David Postings looks at Bibby Financial Services reports and studies

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My team at Bibby Financial Services continuously monitor the market to enable us to better service our customers. We often use the market insight gathered to produce regional or sectorial reports and our latest two reports are available on this blog.

SME Sentiment Scotland

I’ve blogged before about funding Scotland’s thriving SME sector, and prior to September’s referendum my team produced the SME Sentiment Scotland report, which was a look at the country’s small and medium sized enterprise sector.

The report was based on research conducted among 500 businesses and includes a look at typical business profiles, sources of business advice and growth expectations.

Building growth on a heritage of excellence

The publication of our West Midlands report coincided with the official opening of Bibby Financial Services’ West Midlands Business Centre and – again – I’ve written before about the thriving local economy in this region.

It’s now widely recognised that the West Midlands is a great place to do business and – developing beyond our strong industrial heritage – over recent years the region’s central location and supporting infrastructure links to the rest of the UK and further afield, have put it firmly on the map as an area of inward investment.

Livelihood businesses in the UK

Also available on my blog is our report based on microbusinesses in the UK. This was based on research we conducted among smaller businesses and we found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) would close their business at retirement, rather than selling it or passing it on to a family member. In fact, findings were picked-up by The Telegraph, where some of my comments on the report were also published.

I’ll continue to host the latest studies carried out by my team at Bibby Financial Services on this blog so check-back in future if they’re of interest.

Alternatively, if you have any questions or feedback on our reports or suggestions on topics for future studies, feel free to get in touch with my team at: www.bibbyfinancialservices.co.uk.

Thanks again for reading.

David Postings

UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

About David Postings

David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.

A welcome reward for our team in the North East

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I was pleased to hear that the Bibby Financial Services North East team were awarded Asset Based Lender of the Year for the second year running at the coveted Insider North East Dealmakers Awards this month.

The award was presented at the Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel in Newcastle on 4 September and you can find out more about the events on the Insider website.

Our regional presence

Based in Sunderland, the BFS North East team are just one of 18 offices across the UK, enabling us to deliver on the ground decision making at a local level and utilising our expert knowledge within different regions.

Allowing decisions to be taken quickly and efficiently allows us to continue to deliver the level of service our customers not only demand, but also expect.

Our team in the North East have worked extremely hard this year, and the award reflects their commitment to providing funding solutions for businesses of all sizes throughout the North East.

The awards themselves are nominated and voted for by the business community in the area, and this demonstrates the high regard in which my team are held in the community.

Thanks for reading.

David Postings

UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

About David Postings

David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. David has extensive knowledge of the commercial finance landscape.

You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.

Bibby Financial Services in the Guardian Small Business Network

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Research conducted by the Bibby Financial Services marketing team featured on the Guardian Small Business Network (GSBN) earlier this month.

The article points towards recent statistics from the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), reiterating what many small business owners experience: that businesses are not getting the financial support they need from the banks.

One in three SMEs looking for alternatives

The GSBN included figures from our own research showing that one in three SMEs is considering other forms of finance. The businesses we surveyed cited poor customer services and a lack of flexibility from traditional banking institutions as the main drivers for change.

I believe that small businesses are becoming more like consumers and they want to try different types of funding before taking them on to see if they’re compatible with their business model.

So it’s crucial that funders become more flexible in their approach if they are to meet the growing demands of the marketplace.

Bibby Financial Services

In the first half of this year our annual client turnover handled has reached £4.9bn in the UK, with global client numbers now approaching 10,000. While we have grown, we’ve continued to put our clients at the heart of our strategy.

Today’s businesses expect more from a funding provider than ever before and we intend to continue to do everything we can to support our clients, old and new. It’s for this reason that we have recently launched an offer for businesses that are new to invoice finance; to give them the opportunity to try this unique funding type, without being tied-in to long-term contracts.

To find-out more about the offer or to speak to a member of my team, you can visit the Bibby Financial Services website here.

Thanks for reading.

David Postings

UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

About David Postings

David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. David has extensive knowledge of the commercial finance landscape.

You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.

David Postings looks back at the first half of 2014

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There was a noticeable upturn in the economy during the first half of 2014, however, it now seems likely that growth will start to slow over the coming months. The Bank of England has already indicated that it plans to raise interest rates early next year and this will undoubtedly affect growth in the UK as will the tightening of mortgage lending processes and criteria.

We’ve noticed that despite a positive outlook, the market has remained challenging for many businesses. The first half of the year, was a busy period for my team at Bibby Financial Services and we have continued to grow both in the UK and globally. We have seen new business levels increase month-on-month in the UK, culminating in our best ever month in relation to sales performance.

Expanding our proposition

At the beginning of the year we announced a significant expansion of our leasing division, this saw us open a new office and recruit a new team to complement the efforts of our existing team, which had performed incredibly well over the past 18 months.

Expanding our customer proposition and expertise more broadly supports our overall aim of becoming the business funder of choice and leasing is now an important part of our ambition.

Construction Finance

We celebrated our 10th year of construction finance in February with the appointment of a new managing director, Helen Wheeler, and since this time our team has performed exceptionally well.  In fact, in the first half of the year, monthly sales numbers in construction doubled when compared with the same period in 2013 – a great achievement.

In the second quarter of the year, we launched a successful TV advertising campaign on Sky which helped to promote alternative finance to a wider audience. The campaign meant that we were the first independent invoice finance provider to advertise on national television for many years. Reaction to the campaign has been positive and I’m confident that it has helped raise awareness of both Bibby Financial Services, and invoice finance more broadly.

Expanding our teams

Our UK employee numbers have grown to 720 as at June and throughout the business we have continued our recruiting programme, appointing highly experienced industry experts in a variety of roles. Ian Lomas joined our executive team from Lloyds Commercial Finance as Niche Products Director in May and in June, Kevin Craven joined to head-up our Corporate Finance team.  Also in June, Gary Davies was appointed as Regional Sales Director for the South – a region of significant focus for us over the remainder of the year.

Annual client turnover handled has reached £4.9bn in the UK, with global client numbers now approaching 10,000. While we have grown, we’ve continued to put our clients at the heart of our strategy and we are now over half way through a multi-year investment in a new core operating platform, designed to enhance our customer experience.

In the first half of the year we made a number of changes to our business and have built firm foundations for the remainder of the year and further into the future. I’m confident that this preparation will bear fruit for us over the coming months.

I look forward to reporting further successes throughout the remainder of 2014.

David Postings

UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

About David Postings

David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. David has extensive knowledge of the commercial finance landscape.

You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.

Bank referrals a welcome move for SMEs caught in credit catch-22

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At Bibby Financial Services, we do everything we can to ensure that our clients have access to the funding they need, when they need it. It’s for this reason that in my capacity as Chief Executive for BFS UK, I welcome the Government’s recent calls for banks to refer small and medium size businesses to other lenders. The news comes as our own research revealed that one in five SMEs where turned down for bank finance in 12 months leading up to May.

Accessing finance is still a challenge for a large number of viable businesses so it’s positive that the Government is looking at ways to address the issue as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill initially announced in June.

Efforts to stimulate business growth
The Bill includes a number of measures designed to increase the availability of finance for UK businesses and its second debate took place in the House of Commons on 16 July.

One of the measures proposed could see banks forced into referring SMEs who do not meet their lending criteria. My thoughts on this have been documented in business and trade press. Although this could see many businesses directed to a more suitable form of funding, we must keep our customers in mind when deciding the process of how this would work, in practice. There’s nothing more frustrating than being passed from one provider to another without being communicated to properly.

Trading history
Recently we surveyed over 1,000 SMEs and found that nearly half of those who were rejected for bank finance were turned-down because they hadn’t been trading for long enough. This is a familiar catch-22 where owners require funding to kick-start or grow their businesses, but need a track record to obtain funds.

It’s perhaps concerning that business owners are turning towards self-financing or lending from friends and family when they’re rejected by traditional lenders, unaware that other avenues are available such as our own Forward Finance which considers a company on the strength of its order book, and not necessarily its trading history.

If we truly want to support businesses in the UK, we need to find a way of supporting them from start-up and early stages, right the way through to maturity. It’s encouraging that the Government is looking at ways to boost the level – and highlight other types – of finance available for SMEs and it will be interesting follow the Bill’s passage through Parliament and to see whether this legislation comes into force at the next election.

Thanks again for reading.

David Postings

UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services

About David Postings

David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. David has extensive knowledge of the commercial finance landscape.

You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.