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Invoice Finance

There is an interesting article in the Telegraph from 2 October 2020. Their business section has an article by Rachel Millard titled, “Peer-to-peer lenders face huge losses after bet on Yorkshire coal mine”

Personally, I am not sure that the headline really does the case justice but it describes multi million pound losses for Archover and Assetz Capital. There may also be losses for other lenders to these companies. The losses are attributed to the companies of Mark Runiewicz and his business partner and co-director, Mary McErlain. What makes this more intriguing is that Mary would appear to be Mark’s wife or partner.

On the Trustpilot website Archover respond to a poor review by describing the problems that had faced with UK Exim Finance as a fraud. They said, “Thank you for reviewing ArchOver.

The company you refer to is UK EXIM Finance (UEF) not EXIM. The company was not introduced by our parent company.

As you are well aware this fraud has affected a number of other lenders as well as ArchOver but our monitoring team was the first to uncover it. UEF had been a legitimate borrower for a number of years until this year. As you are aware from the multiple updates from ArchOver we are pursuing a wide range of avenues for recovery with the full support of Hampden Group, who themselves are also exposed as a lender in UEF.”

The article in the Telegraph describes how businesses owned by Mark Runiewicz and his co director and business partner Mary McErlain failed owing millions to Peer to Peer lenders. The article in the Telegraph can be seen in the images below: (please click the image to see full size)

Convertibill are an Irish lending platform that are expanding in to the UK. They provide working capital finance against confirmed orders from credit worthy buyers and also against outstanding invoices.

As business finance brokers Funding Solutions UK Ltd have had a few dealing with Convertibill and it would be fair to say that they have not gone well. It would also be fair to say that we won’t be having any more dealings with them. I would question their honesty and integrity for a few reasons. Here is a brief description of some of our interactions:

We introduced a client who provided specialist type of marine funding. Convertibill signed an NDA as the client was worried that their product would be copied. Convertibill requested more and more information and the client was suspicious that they were merely trying to obtain information from them so they could copy their approach or learn more about how to fund this type of transaction. When the client raised this the enquiry was closed down and they refused to acknowledge the signed NDA. Patrick Reynolds CEO advised, “There is no NDA from June” and despite sending him a copy of the signed NDA he refused to acknowledge it. Our client is now taking legal advice.

We introduced another client who was looking to bridge an investment transaction that included funding from the Future Fund. Convertibill advised that they could help but that they required a £15,000 commitment fee to start the process. The client paid the £15,000 and then asked if they could change the transaction. This request was the next day. Convertibill advised that they could no longer assist and that they had spent the £15,000 on legal fees and on securing the required funding. In my opinion this is a nonsense and is pure profiteering. Again, our client is taking legal advice.

As a finance broker I earn money from setting up finance facilities for my clients. I had referred a client to Mark Runiewicz of Convertibill and specifically request that he provided a stand alone trade/purchase finance facility for the client as they were happy with their invoice finance provider. Mark entered in to talks with the client and then introduced them to 3 invoice finance providers. These 3 lenders were Skipton Business Finance, Optimum Finance and Gener8. We were never advised of this by Mark but they client alerted us to this. Strangely, Mark then claimed that Convertibill had now started to fund against debtors and that they would fund the full transaction. It is my opinion that Mark was trying to broker this invoice finance requirement for himself. With one lender I checked with the lead was logged in the name of Mark’s business SC Advisors Limited who would have received the commission had the transaction completed. Putting our situation to one side it seems strange that Mark is employed by Convertibill but is introducing an invoice finance requirement to other lenders. Even more strange when you consider that is what we do as a business!! Market Finance were the incumbent invoice finance provider and they refused to work with Mark Runiewicz and Convertibill. At the time this seemed harsh to me but having done some investigation it appears they may have been concerned with Mark’s previous involvement with other P2P lenders via his business UK Exim Finance Limited and UK Exim Limited. The information at Companies House would suggest that these relationships did not end well. Type these business names in to Google and look at the filing history at Companies House. It appears that lenders lost money and a significant amount due the activities of these businesses.

Something really doesn’t feel right about Convertibill. My advice would be to proceed with extreme caution. Arguably, there are other options out there so maybe explore those.

If you are reading this as a fellow business finance broker I would also proceed with extreme caution. There are questions about how client introductions are handled but I also have reason to believe that they work hard to find ways not to pay broker commissions and may indeed pride themselves on their ability not to pay brokers. At a senior level within the business there seems to be a dislike for brokers and a willingness to find ways not to pay brokers the agreed fees.

Updated 5 October 2020.

 

I was approached by Convertibill and asked to take the post down. The initial conversation included a threat of legal action for libel if I did not take it down within 24 hours. With a view to learning more about their side of the story and as a gesture of goodwill I took the post down. However, whilst explanations were offered they did not change my opinion of what occurred. What I have posted is based on my honest opinion.

 

In addition, there has been an article published in the Telegraph on 2nd October 2020 about the businesses that Mark Runiewicz has run and the potential losses they have caused in the P2P lending sector. The articles are in the images below:

 

 

Invoice finance is now being offered by Investec Capital Solutions. This is after Investec Bank acquired Amicus Commercial Finance from the Amicus Group. Amicus had failed to secure a banking license as expected. As a result, Amicus undertook a strategic review across the group in order to reduce operational costs and ensure that its core short-term property lending business continued to grow. The sale of the invoice finance side of the business was after this failure. It must have been unsettling for staff and clients alike given that Amicus Commercial Finance was only established in 2015.

Invoice finance is typically provided by way of invoice discounting or factoring. It allows a business to access up to 100% of the gross value of outstanding invoices. It is a great source of working capital and smooths cash flow so you don’t need to worry about when customers pay late.

When considering which invoice finance provider to use you should consider 4 main areas:

1. Structure – if the facility is not structured properly it will not generate the cash you expect it to.

2. Pricing – the difference between the most expensive solution and the cheapest can be dramatic. It is also important to look beyond headline rates and consider total costs.

3. Service levels – they way you are treated by a lender is important. You are paying for a service and you deserve the best. Things such as stability, staff turnover and general attitude of the lender can make a big difference.

4. Security – ensure you understand what your liabilties are in terms of security requirements.

If you are looking for a factoring or invoice discounting facility why not undertake a complete market review using the simple 3 step form above. That way you can secure the most competitive terms in the market. Whatever your situation there is likely to be a lender that will meet your needs better than other invoice finance providers.

By using our expertise you can ensure not only that you get the best rates but also the best structure.

 

The permanent recruitment sector has historically been neglected by the invoice finance industry. There was a time when the industry would not finance perm recruitment companies.

So why was the perm recruitment industry neglected?

It was neglected because of the perceived risk involved in dealing with invoices that related to permanent placements. With temporary recruitment the rates are agreed, work is completed, timesheets are signed and invoices are raised. If the hours are multiplied by the agreed rates correctly there is very little that can be queried. In comparison, an invoice for a perm placement is raised when the candidate starts work and sometime before they have even started. What happens if the candidate does not show up on the first day? What happens if they walk out after their first week? What happens if the company finds they are not suitable and let’s the candidate go? Typically there are various rebates due depending on when they part company. As such there is no guarantee that invoices raised will be settled in full if at all.

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Arrangement fees for factoring have crept into the industry in recent years. If you look back at historical comparisons between invoice factoring and overdrafts they would typically say that arrangement fees were payable on an overdraft facility and not on an invoice factoring facility. However, this is no longer the case. Some lenders charge an arrangement fee, a legal documentation fee and a ‘take-on’ fee. The take on fee is the service charge applied to the debts in existence when the facility commences. For example, if you have a debtor book of £500,000 and a service fee of 1% then the take on fee will be £5,000 on day one. Add to this the arrangement fee and legal documentation fee and the first day of your factoring facility is an expensive day at the office!!

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The best factoring company for your business will depend on the unique characteristics of your business and importantly on your own requirement.

The main aspect of any factoring companies proposition is the structure of their facility, service levels and pricing.

Structure of a facility

It is imperative that the facility is structured to meet the needs of your business but some lenders may not be able to structure a facility to meet your needs. Some lenders have a credit policy that will not allow them to finance any debtor that exceeds over 25% of your total ledger. If you have one large customer that accounts for a large proportion of your sales ledger or all of your sales ledger such a lender would prove to be restrictive. You will need a lender that does not have such stringent criteria when it comes to concentration limits. Another example can be exports. Some lenders will simply not finance export sales so if you have export sales or are looking at export sales than you need to consider a lender that can finance those sales. Smart Factoring Quotes understand the capabilities and requirements of each lender in the market.

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If you are looking to finance a recruitment business you are in luck as there are several options open to you especially if you are providing contractors or temps that complete time sheets. That said, if you are a permanent recruitment company there are also several options that are available to you.

If you are a recruitment company thatis paying wages weekly against signed time sheets there is a good chance your clients are only paying you monthly at best. Recruitment businesses or notoriously cash negative for this very reason and if you have a fast growing recruitment business this problem is only compounded.

So what finance solutions are available to you?

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As a small business factoring can be an ideal solution for your working capital requirements. Factoring does not require you to be well established or even profitable. To qualify for a factoring facility it is more important that your business has the right processes in place, is in a suitable sector and has good quality customers.

Processes

A small business needs to ensure that it’s invoicing procedure is suitable for invoice finance. This means you should create a good audit trail. Agood audit trail for a factoring facility will differ from business to business. For a wholesaler it will include a purchase order, a proof of delivery and an invoice raised in arrears of the delivery. A temporary recruitment company will have a signed agreement, signed time sheets and then invoices submitted on the back of those timesheets. The key is to prove that your product or service was requested, prove that is was delivered to the satisfaction of the customer and as already described that the invoice is then submitted in arrears of the service or product being provided.

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