Not the busiest of weeks but not the quietest. The Midlands was a hard place to track people down as the business community appeared to all be at the Cheltenham Festival. Indeed an enquiry that appeared on Tuesday requiring resolution by today had to be serviced from Manchester as all those in Birmingham to whom I wanted to speak were trying to beat the bookies.
Specifically within the invoice finance market the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) released statistics for the quarter to 31/12/14. The figures show little movement in the number of UK businesses using some kind of facility provided by ABFA members.
As at 31/12/14 there were 43,578 clients and the majority of these fall within traditional sectors, (Manufacturing, Transport, Distribution, Services). Construction and retail businesses have not historically been favoured by asset based lenders but they now feature in the statistics with 1,947 construction businesses and 484 retailers.
ABFA will state the figures show increased usage of their members facilities and this is true in as much as there is more funding utilised but it reflects a few larger businesses (turnover greater than £100m pa) utilising higher level of funds.
Actual numbers of clients has not moved materially and this is disappointing. Invoice finance, in all its formats, gives businesses a significant boost with a flexibility and cost effectiveness few realise yet the business worlds perception of the products and the providers remains indifferent at best and poor at worst.
Visibility of invoice financiers, specifically Bibby, increased this afternoon with the winning jockey of the Cheltenham Gold Club clearly sponsored by Bibby Financial Services.