Author Archive

EU nationals in the UK. A disgrace

Walking past various high street outlets in my locality,  every other shop, barbers or cafe is advertising for staff. This resonates right through the market with at least two of my clients stating that staffing uncertainty has put a brake on their intentions to expand

Suprised?  Im not. The UK governments tardiness is guaranteeing rights for the 3m EU citizens who have made their homes here disgraces this nation and quite frankly the finger has to be pointed at the hapless PM

The Evening Standard under George Osbourne is no fan of May but these points are pertinent

Last June, in the days immediately after the referendum, David Cameron wanted to reassure EU citizens they would be allowed to stay. All his Cabinet agreed with that unilateral offer, except his Home Secretary, Mrs May, who insisted on blocking it.

And who can disagree with this?

So why prolong the uncertainty for these families? The Government should announce unilaterally that any Europeans who are living here will be able to remain here, work here, pay taxes here and use the public services they help pay for. You wouldn’t need any complicated reciprocal agreement with Europe, or provide any role for the European Court of Justice. It would be, as we said before, an act of national self-interest dressed up as a gesture of international generosity. It would almost certainly force the hand of European governments to offer the same to Britons. Morally right, economically sound and diplomatically smart: such opportunities don’t come along very often in life, and we should grab them.


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Asset financing. Too flash?


At a recent get together of a (very decent) lender’s “business development managers” and brokers, I was again struck about one of the biggest issues the invoice and asset finance sector faces.


To put it bluntly and at the risk of offending some, too many particpants come across as the everyones worst estate agent nightmare. There is also the dismal laddish posturing with the attendant body language. Not that this applies to everyone of course, but its prevalent

I believe this matters. The lenders are sometimes still living in the world of hard selling facilities to borrowers. Admittedly this is less noticable than in times past but the attitude  still resonates with businesses many of whom remain hostile to debtor finance.

The industry needs a shift in attitude. The best business development managers are effectively advisors and partners to the clients. Of course, its my role to manage this relationship and it is vital because debtor finance is so vital to the businesses success of failure as well as being an ever shifting profile

The flash salesman might work fine when leasing a photocopier or buying some fringe product such as employee insurance but when imposed on the possibly the most vital decision a business may make then it is illustrative of the continuing disconnect between businesses and lenders.


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Interest rate rise would “ruin 80000 businesses”



According to R3, the Insolvency body. And they are talking about a rise of just 0.25%

Do these people have calculators to hand?

A rise of a quarter % on borrowing of £300k is ….   £750.  Lets say we are dealing with fairly heavy SME borrowings of £2m then we are talking about £5k per annum

Are these amounts really going to tip these businesses over? You decide for yourself but the press should know better than simply parrot alarmist statements from certain professional bodies

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Latest World Bank Ease of business index

world bank

Every year I drop in a summary of the very interesting World bank’s Ease of business index. This compares every nation on a range of criteria. Seperate indexs are available for items such as “ease of credit” and “setting up a business” which contribute to the overall rating which I am reviewing here

The first thing to note is that there isnt really much change but there are a handful of interesting ratings for those that may not be familiar

The UK comes in at 7, just above the US at 8. The cariation has been between 4th and 10th in the last ten years but I do also recall that there isnt a hige variation in the ratings between the top ten.

Germany comes in at 17, which is higher than previously but Ireland has slipped out of the regular top ten rating to 18th. On the other hand the Czech Republic has risen for 75 just four years ago to 27, which of course signals some major reforms. Less benefical major reforms might explain why Canada has crashed from 4th in 2007 to 22nd in 2017.

The constant surprise is The Netherlands. This traditionally enterprising trading nation is often stuck at around 30. France and Spain are similarly placed, which is less of a surprise. Switzerland is sliding down the index each year too, sitting at 31.

China barely ever improves, sitting at a lowly 78. South Africa is sliding towards the ratings of other African states, now 74 having been 28 in 2007. No real surprise given the situation there but where is the most startling result?

I would suggest it is Russia. Now 40 on the list, which is higher than Belgium Italu and Chile. In 2011 Russia was 123rd on the list. Clearly there are many reasons not to admire the Russian administration but under the radar it would appear that there have been some very significant reforms



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Arrogant Peer to Peer lender




When blogging, I naturally have to be careful about naming names. This bothers some readers but the reasons why are obvious. The flipside is that there will be enough hints for regular observers to know who I am refering to

This week I received a mail from a major peer to peer lender (not invoice finance). I was told that unless I “Completed a deal” with them before the end of June then I would be deleted as an “introducer” (I dislike that description)

Once deleted I would be obliged to refer business through one of their appointed brokers, who will no doubt take a cut of the commission. My response consisted of two words.

It was hardly as if I had been inactive with this lender, having discussed around half a dozen accounts with them over the past year of which at least two resulted in offers which the clients didn’t take up. But thats by the by

The reason given is that it was “too much administration” to service so many “introducers”. What complete bollocks. What “servicing” do they think we need?

So what is the motivation here? Clearly there is an arrangement of some sort with the brokers they will accept leads from and we can only speculate what it is. Seedy is perhaps a word that springs to mind.

Perhaps they are simply trying to bounce certain brokers into handing them business during a slow month? The response to that is that I will never ever work for anything other than the clients best interests

The fact of the matter is that under no circumstances will any of my clients be obliged to be charged for a broker’s commission who has done absolutely nothing more than pass an email on on my behalf.

Fortunately there are plenty of competitors in the market, one of whom has already described this lender’s position as “mental”. Maybe being the market leader has gone to their head a little in a hubristic manner or maybe its just a little bit worse than that

Either way, i will not be dealing with them again


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Late payments cost “3.4m jobs”

According to this article.

My usual approach is to ignore pieces where the headline figures leave you indredulous but some points within the piece are probably worth considering. This paragraph did leave me sceptical

Two-thirds of small business owners would hire up to five new members of staff if big business clients paid up – bringing a potential 3.4m jobs to the economy.

Further responses found over a fifth of business leaders would increase their marketing and sales budgets, while 17 per cent would increase the wages of their workforce.

Hmmm but this makes more sense

Further research has revealed low enthusiasm for the government’s incoming late payment tsar, tasked with supporting small suppliers in supply chain relationships. Just two per cent of micro business owners and freelancers believed the small business commissioner could fix the late payment culture.

Despite the extent of working capital held up in late payments, Business Advice previously revealed that unfair payment terms could be the real scandal. One small supplier told us that small business owners are often “bullied” into long payment terms and handed invoice times of up to 90 days.

All believable but it does beg the question that I am bound to ask

If a boost to cashflow is so fundamentally important to the business and is guranteed to bring about strong growth then why on earth are these businesses not financing their debtors? The costs are pretty low and surely if their comments had validity these would quickly be outweighed by the benefits



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Should Fred Goodwin stand trial?

My answer to that would be “yes” but there are two opposing opinions here 

It would appear that a settlement is going to be reached with the RBS shareholders that will preclude any evidence being given by the RBS management. In fact Goodwin has been silent since the collapse.

No doubt some will point to the rule of law here but the fact remains that if RBS had been anything other than a bank it would not exist today. The taxpayer rescued it and deserves some response. His £300k pension is being paid by us


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