Fundsquire announce new UK Managing Director Rowan Gallagher

Alternative lenders Fundsquire have hired former GrantTree Managing Director Rowan Gallagher as their new UK Managing Director.

Founded in 2016 in Australia and expanding to the UK in the same year, Fundsquire have developed their R&D financing product by collaborating with clients and consultants across the world, including PwC, Grant Thornton & GrantTree.

For Rowan, the move to Fundsquire represents a logical step from his previous role; “GrantTree and Fundsquire have a close relationship and together have delivered R&D Tax Credits funding up to 9 months earlier than traditional time frames dictate. Our joint clients have used this service to invest in growth projects now instead of next year, to increase runway during equity negotiations, and to bridge funding gaps.”

Rowan, (pictured below), said they aim to help companies get access to their R&D tax credits up to 9 months before R&D Tax Credits are typically paid; “Fundsquire were the first company to offer this type of funding in the UK. R&D Tax Credits are typically paid a few months after a company’s year has ended, we are providing access to this capital mid way through the current financial year.”

This year’s delay in receiving R&D refunds by HMRC has proved how valuable R&D Advance Funding can be: “HMRC timelines for paying R&D Tax Credits increased this year, and for a time we were seeing the typical turnaround time double. The value to clients of stabilising their cash flow during this period by using R&D Advance Funding was self evident.”

Australia, the UK and Canada share similar R&D tax incentive programs in an effort to drive business growth and innovation. Many small businesses are unaware of these programs, or fail to fully capitalise on the opportunities they present.

SFP saves recruitment agency and all jobs

Nationwide insolvency practitioner, SFP, has completed a sale of the business and assets of Paterson Group, a recruitment business, saving the jobs of all 55 employees in the process.

Paterson began trading in Abingdon in 1972. The company has grown over the last 40 years and now has offices in Bicester, Oxford, Witney and Aylesbury, that provide staffing solutions for various sectors including Accountancy, Estate Agency, Logistics, Catering, and Cleaning.

Despite turning over approximately £12 million in 2017, the company ran into financial difficulties due to a troubled investment and significant HMRC arrears.

SFP’s Simon Plant and Daniel Plant were appointed Joint Administrators of the Company on 17th July 2018 by Order of the Court.

“This was a well-established business that had serious potential. To ensure the position for creditors was maximised a significant marketing exercise was undertaken to drum up interest and offers,” says Joint Administrator, Simon Plant. “A number of bids were made for the business – some more serious than others – and ultimately a very positive outcome was achieved in completing a going concern sale.

“The buyer, Paterson Personnel Limited (PPL) is headed up by former management and a third party,” Simon continues. “This mix makes for an exciting new chapter as PPL looks to press on and grow the business.”

SFP completes sale of CJ Holmes and Sons and safeguards all jobs

Nationwide insolvency practitioner, SFP, has completed a sale of the business and assets of CJ Holmes and Sons Limited to CJH Civils Limited preserving the future of all six employees in the process.

Incorporated in 2013, CJ Holmes and Sons was based in Lincolnshire and provided groundwork services to local companies in the leisure, commercial, construction and domestic sectors, and also hired out a small amount of plant machinery. Despite an estimated turnover of £960,000 in 2017, the company amassed significant debt to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The natural end to a successfully completed contract led to a decrease in turnover. In addition, significant repair costs were incurred in relation to the plant hired out. As a result, the business’ cash flow suffered and it was not able to keep up with the repayment of its liabilities.

Following this, HMRC presented a winding up petition against the company on 4th July 2018. The Directors sought the appointment of administrators. Simon and Daniel Plant of SFP were appointed as Joint Administrators following the administration order granted by the court on the 17th July 2018.

Agents undertook a marketing campaign and a valuation of the business. Following the passing of the deadline, a sale of the business and assets was completed on 23rd July 2018 to CJH Civils Limited. All employees have been transferred to the new company.

“This example underlines the importance of approaching turnaround specialists before the state of the business is too dire,” says Simon Plant. “In this instance we have been able to preserve the good will of customers and continue the employment for all of staff.”

Tungsten Network launches new digital purchase order delivery and acknowledgement service

Tungsten Network, the global business transaction network, has launched a new purchase order (PO) delivery and acknowledgement service for its 300,000 global customers.

The move follows an initial pilot scheme held with selected existing customers currently operating on the Tungsten Network seeking to improve profitability, efficiency and compliance. It comes following increasing requests from Tungsten Network customers to automate the order process adjacent to its core e-invoicing service.

The new service enables Tungsten Network members to digitally send purchase orders, and enables the recipients to either accept, reject or amend those purchase orders, with responses returned in a matter of minutes. The service also improves the first-time match rate between invoices and purchase orders, negates the need for businesses to communicate via email and phone, while also reducing the number of purchase order-related errors before invoices are created.

Tungsten Network’s purchase order services also enable its members to upload purchase orders directly onto its digital platform, removing manual purchase order entry and improving data accuracy. Businesses operating on the network can convert purchase orders into a variety of invoice formats simply and efficiently, while also being able to perform thorough compliance checks against customers.

Automating purchase order capabilities allows relationships with suppliers to be strengthened by removing unnecessary delays from the payment process. Many organisations today still send purchase orders using outdated methods such as paper, fax or as a PDF email attachment, which can often lead to invoices being rejected through inaccurate data entry, as well as purchase orders going unacknowledged and untracked.

Richard Hurwitz, Tungsten Network CEO, said: “Tungsten Network now affords buying organisations the opportunity to deliver digital purchase orders to their suppliers. The enhanced service is helping Finance departments operate more efficiently.

“The new range of purchase order services has been developed in response to customer demand and in close consultation with select businesses already transacting on Tungsten Network.

“Eliminating some of the most common obstacles found along the supply chain, such as manual PO data entry and delayed confirmations, affords businesses the time and ability to explore better ways of driving business growth, while also strengthening their supplier network.”

The enhanced offering from Tungsten Network builds on the value-added services already in the pipeline for customers, including a new e-billing solution, enabling businesses on the network to send 100 per cent of their invoices digitally.

The new range of purchase order services is available immediately to the 300,000 businesses already transacting on Tungsten Network across the world.

Launch of Republic or Ireland CICM to be held at Croke Park

The formal launch of the new Republic of Ireland Branch of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) will take place at Croke Park on 17th September.

The day will commence with a best practice conference featuring topics such how the CICM will support credit managers in the country, the role of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and the intriguingly entitled ‘Art of Persuasion’. It will also include presentations and discussions around debt litigation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how to attract and retain the best talent.

Speakers will include Philip King FCICM, Chief Executive of CICM, and senior representatives from Rimilia and Hays. The conference will be followed by the inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The decision was taken by the former Irish Institute of Credit Management in October 2017 to wind down its activities to give credit professionals in Ireland access to the array of quality services offered by the CICM.

Philip King believes CICM is very well placed to support the professional development of members in the Republic: “We are all looking forward to the AGM at Croke Park and working with our Irish colleagues going forward,” he says.

Henry Howard Finance appoints new head of HR and compliance

Hot on the heels of exceptional half year results, Henry Howard Finance Group (HHF) has appointed a new head of HR and compliance to help support the independent funder’s continued growth.

Melissa Rees, from Bridgend in South Wales, has over 14 years’ experience in HR leadership and compliance oversight roles in the financial services sector and joins the business from Vauxhall Finance plc, where she held the role of UK deputy money laundering reporting officer and senior compliance specialist.

Prior to this, she previously served at board level as an HR director and as group HR and compliance manager in a FCA regulated national IFA network.

Having studied employment law and HR management at Swansea Metropolitan University at post-graduate level, Melissa has held professional membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) by qualification since 2003 and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.

Melissa will help the firm identify and manage regulatory risks through the development of a robust compliance and operational risk management framework, and the alignment of strategic HR priorities with HHF’s business objectives in order to attract, develop and retain talent.

“The business has experienced significant growth during an unprecedented period of regulatory reform,” said Ms Rees. “We have a great track record in repeat business and we want that to continue – expanding the HR infrastructure and continuing to provide responsive compliance support to employees are essential tools to achieve sustained delivery of successful customer outcomes.

“Having spent the majority of my career working with entrepreneurial businesses in the SME market, it’s great to have the opportunity to influence change in a highly successful, people-centric and forward-thinking business such as Henry Howard Finance. Everyone has made me feel so welcome.”

Commenting on the appointment, Mark Catton, Group Chief Executive of Henry Howard Finance, said: “Operating in the financial services sector, it is absolutely imperative that we not only uphold the highest standards but also that we recruit and retain the best staff. Our company ethos is built around teamwork, therefore we have a robust recruitment process to ensure those we employ understand this way of working and have the qualities needed to aid the business, such as having the right attitude and mind-set to achieve our shared goal. Melissa’s appointment is another string to our bow which will help us develop our company objectives and we are delighted that she has joined the company.”

Hilton-Baird Director appointed to CICM’s Executive Board

Hilton-Baird Collection Services’ Director, Victoria Herd, has been appointed to the Executive Board of Trustees at the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

As a Trustee, she will work with other industry experts to help shape the future of the UK’s credit industry and provide the Institute’s members with support, advice and career development.

It’s an important role given the challenges businesses currently face with regards to getting paid on time by their customers. Figures from the Federation of Small Businesses indicate that one in three payments made to small businesses are late, with the average value of each late payment coming in at £6,142. The result means that 37% of small businesses suffer from cash flow problems.

With more than 20 years’ experience in credit management having previously held key positions at Premier Foods and Deloitte, Victoria will combine her time on the Executive Board of Trustees with her role at Hilton-Baird Collection Services, where she works with businesses to improve their order-to-collections process, policies and systems.

Victoria will commence her period of office for two years from Tuesday, 4 September 2018.

Speaking about her appointment, Victoria Herd said: “It is a huge honour to have been appointed to the Executive Board of Trustees. Having worked closely with the CICM since 2012 in a number of roles, I have seen first-hand the fantastic job the Institute does in providing support and mentoring to its members who are facing almost unprecedented challenges when it comes to credit management.

“I am determined to keep helping credit managers to get better at what they do and ultimately assist businesses in getting on top of late payment once and for all.”

Alex Hilton-Baird, Managing Director of Hilton-Baird Collection Services, commented: “Victoria’s appointment is testament to the superb job she does supporting the credit industry and British businesses with their credit management requirements.

“Many of our clients have already benefited from her expertise through the improvement of their receivables management systems and processes. This has enabled them to recover payment sooner and keep their cash flowing, which is so important to businesses of all sizes in the current climate. Additionally, these improvements ensure they are able to maintain continuity of funding, providing funders with comfort and confidence in the business they are supporting.”

New loudspeaker manufacturer booms with £850k funding

Bibby Financial Services has provided an £850k funding facility to FYNE AUDIO, a new entrant into the high-end, loudspeaker audio market. The funding line includes Export Invoice Discounting (Export ID) as well as an FX facility, which will help the business access working capital and fund its export debts to reach its growing international client base.

Based in Glasgow, FYNE AUDIO is the brainchild of a group of former employees from a prestigious, Scottish based loudspeaker manufacturer. With over 200 years of audio industry experience between them and a host of sector contacts, FYNE AUDIO is set to launch three high-performance loudspeaker ranges, with products ranging from £200 – £24,000. Through a combination of an established management team, quality products and an international customer base, the business has caused quite a buzz and has pre-orders coming in from as far as in Asia.

To help support its quest to excite the audio market and plans for global growth, FYNE AUDIO needed extra working capital. Working closely with Bibby Financial Services (BFS), the business has secured an Export Finance ID facility which will enable it to bridge the cashflow gap between awaiting payment and paying supplier invoices. Furthermore, using Export Finance will also allow the business to benefit from BFS’s language, currency, time zone and legal support when trading in overseas markets.

As FYNE AUDIO deals directly with international markets, BFS’s Corporate team also structured a funding package to include Bad Debt Protection (BDP) and an FX line. While the BDP will protect the business against poor payment practices and customer insolvency, the FX feature enables FYNE AUDIO to convert the cash released from invoices to a currency of its choice, shielding it from currency fluctuations.

Andrzej Sosna, Managing Director at FYNE AUDIO, said: “As industry veterans, we knew our products had to be high-quality and differentiated if we were to make waves in the market. But we also knew that to help us on our path to growth, especially with a growing international customer base, having access to working capital was vital in these early stages.”

“From the offset, BFS stood out to us. The Corporate team invested time in getting to know and understand our management team and products. As a result, they recognised the strength of our business plan and structured an Export Finance facility that other funding partners could not.

“Having the Export Finance team to support with our transactions, takes away the administrative hassle of prompt debtor payments in multiple currencies, allowing us to focus on growth.”

Ronnie Stokes, Corporate Manager – Glasgow, Bibby Financial Services, commented: “FYNE AUDIO is an innovative new business with impressive industry backing and support. Cashflow is an issue for almost every business, but it is particularly difficult to navigate when dealing with customers in multiple markets, with multiple currencies.”

“Our team worked closely with FYNE AUDIO to structure an Export ID facility, which will not only allow the company to pay suppliers and staff, but also the flexibility of making payments in the currency of their choice from cash released from invoices. With the facility in place, it is an exciting time for FYNE AUDIO and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on growth.”

Craig Durnell, Managing Director of Export Finance, Bibby Financial Services, said: “Although it has been suggested that the UK is experiencing a slowdown in export growth this year, our team is really bucking the trend with record levels of new business and opportunity. It is great to see that our expertise and appetite to support SME exporters like FYNE AUDIO is really penetrating the market”.

Fiduciam completes £15m loan to refinance three care homes

Fiduciam, the bridging and marketplace lender, has completed its largest loan to date enabling a borrower to save their business worth circa £25m.

Fiduciam’s £14.91m loan enabled the borrower to refinance three UK care homes that they owned. Due to a Care Quality Commission (CQC) issue with one of the homes, the borrower had run into trouble with their high street lender who wanted to foreclose on their loan, despite the business still being in profit. The borrower stood to lose circa £8m in equity had the lender progressed a sale through administrators.

The dedicated Fiduciam team, working closely with all parties through numerous issues and unexpected delays, was able to find a solution and ensure that completion of the 24-month bridging loan took place in plenty of time to pay off the first lender. This allowed the borrower to retain the business they had spent twenty years building and, in doing so, prevented the loss of numerous jobs and much-needed beds for patients. It also gives them enough time to restructure the business and put another long-term loan in place.

Fiduciam has been on a rapid expansion drive as its reputation grows as a lender who uses short term loans to provide effective business solutions; this latest loan accelerates that growth.

Fiduciam has now supported SME’s with over £148m of loans. It is currently lending at a rate of £200m per year with growth in 2018 expected to be up 200% from 2017.

Fiduciam director, Johan Groothaert, commented “This loan, our largest to date, has helped a borrower out of immense financial difficulty. Fiduciam assesses each case on its own merits and delivers bespoke solutions to both intermediaries and borrowers.

“Our strength lies in our institutional funding, which means Fiduciam is able to lend up to 25 million in multiple currencies such as euros, sterling and US dollars on property across England, Wales and Ireland, as well as a number of European countries with loans up to three years. We continue to develop in all areas of our business with ambitions to continue to expand through innovative lending and problem solving.”

Matt Vincent, specialist lending director at master broker Positive Lending, commented “At Positive we have a dedicated team specialising in bridging finance who frequently arrange large loans for short term lending. This particular client needed almost £15million funding to pay back their original lender but their security situation was complex, which is why we approached Harry at Fiduciam. The lender’s can-do attitude and ability to quickly understand the borrower’s situation meant we were able to arrange the monies required and, more importantly, help save the client’s business.”

Harry Hodell, senior originator at Fiduciam, who managed the case, added, “The manner in which the Fiduciam team managed themselves to complete this case proves that Fiduciam is a lender looking for solutions, to overcome problems.

“Completing the amount of work required on this case in a short timeframe shows our process works; we are able to handle complicated cases efficiently and effectively. Matt at Positive Lending was the consummate professional throughout the process and assisted us greatly with the completion of this loan.”

Sharp rise in company debt judgments

The number of debt decrees registered against Scottish businesses rose sharply during the first half of 2018, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.

Registry Trust is the non-profit organisation which collects decree and judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland. In Scotland it collects information on small claims, summary, ordinary cause and simple procedure sheriff’s court decrees. A decree is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.

There were 1,573 decrees issued against all businesses in Scotland during Q1 and Q2 2018, 31 percent more than during the same period of the previous year.

A massive 64 percent rise in the number of decrees issued against companies accounted for this increase. In sharp contrast the number of decrees registered against unincorporated businesses, which are generally smaller, decreased by 19 percent.

Despite rising in number, the average company decree’s value halved causing the total value of company decrees to fall 17 percent; the total value of non-corporate decrees surged 51 percent. Together, these changes caused the total value of all business decrees to drop two percent.

During Q1 and Q2 2018, 13,190 debt decrees were registered against Scottish consumers, 20 percent more than in the first half of 2017. This combined with an 11 percent fall in average value caused the total value of all consumer decrees to increase by seven percent.

Only 3.42 percent of decrees were marked as satisfied during the first half of 2018, far lower than the 14.54 percent of satisfied debt judgments in England and Wales, where satisfaction rates are generally higher owing to legal differences.

“Registry Trust is analysing debt claimants in Scotland by sector to improve understanding of the bare statistics. Currently the four major categories are debt purchasers, local authorities, primary lenders and housing associations. The increased number of decrees against companies is more likely to be associated with more active debt purchasers than with any deterioration in the economy. The increased recording of debt problems is in the public interest, making it more likely that credit ends up in the right hands.”

In Q1 and Q2 2018 Registry Trust received 17,607 requests to search the register for Scotland online at www.trustonline.org.uk. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland.

Mr Hurlston said: “If you are considering any business transaction you would be wise to check for decrees or judgments first. It is fast, cheap and easy to look on TrustOnline.”

Business statistics
● Q1 and Q2 2018 Decrees against all businesses (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
○ Total: 1,573 (up 31 percent)
○ Total value: £7,413,013 (down two percent)
○ Average value: £4,713 (down 26 percent)
○ Median: £1,687 (up two percent)

● Q1 and Q2 2018 Decrees against incorporated businesses
○ Total: 1,197 (up 64 percent)
○ Total value: £4,935,712 (down 17 percent)
○ Average value: £4,123 (down 49 percent)
○ Median: £1,545 (down 14 percent)

● Q1 and Q2 2018 Decrees against unincorporated businesses
○ Total: 376 (down 19 percent)
○ Total value: £2,477,301 (up 51 percent)
○ Average value: £6,589 (up 87 percent)
○ Median: £2,109 (up 46 percent)

Consumer statistics
● Q1 and Q2 2018 All consumer decrees (compared with Q1 and Q2 2017)
○ Total: 13,190 (up 20 percent)
○ Total value: £35,298,834 (up seven percent)
○ Average value: £2,676 (down 11 percent)
○ Median: £1,272 (up three percent)

● Q1 and Q2 2018 Small claims and summary cause decrees
○ Total: 11,977 (up 20 percent)
○ Total value: £18,135,248 (up five percent)
○ Average value: £1,514 (down 12 percent)
○ Median: £1,155 (up three percent)

● Q1 and Q2 2018 Ordinary cause decrees
○ Total number: 1,213 (up 24 percent)
○ Total value: £17,163,586 (up nine percent)
○ Average value: £14,150 (down 12 percent)
○ Median: £8,162 (up four percent)