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Venture Finance – are they the right factoring company for you?

Venture Finance are one of the larger independent providers of invoice finance and they claim to have 11 offices nationwide. I think it would be fair to say that the three main offices are Haywards Heath in the South, Birmingham in the Midlands and Manchester in the North. They certainly have a national presence.

Over the last 36 months it would be fair to say that Venture Finance have had a fairly turbulent time as part of the ABN Amro Group. There was an integration on the cards between Venture Finance and Fortis which sapped a lot of resource at a senior level within the business and I sense their underwriting suffered. This integration did not take place but the parent was nationalised by the Dutch Government and there were rumours that they had been sold to Fortis anyway and asset of ABN were divested. In understand that Venture is still owned by ABN Amro but they remain the target of many a takeover rumour and it is understood that Deutsche Bank were sniffing around at some stage.

As with all invoice finance companies the feedback is often mixed and this that feel ill treated tend to do so much louder than those who are quietly content. Venture often sold themselves on the service levels that they prided themselves on. In terms of common complaints that I have received from clients they include lack of responsiveness to requests to changes in a facility, poor communication in terms of not returning calls and changing the goalposts or the way a facility is structured. I think it would be fair to say that they are fairly responsive to their own perception of risk and act accordingly which unfortunately is not always to the benefit of the client. There are some in the market that accuse them of putting spin and PR before substance. However, they have many a happy client who will have been with them for years but not felt the need to shout that from the hilltops so it is important to put everything in perspective.

That said they have an excellent product offering and must be doing something right. I feel that they have been in limbo to some extent in terms of new business for obvious reasons during the banking crisis and during a period of confusion regarding their ownership. They have a client base that allows them to operate profitably with the need for taking risks on racy new deals so who can blame them.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Venture Finance as the economy hopefully recovers. It will be interesting to see both their approach to the market in terms of new business and also what happens in terms of their ownership.

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