teenagers. Demographics have also changed with the a huge more mature audience expecting quality and decent surroundings as part of the package of seeing a film that engages the mind

Furthermore people simply like to go out. What they do not necessarily s e as a good night out is a drive to a huge car park in a retail park with only a hotdog or McDonald’s as a culinary option. That does not change compete favourable with Netflix and a glass of wine

Curzon engage knowledgable staff and show an enthusiasm for the product. They are innovative and this resonates across the whole experience and there is perhaps a key lesson here

The competition for many sectors from the online retailers and providers, be they Amazon or Netflix, is hard to battle unless you can offer something they cannot. What they cannot clealy offer is an enjoyable experience in real time. IIt’s a takeaway as opposed to a meal in decent surroundings with great service. Curzon cinemas fill that gap as do retailers from Rough trade records through to John lewis.

This in itself will be th developing trend and challenge for many going into the future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worst places to work

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Barely a day goes by when I do not remind myself that life self employed is such a huge improvement on the dismal culture of the dreadful workplace. In truth for many years I was relatively fortunate in the music and advertising industries to generally work in good environments but even the very best culture denies you your true freedom and that makes many of us feel like a caged tiger

Some companies are clearly better places to work than others. Few grumbles arise from John Lewis for instance and surely that is reflected in the always excellent customer service and positive vibe that the stores emanate

Visiting Sports Direct is the other extreme. Surly staff and you can feel the negativity. It’s one of the businesses named in this excellent piec

The increasingly unlikeable Amazon is unsurprisingly also cited bit two of the other employers may just surprise you

 

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Tescos. The credit manager’s view

imageJust to add to my previous post, here is the view from Philip King who heads up the Institute of Credit Management

As he states, the biggest hurdle to overcome is attitudes and I share his scepticism that these will change in a hurry. Once the gaze is diverted, it’s sadly quite likely that there will be a slippage in the veneer of current “better practice” towards suppliers

Large businesses often have ingrained cultures which are hard to shift.

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