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CREDIT MANAGEMENT

CM

APRIL 2020 £12.50

THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

LOST AT SEA

Are CRAs doing enough

for the vulnerable?

Advancing the

credit profession.

Page 12

Making

information work.

Page 36


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17

POINT OF

REFERENCE

Sean Feast FCICM

APRIL 2020

www.cicm.com

CONTENTS

27

THE GRAY MATTER

Yvette Gray

CICM GOVERNANCE

View our digital version online at www.cicm.com. Log on to the Members’

area, and click on the tab labelled ‘Credit Management magazine’

Credit Management is distributed to the entire UK and international CICM

membership, as well as additional subscribers

Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without specific permission. Opinions expressed in this magazine do

not, unless stated, reflect those of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management. The Editor reserves the right to

abbreviate letters if necessary. The Institute is registered as a charity. The mark ‘Credit Management’ is a registered

trade mark of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management.

Any articles published relating to English law will differ from laws in Scotland and Wales.

32

COUNTRY FOCUS

Adam Bernstein

President Stephen Baister FCICM / Interim Chief Executive Sue Chapple FCICM

Executive Board Pete Whitmore FCICM – Chair / Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad) – Vice Chair Glen Bullivant FCICM

Treasurer / Larry Coltman FCICM, Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad), Bryony Pettifor FCICM(Grad)

24

LEGAL MATTERS

Peter Walker

Advisory Council Sarah Aldridge FCICM(Grad) / Laurie Beagle FCICM / Glen Bullivant FCICM / Lauren Carter FCICM /

Larry Coltman FCICM / Victoria Herd FCICM(Grad) / Philip Holbrough MCICM / Laural Jefferies FCICM / Diana Keeling FCICM /

Martin Kirby FCICM / Christelle Milojkovic FCICM / Julie-Anne Moody-Webster FCICM(Grad) / Debbie Nolan FCICM(Grad) /

Ute Ogholoh MCICM / Bryony Pettifor FCICM(Grad) / Allan Poole MCICM / Phil Rice FCICM / Chris Sanders FCICM /

Paul Taylor MCICM / Pete Whitmore FCICM.

12 – Advanced Thinking

Claire Bishop considers the value of

CICM membership.

17 – Point of Reference

Are Credit Reference Agencies doing

enough to support the vulnerable?

20 – Aire Supply

Sean Feast talks to the CEO of a newlylaunched

consumer CRA, Aneesh

Varma.

24 – Fast and Furious

Peter Walker explains how a property

developer rode fast and loose with an

RBS loan.

27 – The Gray Matter

Credit Management caught up with

Yvette Gray of Atradius Collections.

32 – Rising Star

Vietnam has come a long way in a short

time.

35 – Stand and Deliver

How do you make your presentation

stand out from the crowd?

36 – Information Exchange

Businesses are in a race to acquire

better information.

49 – Inspiring the Future

Brenda Linger describes how she’s

supporting the next generation of credit

managers.

50 – Nations State

What is changing for employers of EU

nationals?

Publisher

Chartered Institute of Credit Management

The Water Mill, Station Road, South Luffenham

OAKHAM, LE15 8NB

Telephone: 01780 722900

Email: editorial@cicm.com

Website: www.cicm.com

CMM: www.creditmanagement.org.uk

Managing Editor

Sean Feast FCICM

Deputy Editor

Iona Yadallee

Art Editor

Andrew Morris

Telephone: 01780 722910

Email: andrew.morris@cicm.com

Editorial Team

Rob Howard and Imogen Hart

Advertising

Russell Bass

Telephone: 020 3603 7937

Email: russell@cabbells.uk

Printers

Stephens & George Print Group

2020 subscriptions

UK: £112 per annum

International: £145 per annum

Single copies: £12.50

ISSN 0265-2099

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 3


EDITOR’S COLUMN

We all like a good moan

but it’s time for positivity

Sean Feast FCICM

Managing Editor

I

was intrigued recently to learn

of the launch of a new pressure

group to promote the interests of

small businesses. It’s called Small

Business Britain and has been

started by entrepreneur and parttime

government advisor Michelle Ovens

MBE.

I have absolutely no idea if it will succeed

or not, but I was instantly drawn to its

message of promoting the ‘good’ rather

than constantly whingeing about the ‘bad’

that goes on in the world of small business.

In what I think most of us took to be a

thinly-veiled swipe at organisations like

the Federation of Small Businesses, who

appear to disagree with everything as a

point of principle, Michelle says that it is

time for ‘positivity’. Hallelujah. And she’s

not even auditioning for the X Factor where

a ‘journey’ and ‘positivity’ are the preferred

language of those who know no better.

Now to be honest we all like a good moan

now and again, and I think it’s healthy.

But it can also become a little tiresome.

It’s not wrong, for example, to highlight

poor payment practice and call businesses

out when they transgress. It’s not wrong

to challenge government and politicians

about whether they are doing enough to

support small businesses with practical

as well as financial help, especially in the

very strange times we live in today. But it

is wrong to do so at the expense of talking

about some of the good stuff that’s also

going on. While I appreciate the old adage

that good news doesn’t sell newspapers,

perhaps it’s time we started reversing that

trend?

Having been immersed fully in

promoting the Prompt Payment Code since

its launch, I absolutely know what it’s like

to be fighting a constant rearguard action.

It’s frustrating when you see a good idea

constantly criticised, for the most part

unfairly. It’s especially frustrating when

you know that if the detractors took the

time and trouble to understand what was

going on behind the scenes, they would

marvel that it ever achieved anything at all.

That, perhaps, is a story for another day.

Now the PPC has a new home, under

the auspices of the Small Business

Commissioner and we wish it bon voyage

and every success. People can talk about

‘strengthening’ the Code as much as they

wish, but the bottom line is that it all comes

down to resource, and by that, I mean

money. Managing the Code to the level

required will need serious investment.

As our interim Chief Executive says in

the news: “A properly resourced Code

with a clarity of purpose can make a real

difference.”

Now that’s positivity.

“A properly resourced Code with a clarity of

purpose can make a real difference.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 4


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CMNEWS

A round-up of news stories from the

world of consumer and commercial credit.

Written by – Sean Feast FCICM

Late payments are ‘business as usual’

for small businesses in difficulty

LATE payments from customers are

‘business as usual’ for many small

business owners in difficulty,

with nearly half (45 percent) of

callers to Business Debtline experiencing

problems with late payments from

customers, with most typically having to

wait up to two months beyond payment

terms to receive the money they are

owed.

Worryingly, only 41 percent of Business

Debtline callers affected by late payments

said they knew what to do to chase

customers who had not paid on time,

and only 16 percent knew where to turn

for advice on dealing with the problem.

Almost four in 10 (39 percent) worried

that if they chased late payments, they

would lose future business – but 84

percent said they had done everything

they could to resolve the problem.

Part of Money Advice Trust, Business

Debtline claims to have helped more

than 52,400 self-employed people and

other small business owners last year

with their debt issues. The charity has

written to newly-appointed Minister

for Small Business, Paul Scully MP,

recommending stronger measures to

tackle late payments in the wake of the

government’s recent call for evidence on

payment practices.

These recommendations include relaunching

and strengthening the Prompt

Payment Code, with a commitment

from all signatories to pay their small

business suppliers within 30 days or

less where faster payments/fintech

solutions are already in place. They also

include introducing fines for persistent

late payers, and expanding the Small

Business Commissioner’s remit to

include late payments between small

businesses. They would also like to see a

review of how statutory interest on late

payments of commercial debts is used

and could be strengthened as a means of

improving payment practices.

Joanna Elson OBE, Chief Executive of

the Money Advice Trust, says that paying

late has become business as usual: “This

can have serious consequences for both

the viability of the businesses they run

and their personal wellbeing,” she says.

“The government has already taken

several positive steps on late payments,

including requiring mandatory reporting

on the payment practices of large

businesses, and creating the Office of the

Small Business Commissioner.

“Stronger actions are necessary,

however, to deliver the scale and pace of

change required in payment practices

we need to fundamentally change the

culture – so that late payments are no

longer seen as an acceptable business

practice.”

Philip King FCICM, the Government’s

Interim Small Business Commissioner

welcomed the report as underlining

the negative impact on well-being that

can result from late payment: “It can do

huge emotional damage,” he told Credit

Management. “I hope it will serve as

a timely reminder of government’s

imminent consultation into broadening

the remit of the Small Business

Commissioner and encourage more

small businesses to respond. It’s an

important topic and will benefit from a

wide range of views.”

Sue Chapple FCICM, Interim Chief

Executive of the CICM, says that the

research also highlights how more

needs to be done to make small

businesses aware of the help that is

available: “Business Debtline could

seriously help small businesses

by actively directing them to

the CICM’s Managing Cashflow

Guides which have been

written specifically to support

small businesses in good

times and bad.”

www.businessdebtline.org

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 6


New guide to help customers with

mental health and debt problems

A

new guide has been published to

help financial firms — and other

creditors — better understand and

support customers struggling with

both debt and mental health problems.

Money and Mental Health, in partnership

with the Money Advice Trust — and with

support from UK Finance — have produced

‘The Need to Know’, a free new guide to help

creditors support customers affected by debt

and mental health problems.

The guide is aimed primarily at staff

working in debt collection teams in

essential services firms. It features detailed

information about how specific mental

health conditions may affect a customer’s

ability to manage and earn money. The

guide is also said to offer practical advice on

improving support to customers affected by

these issues, including how to get the best

out of conversations with customers about

their experience of mental health problems,

and when it is appropriate to ask for further

evidence about a customer’s mental health

problem, and when this may be the wrong

course of action.

Katie Alpin, Interim Chief Executive

of the Money and Mental Health Policy

Institute, says that getting conversations

right can make a huge difference in

Credit Managers braced for Coronavirus impact

CREDIT Managers are uncertain as to the

full impact of the Coronavirus, although

a number are already reporting cancelled

meetings, flights and non-essential travel

instead opting for conference calls and

remote working.

Almost half (47 percent) of those

responding to a straw poll conducted at

the beginning of March said that there had

currently been little or no impact on day-today

operations although a handful reported

the cancellation of forums/industry events

and supply chain interruption, especially

from those with suppliers/partners in the Far

East.

Nearly all (97 percent) had contingency

plans in place, primarily working from

home, but also including an acceleration

helping those people resolve their money

problems and avoid unnecessary distress:

“We hope this guide can equip creditors

with the information they need to better

understand how a customer’s mental health

can impact on their financial situation, and

to improve the support they offer in those

circumstances.”

Research by the Money and Mental

Health Policy Institute suggests that half

of all people in problem debt in England

also have a mental health problem which

can affect their ability to manage and earn

money, and to communicate with their

creditors. Further research by the Personal

Finance Research Centre shows that

during a single year in debt collection, a

frontline staff member will receive over 140

disclosures about customer mental health

problems.

Nadine Dorries MP, Minister for Mental

Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient

Safety, believes debt can have a devastating

impact on people's lives: “This practical

advice will help arm creditors with the vital

knowledge they need to empathetically

assess and support a customer’s financial

situation, and marks another positive step

forward in tackling the everyday injustices

those living with mental illness face.”

of invoicing and other credit management

practices in order to minimise the impact

on cashflow. All appear to be following the

Government’s advice on health and hygiene,

suggesting that the message of ‘wash your

hands’ is getting through.

Sue Chapple, Interim Chief Executive of

the CICM says that there is no doubt that

the virus is already impacting global trade:

“The outbreak has the potential to cause

severe economic and market dislocation,

but the scale of the impact will ultimately be

determined by how the virus spreads which

is almost impossible to predict,” she says.

“All our members can do is ‘be prepared’

and take what mitigating actions they can to

support their businesses in keeping the cash

flowing.”

“This practical

advice will help arm

creditors with the vital

knowledge they need

to empathetically

assess and support a

customer’s financial

situation’’

“The outbreak has

the potential to cause

severe economic and

market dislocation, but

the scale of the impact

will ultimately be

determined by how the

virus spreads which is

almost impossible to

predict.”

Entrepreneur launches new small business group

A new organisation to represent the interests

of 5.8m smaller businesses in the UK has been

launched by entrepreneur Michelle Ovens. Small

Business Britain is seen as direct competition

to the Federation of Small Businesses, but will

take a more positive stance in promoting small

businesses. Quoted in the Financial Times,

Michelle said the government had found her

approach ‘refreshing’, and had been ‘very

receptive’. “The lobby groups all do amazing

work,” she said, “but it’s time for some positivity.

2020 is a new decade.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 7


NEWS

IN BRIEF

New CEO at R3

LIZ Bingham OBE has been appointed

CEO of R3, the insolvency and

restructuring trade association.

She joins R3 after a 35-year career

in the insolvency and restructuring

profession, during which she was

a Managing Partner at EY, and was

R3 President in 2013-14. Liz replaces

Emma Lovell, who is leaving R3 to

become CEO of the Lending Standards

Board (LSB).

As R3 CEO, Liz will oversee R3’s

work to protect and promote the

strong restructuring and insolvency

framework which is required to

enable the association’s members to

fulfil their vital role in the economy

and in society. She will also manage

the execution of R3’s Strategic Plan,

which was launched in 2019 and is

the association’s roadmap for the next

three years.

R3 President Duncan Swift says

that Liz is taking charge of R3 at a

crucial time: “The insolvency and

restructuring profession plays a really

important role in the economy. From

returning money to creditors to helping

turn around distressed businesses,

and of course helping people access

debt relief, the profession’s work is

absolutely vital in supporting lending,

trading and investment, and the overall

smooth functioning of the business

environment.

Technically

Speaking

THE Technical Committee met in

early March to discuss a variety

of recent announcements and

consultations, including a ban on

gambling businesses allowing

people to use credit cards to place

bets and advice from the FCA

for credit card firms to review

their approach to persistent debt

customers. The potential impact

of the proposed reinstatement

of HMRC preferential status

was also discussed, alongside

the implementation of a 60-day

breathing space.

The committee debated the

increase in number of fraud cases

across several areas, including

within insolvency, enforcement and

tax, and Lord Mendelsohn’s Private

Members Bill (reported in last

month’s CM). The new requirement

for authenticating confirmation of

payee details when making online

payments was considered, as

well as further discussions around

Companies House, the validation of

information it stores, and the impact

on information providers.

Cross party group

urges Government to

act on bailiff reform

A

group of cross-party MPs and

Peers has joined a coalition

of debt advice campaigners

in urging the Government to

break its silence on bailiff industry

reform.

It is now more than a year since the

Ministry of Justice closed its call for

evidence on the bailiff industry, but

despite what campaigners claim is

overwhelming evidence of the need for

wide-ranging reform, the Government is

yet to give a comprehensive response.

The Taking Control coalition, made

up of 11 charities and debt advice

organisations, claims it has routinely

seen its clients suffer at the hands of

bailiffs. New figures show that since

February 2019, Citizens Advice alone

has been contacted by 41,121 individuals

with 111,081 issues specific to bailiffs.

Meanwhile 83 percent of callers to

National Debtline who experienced

bailiff action reported the bailiff

visit had a negative impact on their

wellbeing.

Backing the coalition’s call is a group

of cross-party politicians, including

Rachel Reeves MP and Lord Pickles,

who have written to Justice Secretary

Robert Buckland MP highlighting

the urgent need for bailiff reform as

recommended by the Justice Select

Committee last April.

“We’ve waited long enough

for the kind of meaningful

reform that has successfully

reduced harm in other areas

of debt recovery.’’

The Committee endorsed the

charities’ call for the introduction of

an independent complaints body, a

statutory, independent regulator for

the enforcement agent industry and

regular reviews of bailiff fees. Currently,

the bailiff industry is self-regulating.

To date the only commitment made by

the government is making body-worn

cameras mandatory for private bailiffs,

but, without independent regulation,

this measure will not be enough.

Phil Andrew, CEO of StepChange,

says that lives have been turned upside

down by the unregulated bailiff sector:

“We’ve waited long enough for the

kind of meaningful reform that has

successfully reduced harm in other

areas of debt recovery. The simple truth

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 8

is that, on bailiffs, the Government is

woefully behind the curve. We have the

evidence, we have support from across

parliament and the Lords - it’s now time

for the Government to act.”

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive

of Citizens Advice, claims that the

Government has been dragging its

feet: “Someone seeks our help every

three minutes with an issue related to

bailiffs and this cannot continue. Only

independent regulation of bailiffs will

protect vulnerable people from the

stress, anxiety and financial hardship

they face right now.”

Russell Hamblin Boone, the CEO of

CIVEA, is, however, frustrated by what he

sees as ‘unfair allegations’ that continue

to be aimed at enforcement agents.

While he understands the concerns

about problem debt being attributed

to Council Tax payments, he believes

it is worrying that debt advice groups

believe that stopping enforcement will

solve the problem: “There is a persistent

stream of poor research that is used

to criticise enforcement practices,” he

told Credit Management. “For example,


“Our own evidence based on first-hand

experiences of frontline agents and the local

government ombudsman shows that the

regulations introduced in 2014 are meeting

their original objectives.’’

recently Citizens Advice construed

some recommendations based on FOI

responses from local authorities. In fact,

the questions were so inappropriate that

most councils were unable to respond

and the gaps were filled by assumptions

in the report.

“Our own evidence based on firsthand

experiences of frontline agents and

the local government ombudsman shows

that the regulations introduced in 2014

are meeting their original objectives.

There are fewer customers receiving

doorstep visits, and therefore incurring

smaller debts; lower complaint levels

due to the simplified process and fixed

fees; improved awareness and training

in all aspects of vulnerability and the

development of specialist staff; and

significant investment in technology to

maintain professional standards within

the enforcement sector.”

In addition to this, Russell says,

the industry has responded positively

and proactively with the launch of

its independently-monitored code of

practice that sets a new standard for

enforcement agents: “All members

“Councils use enforcement as

a last resort when debtors have

failed to respond to all attempts

to make contact or have

defaulted on payment plans”

of the Civil Enforcement Association,

representing almost the entire market

employing enforcement agents, have

signed up to self-regulation,” he adds.

Russell believes that the code is a

commitment by the enforcement industry

to continue driving up standards and sets

a high bar for anyone wanting to join the

profession. As such, he is disappointed

that the debate continues to be defined

by what he calls ‘poor research and low

level of knowledge about the role of

enforcement’.

“Councils use enforcement as a

last resort when debtors have failed to

respond to all attempts to make contact

or have defaulted on payment plans,” he

says. “The regulations for enforcement

are distinct from standard debt collection,

but the two functions continue to be

conflated leading to calls for tighter

controls on enforcement agents. In fact,

restricting enforcement agents will not

stop people getting into problem debt and

local authorities would collect fewer fines

and taxes.

“This is important because over half

a billion pounds is collected each year

by enforcement agents and 27 percent

of Council Tax goes direct to councils,

who spend 60 percent on support for

vulnerable people.”

>NEWS

IN BRIEF

One third of Brits would

go into debt to solve a

gap in their finances

MORE than three out of ten British adults

(34 percent) say they would be most

likely to take on extra debt if they were

faced with a sudden gap in their finances,

according to new research from R3, the

insolvency trade body.

Thirteen percent of over 2,000 people

surveyed for R3’s latest Personal Debt

Snapshot say they would use a credit

card if they were faced with a sudden

gap in personal finances. Eleven percent

would ask family or friends for a loan,

seven percent would use their overdraft,

two percent would apply for a bank loan,

and one percent would apply for a payday

loan (a combined 34 percent).

Positively, nearly half (48 percent)

of respondents say that they would be

most likely to use personal savings as a

solution to an unexpected gap in their

personal finances.

R3 President Duncan Swift says that

a high proportion of British adults are

very vulnerable to financial shocks: “It’s

encouraging that almost half of British

adults have a financial cushion available

to them, but it’s equally discouraging

that plenty of others would feel forced to

borrow to cover a gap in their finances,”

he says. “Low interest rates do make

borrowing more affordable in the short

term, but getting into debt can make that

gap in finances even bigger over time.

It can lead to a cycle of debt and stress

which is hard to break, especially when

emergency borrowing is added to preexisting

debt.”

Cash on Go Gone

CASH on Go, trading as Peachy.co.uk

and Uploan.co.uk, was placed into

administration on 5 March. Adam

Stephens, Gilbert Lemon and Henry

Shinners of Smith & Williamson LLP

were appointed as Joint Administrators.

Cash on Go is a high cost short term

lender, otherwise known as a payday

lender, which lends small sums to

customers until the next payday or up to

12 months. The Joint Administrators will

update customers as soon as possible.

CICM

Essentials

TO stay up-to-date with all that

is happening at the CICM – from

qualifications to training, and

membership to events – see the weekly

e-newsletter CICM Essentials.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 9


Prompt Payment Code moves to Small

Business Commissioner’s office

THE CICM has confirmed it has

transferred the hosting and

administration of the Prompt

Payment Code to the Small

Business Commissioner’s office in line

with the Government’s stated ambition to

bring all late payment initiatives under a

single umbrella.

Since its launch in 2008, the Code has

played an important part in promoting a

culture of prompt payment, committing

signatories to pay 95 percent of invoices

within 60 days and work towards 30 days

as normal practice. In the last 12 months,

businesses that have failed to honour

those commitments have been removed,

and only re-instated when a suitable

remedial plan has been approved by the

PPC’s Compliance Board.

Sue Chapple FCICM, the CICM’s

interim Chief Executive, says it makes

perfect sense to streamline payment

issues under the Commissioner’s remit.

She says it makes particular sense to

transfer the Code now following the

appointment of the Code’s originator,

Philip King FCICM, to the post of

interim SBC: “Small businesses want a

single body to whom they can turn for

advice,” she says, “and by transferring

responsibility for the Code to the

Commissioner’s office, we can ensure

the Code receives the investment

and resources it needs to continue its

success in transforming the payment

landscape and promoting best practice.”

Plans were first proposed to transfer

the Code in the Government’s 2019

consultation, ‘Creating a responsible

'We will be working with the

Commissioner and trade

bodies including the CICM to

help increase the number of

businesses on the Code.'

Payment Culture’. The Government said

at the time: ‘We want to increase the

number of people signed up to the Code,

where good practice can be recognised

by their customers and suppliers.

Signing up to the Code is voluntary, so we

will be working with the Commissioner

and trade bodies including the CICM to

help increase the number of businesses

on the Code, including targeting those we

know are already meeting the standard

through their PPR data.’

To date there are more than 2,500

signatories to the Code. In the last 12

months, and a change in policy to allow

those who had failed to honour their

Code commitments to be named publicly,

55 businesses have been suspended

and 26 re-instated, the latter having

demonstrated a substantial improvement

in payment performance that warrants

re-instatement.

“This is the Code working at its

best,” Sue continues. “Throwing people

off is the easy part, but what encourages

me, and shows that the Code has real

power, are the actions taken by half

of all those suspended to have their

businesses re-instated. That says to

me that they want to be seen

to be fair to their suppliers, and

they recognise the harm

that can be done to their

brands by failing to

comply.

“A properly

resourced Code with a

clarity of purpose can

make a real difference.”

Philip King FCICM

Credit professionals lose fight

in preferential status row

THE Budget has confirmed plans to

grant HMRC ‘preferential status’ in

insolvencies from December 2020,

leading business groups, including R3

and the CICM, to describe the move as ‘a

threat to business lending and business

rescue.’

From December, debts owed to HMRC

by insolvent businesses will be repaid

in advance of those owed to ‘floating

charge’ lenders, other businesses, and

pension schemes.

Floating charge lending is a key form

of finance for retailers and SMEs and

has been increasingly popular over the

last two decades. Lenders have warned

that the Government’s policy will limit

the availability of this type of finance.

Duncan Swift, R3 President, says the

Government has ignored advice from

across the business landscape that the

policy should be reviewed, or that steps

should be taken to mitigate its impact:

“The return of HMRC’s preferential

status in insolvencies is a badly-timed

and ill-considered blow to the UK’s

enterprise culture. It will damage

business lending and business rescue,

and will affect jobs, livelihoods and the

economy.

“It’s perverse that on the day that

the Bank of England has taken steps to

boost business lending, the Government

has taken a step in the opposite

direction. It is beyond frustrating that

the Budget has confirmed the policy

will be introduced without meaningful

changes from what was first proposed.

The plans were first announced in

2018 with no consultation and, since

then, there has been near unanimous

opposition to them. Business groups

and lenders have been clear that the

policy will be a short-term gain for

HMRC at the expense of a long-term

cost for the economy.”

Duncan says that the slight delay

in implementation until December

changes nothing: “A bad policy in April

is still a bad policy in December,” he

continued. “It is scarcely believable

that the Government has turned a deaf

ear to these concerns and has ignored

sensible suggestions for how the

negative consequences of the policy

could be mitigated. This has been a

policymaking failure from start to

finish. “At a time when businesses

are facing economic headwinds, they

need the Government to help them,

not elbow them out of the way. Priority

repayment for HMRC in insolvencies

will reduce what can get repaid to other

businesses, pension schemes, and

lenders. Reduced returns to lenders

will increase the costs of borrowing

and availability of finance, especially in

rescue situations.

“Ultimately, dropping the policy

entirely would be the only way to

avoid its harmful side effects. The

Government would see much better

results if HMRC were to engage

proactively and commercially in

insolvencies rather than trying to skip

the repayment queue.”

Sue Chapple, interim Chief Executive

of the CICM, is similarly aggrieved:

“Sadly the Government has persisted

with the folly of reintroducing Crown

preference, and the impact on trade

creditors, their revenues and their

cashflow will be substantial. While

it may appear to be a simple way of

growing the Government's tax receipts,

any benefit will be far outweighed by

the damage done to

businesses and the

wider economy

and the proposal

should have been

confined to the

waste paper bin."

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 10


INSOLVENCY SPECIAL

REGIME CHANGE

Insolvency Practitioners Association publishes

its first benchmark report

AUTHOR – Michelle Thorp

Michelle Thorp

MANY will be aware of the

significant changes to

the Individual Voluntary

Arrangement (IVA) and

Protected Trust Deed

(PTD) market in recent

years.

Personal debt is unfortunately on the rise

in the UK. IVAs and PTDs (in Scotland) are

common solutions for people in debt. The

number of people utilising these insolvency

processes has increased significantly in

recent years. In 2010, there were 27,543 live

IVA cases. By 2014, this annual figure had

risen to 46,751. The most recent figures we

have, from December 2019, give this number

as 277,262 – a significant rise indeed.

On PTDs, available in Scotland only, the

total number of registrations stood at 6,681

in 2013/2014, rising to 28,226 as of December

2019.

Correlating with this change in the market,

the firms that administer these debt solutions

have grown. A handful of companies now

control the market, undertaking far higher

volumes of cases than ever seen before in

the profession. The firms also use new,

technology enabled processes to conduct

their business.

As I’ve mentioned before, after discussions

with creditors, debt charities, the Government

and insolvency practitioners (IPs), we at the

Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA)

designed a new, bespoke regulatory scheme

for these volume provider (VP) firms in

November 2018. The scheme was put into

action in January 2019 and extended to cover

PTDs in July of the same year.

CONTINUOUS MONITORING

Departing from large-scale annual reviews of

these providers, we have moved to a regime

underpinned by an industry-first system of

continuous monitoring. Information has

been made easier for IPA Inspectors to access,

and we have stepped up the number of inperson

and remote monitoring visits on the

VPs. This way of measuring VP performance

is more in tune with their business models

and ways of operating.

I’m delighted by the publication of our

first benchmark report on the scheme, which

has now had the chance to be fully embedded

and is starting to produce results.

We cover almost 70 percent of the IVA

market with the scheme and 57 percent of the

PTD market. This means that the majority of

the UK’s insolvencies are covered by the IPA.

It’s crucial that people entering a

voluntary insolvency process make a fully

informed decision to do so and are aware of

the potential consequences of the process

failing. This is important not just for the

person in debt, but of course for their

creditors and other stakeholders. There have

been concerns about the level and quality of

advice that is made available to prospective

clients by firms controlling high numbers

of IVA and PTD cases. In response, we made

this a focus in 2019, undertaking 305 indepth

reviews of advice calls between the

VP and the individual, each review taking up

to three hours to complete. This gave us an

excellent opportunity to ensure that scheme

members are abreast of their responsibilities,

identify improvements and take action where

necessary. It’s important to keep in mind that

the number of complaints we received in

2019 relating to scheme members was low, at

0.04 percent of IVAs and 0.03 percent of PTDs.

In the same way as the advice call reviews,

we have focused on the practice of VPs

accepting referrals from lead generation

firms to secure new business. In another

industry-first, we are requiring VPs to only

accept referrals from introducers who

are authorised by the Financial Conduct

Authority (FCA), in advance of a professionwide

requirement. We have also turned our

attention to VP marketing and advertising,

and the rates of failure for IVAs and PTDs.

Our changes to regulation should ensure

that there is no doubt as to VP responsibilities,

but nothing stands still in regulation, so we

will continually adapt the new scheme to

ensure that we match this fast-moving area of

the insolvency profession.

Input from the creditor community

and IPs was instrumental in the scheme’s

design and implementation, as were the

VPs themselves, who took a leading role.

It takes time for change to be realised, but

strong foundations have been put in place

to produce what I’m sure will be positive,

permanent change. We will continue to look

to all stakeholders, including other regulators

and government, for support in continuing

to make improvements to the regulatory

landscape.

You can access the benchmark report

via the IPA’s website at: www.insolvencypractitioners.org.uk/press-publications/

recent-news.

Michelle Thorp is CEO, Insolvency

Practitioners Association.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 11


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Advanced Thinking

The value of CICM membership and beyond.

AUTHOR – Claire Bishop

IF you are reading this then I will

assume that you work in or have

an interest in credit management

as a profession. Maybe you are a

member, or you have picked this

magazine up at work. So if I asked

you ‘What does the CICM, your professional

body, do for you,’ what would you say?

Having worked in professional bodies

for a good 15 years, I am constantly

reminded that most people do not know

what the real value of a professional body

is or could be. Answering ‘I work for a

professional body’ to the ‘And what do you

do?’ question in a work or social situation

usually leads to a strange look of horror on

the face of the asker that says ‘Ooh, I was

hoping for an answer I could talk about

and I have no idea what to say next.’

But I am passionate about what we do,

and what we stand for at the CICM, and

given half a chance I will wax lyrical about

it. That is usually when I get the response

I was hoping for, and believe we deserve:

‘Wow, that must be really interesting and

challenging’ and it is.

A CLEAR PLAN

I wanted to share with you that over the

last 12 months we have been evaluating

our reason for being: checking that our

energy, planning and passion is directed

to the right things, talking to members,

professionals at every stage of their career,

and the wider profession. The result is a

clear plan for 2020 and beyond.

CICM MEMBERSHIP

Workshops

and events

M

Mentor hub

-

Networks

K

Benevolent

fund

Online

advice and

resources

! ,

Member

Advice

Service

Webinars

Qualifications

Apprenticeships

ADVANCING THE CREDIT PROFESSION

ó

Magazine

Knowledge

Hub

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 12


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

AUTHOR – Claire Bishop

It is clear in our minds, and it should be in yours,

that you are part of a diverse and challenging

profession that is at the heart of business success.

THE CICM’S REASON FOR BEING AND

VISION

As the largest recognised professional body

in the world for the credit profession, CICM’s

reason for being is to advance the credit

profession. This is not an empty tag line, this is

our plan, our vision: let’s just take a look at the

two main elements of this statement.

1: Use of the word advance: to move forward in

a purposeful way, to make progress.

2: The credit profession. I have been party

to some conversations and debate around

what constitutes a profession, particularly

around the credit profession. If you are

working in credit management then you

have a specialised set of knowledge and

understanding, and tasks to complete. The

credit profession requires specific training,

skills and knowledge. It is clear in our minds,

and it should be in yours, that you are part of

a diverse and challenging profession that is at

the heart of business success.

SO, HOW DO WE ADVANCE THE

CREDIT PROFESSION?

We help individuals and organisations of

all sizes manage credit and maximise cash

collection efficiently and professionally,

in an increasingly challenging business

environment.

We put our members and the business

community at the centre of everything we

do. As the trusted leader and expert in credit

management, we provide our members and

the credit community with support, advice,

connections and career development.

Through our work networks and collaboration

with other bodies, we provide the credit

profession (members and beyond) with a

strong and influential collective voice to steer

government policy and direction.

Through a comprehensive programme of

publications, helplines, conferences, events

and webinars, qualifications and workshops,

we keep CICM members up-to-date and

equipped to meet the demands of the crucial

role they perform in modern business.

As a professional body and a charity, we are not

here solely for our members. While our focus

is on helping our members, providing tools and

advice to help them be successful in their work

and careers, we also have the wider picture to

consider. It is our responsibility to promote the

importance of credit management and the best

ways to achieve success in managing credit.

Our recent work on the Prompt Payment Code

is an illustration of how your professional

body works with and influences government

to change payment culture and policy across

industries.

WHAT ARE WE AIMING FOR?

THE CICM VISION

Advance thinking: As thought leaders and the

centre of expertise for credit management, we

are the strong and influential collective voice

of the profession.

Advance best practice: Setting the standard

for credit management and gaining universal

recognition that this is what keeps business in

business.

Advance careers: Supporting credit careers

at every stage, from advice for getting into

the profession, to qualifying, to leadership

development and support in hard times.

Advance skills: Improving skills and standards

through a growing membership and delivery of

high-quality qualifications and training.

Advance connections: Acting as the catalyst

for sharing of insight, information, support,

ideas, innovations and debate across the credit

profession.

CICM: YOUR UNIQUE CREDIT

COMMUNITY

The real power and value of the CICM as your

professional body is in the numbers: together

we are stronger, learn more, support each

other, gain more insight, share more ideas

and have a louder voice. We are your unique

community, with one goal in mind: to advance

the credit profession.

What is the CICM?

A professional body

A membership body

A standard setter

A thought leader

A voice for the profession

A community

A training provider

An awarding body

A publisher

A charity

A source of news

An events organiser

CICM Membership

Gives you peace of mind

Community

Professional recognition

Career advancement

Your chance to influence

policy

ADVANCING THE CREDIT PROFESSION

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 13


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SOAPBOX

CHOICE CUTS

We sometimes have to make difficult choices,

especially when it comes to knives and forks.

AUTHOR – Glen Bullivant FCICM

Glen Bullivant FCICM

THE question before me was

straightforward, namely which

to tackle first – the North

Face or the South Face? Both

displayed equal challenges

and in truth whichever way

you looked at it, the meat and potato pie was

daunting. Just go for it was the only practical

decision. Easy to do at home but more

problematic in a public environment, where

standards have to be seen to be maintained.

Take for example the recent CICM British

Credit Awards 2020 Dinner where I was

confronted by a place setting consisting of

more cutlery than in my kitchen drawer

at home and no less than four glasses for

drinks of different colours. No worries really,

because my mum had always said to start at

the outside and work inwards as far as knives

and forks were concerned, and the waiter

would always know which glass was for which

– my choice determined that outcome, i.e.

red or white. The waiter also filled one glass

with water and the mystery of the fourth glass

was solved when our redoubtable Managing

Editor appeared from behind a bottle of

champagne offering each diner a tipple at

well below market rate.

All in all, it was a splendid evening and a

great success. It is true that the lovely young

lady on my left did nick my bread roll having

chosen to go to her right rather than her left,

but she was from Lancashire so that was

perfectly understandable. All the glitterati

were in attendance including one young credit

professional looking as if he had just come to

the dinner hotfoot from an audition for Peaky

Blinders. Everyone there had made choices

in their career paths, their determination to

be the best at what they do and to win, win,

win. All awards nominees shared that same

passion – they had all made the right choices.

EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS

Government has choices to make all the

time, and decisions often involve extensive

consultations with those considered to be

interested parties. This process begs two

important and fundamental questions – who

do you ask, and what do you ask them? In

the case of HS2 (and I take no sides in that

debate), I suspect that business leaders have

one view and the passenger another. I have

little doubt that if government canvassed the

opinion of the CEO of Ripoff & Scarper PLC,

he or she would wax lyrical on the benefits

of knocking time off the journey from Leeds

to London. Put the same question to the

embattled credit manager scrambling for the

07.40 LNER Leeds to King’s Cross and his or

her priorities would be a train, a seat and on

time departure and arrival in that order.

I travel frequently to Liverpool (my

passport is up to date) and never fail to be

amazed by the fact that the line between

Manchester and Liverpool is pretty much as

it was when first laid down 190 years ago at

least in terms of the basic civil engineering

of bridges, viaducts and the like. Not many

years after 1830 came the line from Leeds to

Manchester and again the same basic civil

engineering is in place – bridges, viaducts and

tunnels. Reducing the journey time between

Hull, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool would

involve more than just a tweak here and an

alteration there, so if government found it

hard to bite the bullet on HS2, just wait till

they have to tackle HS3.

The more astute reader will have noticed

that when referring to the CEO and the credit

manager above, I was careful to make sure

that either role could be well filled by a he

or a she. I am totally committed to gender

equality across all walks of life, though I

would have to confess that in spite of my

advancing years (as subtly pointed out by

aforementioned Peaky Blinders contender), I

am still interested in the opposite sex even if I

cannot remember why.

There is, however, one bit of gender

equality correctness which I find very hard to

accept – the decision by the Scottish Maritime

Museum and Lloyds List to refer to ships as

‘it’ rather than ‘she’. Ships have been female

gender since men and women first went to

sea and that was always the case whatever

the name given to the vessel at launch or

completion. The Royal Navy has two new

aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth

(female) and HMS Prince of Wales (male)

and both are crewed by men and women

and I doubt very much that either would be

referred to as an ‘it’ by any crew member,

regardless of their own gender. I have made

my choice – ask me about HMS Victory and I

will say she is beautiful.

Glen Bullivant FCICM is almost past it.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 15


*Learners can enrol up to six weeks after cohort start date.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 16


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

Point of Reference

Are Credit Reference Agencies doing enough to

address regulatory and consumer concerns?

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

CONSUMER Credit Reference

Agencies (CRAs) are

at something of a crossroads.

Often misunderstood

by consumers and

the media alike, their

industry is under constant scrutiny, and

perhaps stand accused of not doing a

better job at their own PR. But is that fair?

Jayadeep Nair, Chief Product and

Marketing Officer at Equifax, certainly

sees the lack of a general understanding

of credit scores, and their role in granting

credit, as a key issue:

“A credit score is a tool used by lenders

to help determine whether an individual

qualifies for a particular credit card, loan,

mortgage or financial service. Using the

information on their credit report and any

additional information they have supplied

as part of their application lenders use

a mathematical model to calculate a

numerical score that represents their

credit history. This helps to indicate what

kind of borrower they are, and how likely it

is that they will manage their repayments.

“Throughout a customer’s life, credit

scores can play a key role in the financial

products they take out. For example, when

applying for a credit card or mortgage,

their credit score could be used to help

determine whether their application is

accepted and what interest rate they end

up paying. People with a higher score are

often seen as lower risk, which means

lenders are more likely to give them credit.

“It’s worth remembering that every

lender follows a different policy for credit

scoring. So, if a customer doesn’t meet

the criteria of one lender, they may still

be able to get credit from someone else.

Customers should find out why they were

turned down before making another

application. They should also be aware

that too many credit searches in a short

time period may be viewed negatively by

lenders.”

Satrajit ‘Satty’ Saha, CEO of TransUnion

in the UK, agrees that lack of consumer

awareness and understanding is a hurdle:

“Two thirds of British consumers (66

percent) don’t know their credit score,

and just 38 percent are confident that they

know what information is stored in their

credit report, according to research we

carried out for our recent white paper.

“As we’ve seen in the US, greater

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 17

continues on page 18 >


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

consumer awareness around credit scores

leads to a generally more well-developed

credit market. Educating consumers is

essential and CRAs like ourselves have a

responsibility here, along with finance

providers and other organisations that use

credit information to help make informed

decisions.”

ONGOING RESPONSIBILITY

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at

Experian UK&I, concurs that the industry

has an ongoing responsibility to raise public

awareness about how the credit system

works. But what have they been doing thus

far to overcome this issue and what more

could they be doing in the future?

“At Experian we’ve been running public

awareness campaigns to help educate people

about credit and credit reporting for several

decades. Our annual Credit Awareness

Campaign, which is four years old this year,

aims to do precisely that – build public

understanding about the way the credit

information system works and educate

consumers about the steps that they can take

to take control of their financial information

and access more appropriate and affordable

credit.”

Satty has a similar view: “As CRAs, we hold a

privileged position in enabling trust between

finance providers and their customers

through the use of data, ensuring each

person is reliably and securely represented.

At TransUnion, we call this Information for

Good. We have seen an emerging but clear

desire for more education and understanding

of credit and finance among consumers,

and this is something TransUnion is actively

focused on.

“We support UK finance providers in

educating their customers and building trust

with our interactive CreditView tool. We also

work closely with our partners Credit Karma,

TotallyMoney and MoneySuperMarket to

help consumers take control of their credit

information, and we are educating UK

students about their credit report and its

uses through our initiative with secondary

schools.”

Equifax says it is addressing the challenge

with its Equifax Knowledge Centre: “The

Equifax Knowledge Centre provides a range

of resources to help consumers understand

all elements of credit reference agencies,

as well as articles about general areas of

financial management and fraud protection,”

Jayadeep explains.

FINANCIAL EXCLUSION

As well as ‘education’, arguably the biggest

single issue facing the consumer CRA

industry currently is tackling financial

exclusion from mainstream finance. James

Jones says that great strides have been made in

the last decade to make it quicker and easier to

apply for everyday financial products such as

credit cards, loans and even mortgages: “Our

research, however, shows there are around

5.8 million people in the UK who can find

themselves excluded from the mainstream

financial system owing to lack of accessible,

relevant financial data.

“For these ‘credit invisibles’ such services

can remain far out of reach, but we’ve sought

to tackle this issue by using new innovative

data sources which we think can, in time,

reduce the UK’s credit invisible population

and get more people access to affordable

finance. “More broadly,” he adds, “there’s

a real opportunity to help people from all

backgrounds through data-led financial

innovation.”

The industry recently came into the cross

hairs of the Financial Conduct Authority

(FCA) with the launch of a market study

and concerns surrounding the coverage and

quality of credit information available. But

have these concerns any foundation in truth?

Satty is circumspect in his answer: “The FCA

market study of the credit information sector

is a natural development for the industry,

which plays an increasingly important role

in assisting businesses to ensure responsible

lending and helping consumers access the

credit needed for everyday life; such as mobile

phone contracts, car finance plans, credit

cards, loans and mortgages.

“We believe this study aligns with our

aims of supporting businesses to ensure that

credit provided to customers is affordable –

promoting financial inclusion – and helping

consumers to better understand their credit

report and score so they can take control of

their financial information to help them

achieve their goals. We are constantly

innovating and investing to ensure that our

products and services meet these needs, with

the consumer firmly at the forefront of all that

we do.”

Jayadeep plays a similarly straight bat: “The

FCA’s Credit Information Market Study is a

welcome development,” he says. “It is vital

that the credit information market works

well and helps protect vulnerable consumers,

improve financial inclusion and ensure people

can access appropriate financial products.

Equifax is committed to a credit information

market that works in the best interests of

consumers, increases awareness and provides

deeper understanding of credit reporting and

responsible lending.”

VULNERABLE CUSTOMERS

So are vulnerable customers more

disproportionately affected by the way

credit information is used? Jayadeep says

Equifax is alive to the suggestion: “Financial

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 18


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

“Companies need

to be aware of the

extra pressures their

customers may face and

treat them appropriately

when they are struggling

to meet payments. This

can be achieved by

developing strategies

for these customers that

proactively engage with

them to offer additional

support.’’

vulnerability and debt are issues that cut

across CRAs, regulatory bodies, charities

and government,” he says. “An FCA

study found that some consumers find

communicating with large organisations,

or accessing products, difficult.

Financially vulnerable consumers can

also find that they are unable to obtain a

flexible, tailored service that meets their

specific needs.

“Companies need to be aware of the

extra pressures their customers may face

and treat them appropriately when they

are struggling to meet payments. This can

be achieved by developing strategies for

these customers that proactively engage

with them to offer additional support.

We urge individuals struggling with debt

repayments to talk to their creditors as

soon as possible and compel creditors

of all types to use data-driven methods

to identify customers at risk of financial

difficulties and support them in accessing

high quality advice.”

Satty says that TransUnion is already

providing access to data that can

be utilised by businesses to support

those that are in vulnerable financial

circumstances, and evolving technology

further enables this: “Open Banking, for

example, is showing much promise in this

area by offering consumers more control

over access to their financial information

and helping businesses more accurately

assess creditworthiness.”

Identifying how data and technology

can be used to better support vulnerable

customers is something TransUnion

says it is actively involved in. Satty says

it recently contributed to the Financial

Inclusion Policy Forum’s Fair4All

consultation which considers the role of

data in the affordable credit market, and

whether new data sources could improve

providers’ ability to make appropriate

lending decisions for those who find

themselves excluded from affordable

credit or are in vulnerable financial

circumstances.

“We place great importance on

leveraging data to help clients better

identify consumers who are in financial

difficulty or showing signs of financial

vulnerability,” Satty continues. “Based on

this analysis they can ensure consumers

are supported and offered forbearance

where appropriate. Done well, it can

help clients identify pre-emptive lead

indicators and take action that helps

consumers who, for example, could be in

persistent debt as a result of affordability

problems, leading to better outcomes for

all involved.”

Satty says that as a business, TransUnion

has a strong legacy of developing solutions

that help enable responsible lending

and protect consumers: “As far back as

2006, we launched our first affordability

solution in the UK – an industry first at

the time – and we continue to look for

other opportunities to assist clients and

ultimately consumers.”

OPEN BANKING

Continuing the Open Banking theme,

James says that Experian was the first

large credit reference agency to receive

FCA accreditation to supply Open Banking

services: “We now work across with a wide

range of organisations to bring its benefits

to people,” he says.

“For example, Money Advice Scotland

is piloting our open banking technology

which could help them to significantly

speed up the initial stages of debt advice.

The money charity’s new webchat service

uses Experian’s open banking tool to

gather crucial income and expenditure

data, as well as a statement of consumer

credit debts. It takes just minutes, as

opposed to the weeks and months it

can take to gather this information over

several advice appointments.”

Such innovation from Experian is

matched by similar developments

amongst its peers.

In 2019 TransUnion introduced new

products to the UK market that can help

support both consumers and businesses

alike: “TransUnion’s CreditView is a

white-labelled, interactive tool that

helps finance providers to educate and

empower their customers by providing

access to their credit report and score,”

Satty explains. “Our research has shown

that 40 percent of those who actively

engage with their credit score typically

see it increase within the first six months

of regular monitoring. This ensures

access to competitive rates and enables

finance providers to tailor offers for the

individual’s needs.

“We also introduced our TrueVision®

trended data solution which helps deliver

better outcomes for both businesses

and consumers, by providing a more

nuanced and comprehensive picture of

an individual’s financial standing. This

allows financial institutions to leverage

new consumer insights and looks beyond

a single snapshot to a person’s financial

standing over time to help lenders better

understand and evaluate their customers’

credit risk.”

LATEST INNOVATIONS

Equifax has also been innovating. One

of its latest developments, in partnership

with AccountScore, is a new credit risk

index for the consumer lending sector:

“The index is based upon the

transactional information found within

a consumer’s bank account and takes

advantages of the opportunities provided

by Open Banking to develop new products

that better understand consumers,”

Jayadeep explains.

Equifax says the index can be taken as

a standalone product or combined with

traditional credit risk metrics to provide

a fully-rounded understanding of the

affordability of the credit to a customer

and the customer’s creditworthiness. It

combines AccountScore’s custom built

transaction categorisation engine with

the Equifax transaction data behavioural

characteristics – identified as being

leading predictors of creditworthiness

and affordability.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 19


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

AIRE SUPPLY

Sean Feast FCICM meets the founder of Aire and

learns of the importance of context in credit scoring.

ANEESH Varma is a man on a

mission. After working for a

number of the big banks (J.P

Morgan, Credit Suisse and

Morgan Stanley) and having

a healthy appetite for risk, he

was somewhat frustrated when he relocated

from New York to the UK a decade or so ago

and struggled to get credit. “It was a frustrating

experienced for many in the expat community,”

he explains, “and I was determined to do

something about it.”

Though not initially a business idea, Aneesh

began researching the consumer credit reference

agency landscape, meeting Government

officials, politicians and policymakers who

all agreed it was a problem that needed to be

addressed: “I got a pat on the back for raising the

issue but little else. It was only later, with time

and money on my side, that I set out to build my

own company to change things from the inside.”

Aneesh’s research suggested that the industry

was stale, and in need of an upgrade: “We saw

it as an opportunity to re-invent the industry

from the ground up,” he continues, “rather than

trying to fix it with duct tape. The world we lived

in when the first consumer reference agencies

were launched was very different from the world

we live in today. It means that the data sets from

the ‘big three’ can be a bit ‘patchy’. It means also

that younger consumers, the self-employed, and

the gig generation are being left behind, and a

big opportunity missed.”

VITAL INGREDIENTS

Aneesh’s thinking was that the underlying set of

data used for decision making was not only out

of date but missing one vital ingredient: context.

The challenge was how to engage directly with

the consumer: “With the current approach, the

user has no input into the system. But that’s like

someone writing a CV for you and you having no

involvement.”

Like most new business start-ups, the journey

to launch has been a long one. The name –

AIRE – started out as an acronym for Artificially

Intelligent Risk Engine and has stuck for its

simplicity and consumer-facing appeal. Aneesh

worked closely with the regulator, the Financial

Conduct Authority (FCA) in one of the first

ever ‘Sandbox’ initiatives, and more recently

has been working with and through lenders to

demonstrate the proof of concept and that there

are no negative outcomes for the consumer. It

has been almost five years of work behind the

scenes to arrive at the formal launch of its Credit

Insight Suite.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 20


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

“I got a pat on the back for raising the issue but

little else. It was only later, with time and money on

my side, that I set out to build my own company to

change things from the inside.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 21

continues on page 22 >


CREDIT REFERENCE AGENCIES

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

CREDIT INSIGHT SUITE

The Aire Credit Insight Suite is designed to offer

UK lenders greater decision-making power

when it comes to assessing customers for credit

risk and affordability. Operating across the

customer lifecycle, Aire enables lenders to make

fairer, more accurate credit decisions about

their customers: from scoring those with limited

or non-existent credit histories, to optimising

decision-making across acquisition, customer

management, pre-arrears and collections.

Aire anticipates that its services will improve

access to financial services for people with

incomplete or unconventional credit histories,

including 8.3 million UK consumers who are

currently excluded from large parts of the

market due to a lack of detailed historic credit

and affordability information.

Developed to integrate at scale into lenders’

existing credit application and decisioning

systems, Aire’s Credit Insight Suite is said to

improve lenders’ ability to assess credit risk and

affordability by providing what the company

calls ‘a unique range of insights based on firstparty

data’.

Aire gathers detailed financial and lifestyle

information from consumers through an

Interactive Virtual Interview (IVI), interrogates

the data for accuracy using sophisticated

machine learning algorithms and validates it to

calculate scores that inform decision-making

across the lending lifecycle.

“We believe that

when it comes to

credit everyone

has a future, not

everyone has a

past – and it’s our

mission to solve

that.”

ENCOURAGING RESULTS

Results have so far been encouraging: to date

it claims to have scored more than $10 billion

of credit; lenders using Aire at the point of

customer acquisition boosted acceptance

rates by up to 14 percent without increased

marketing spend, risk appetite or default

rates; in collections trials, Aire helped lenders

engage with customers and accelerate the

recovery of outstanding credit by 25 percent

with no increase in referrals to debt-collection

agencies.

Aneesh describes Aire as bringing greater

equilibrium to consumer credit by filling a

significant knowledge gap for lenders, providing

them with brand new data directly from the

consumer: “We know that a reliance on only

historic data falls down when lenders score

consumers without detailed credit histories - it’s

this lack of evidence – and a lack of context –

that stops accurate decision-making. By putting

the consumer in control, we are solving the

thin-file problem for lenders and providing new

insight to improve marginal decision-making,

providing lenders with a faster, fairer way to

assess credit risk and affordability.

“We’ve long believed that the best possible data

source for lenders is the consumer themselves.

By validating and interpreting this data, we offer

lenders better insights that accurately reflect the

current financial situation of their customers.

This provides lenders with greater decisionmaking

power and provides consumers with the

right credit they both deserve and can afford to

pay back.”

Aneesh is keen to stress that Aire is not

designed to replace existing CRAs, but rather

work alongside what’s currently available:

“When lenders switch from one CRA to another

it is a complicated process, and for us to success

we don’t need to displace any of the big three,”

he adds.

DUAL PROTECTION

Aire, he says, helps to protect the lender and the

consumer alike, for as well as allowing credit

to be extended to consumers who are currently

being unfairly excluded, it can also alert lenders

to how a ‘better’ risk might in fact be on the verge

of financial distress: “Traditional scoring might

suggest the creditworthiness of a consumer

that additional insight will show is in fact

vulnerable,” he says. “Algorithms are only ever

one part of the solution; context is everything.”

Aneesh’s plans are big. He’s raised $25 million

in funding and opened an office in Washington

DC to add to its headquarters in London. Step

One, he says, is to fill the gaps left by traditional

CRAs and show that Aire’s Credit Insight Suite

can work; step two, is to roll-out the concept

in the US. “We believe that when it comes to

credit everyone has a future, not everyone has a

past – and it’s our mission to solve that,” he

concludes.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 22


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 23


LEGAL MATTERS

FAST AND FURIOUS

What do you get if you combine fast cars, a jet

aeroplane, a yacht, a property portfolio and a loan

agreement? The answer is trouble.

AUTHOR – Peter Walker

NO financiers in their right

minds would lend me

money to buy fast cars, a

yacht or a jet aeroplane,

even if the loan was

mostly intended to finance

a sound business, yet they were all

ingredients in a £75m loan to a property

developer.

This loan was the essence of a BBC

news item on 28 January 2020, which also

reported that ‘more than 12,000 companies

were also pushed into ‘the Royal Bank

of Scotland’s controversial restructuring

group’. There were accusations of

‘exploiting firms and acquiring their

assets at knockdown prices.’ Credit

Managers need a cool analysis in these

circumstances, and this was provided

in the High Court by Mr Justice Kerr in

Morley v the Royal Bank of Scotland plc

(2020) EWHC 88 (Ch).

He considered the facts presented

before him, and they were less sensational

than the newspaper headlines. The

Claimant was a developer of commercial

properties, and he borrowed money to

purchase and improve them. The rental

income would cover the interest. The Law

Report states that his bank’s relationship

manager ‘admired the high occupancy

levels’ of the properties. A useful statistic

is the ratio between the number of

units available to let and the number of

occupied units – when I worked for an

investment banking company, I used this

ratio.

The bank (RBS) was satisfied, and

in 2005 entered into a loan facility

agreement. The Claimant now had a

facility of £75m to refinance his activities,

and add more properties, RBS permitted a

‘bonus payment’ for his personal use. He

would have to repay the loan of course,

and the interest was one percent above

the bank’s base rate. That would increase

to three percent above that base rate in

the event of a default.

LIST OF DEFAULTS

The list of defaults included an interest

cover ratio, which would come into effect

if the rental income was less than 1.3

(increasing to 1.4) times interest payable.

If there was a breach of this and other

specified defaults, the bank could call in

the whole amount. The Claimant had to

provide security initially on 21 properties.

In addition to these arrangements the

Claimant entered into a three-year collar

agreement as a hedge against interest rate

changes.

Once the bank and the Claimant had

settled the details of the loan, he paid off

two loans at other banks, and earmarked

£10m for the purchase and development

of other properties. He then could have

some fun with the ‘bonus payment’, and he

made some investments. He bought land

in the South of France, on which he built

a luxury villa. He then bought a yacht,

which he sailed on the Mediterranean.

He had other residences in England,

and he acquired some fast cars. He

needed extra finance, a mortgage, to

buy a jet aeroplane.

In addition to his acquisition of

these assets he added to the property

portfolio, there were interest rate

rises, and the Claimant asserted that

the effect of the collar was to increase

his liability for interest payments.

There were breaches of covenant,

but the bank granted waivers in

exchange for fees. In 2007 the bank was

unwilling to ignore such breaches, and it

proposed a new financing arrangement.

This would include a new fixed interest

rate swap to replace the collar, and there

would be a new development facility for

two more properties. The Claimant tried

to negotiate.

STORMY NEGOTIATIONS

Negotiations, stormy at times, continued,

and by the end of 2008 there was no

agreement. The value of the properties

had fallen below the principal amount

of the loan. The bank considered the

involvement of its much-criticised Global

Restructuring Group (GRG) intended to

deal with customers whose businesses

were in difficulties. Throughout 2009

there were other attempts to reach an

agreement.

There was also ‘the Banking Crisis’,

and the bank entered into an agreement

with the Commissioners of HM Treasury,

and it joined the Asset Protection Scheme

(APS). The Government was prepared

to underwrite some losses in respect

of ‘Covered Assets’ defined in the APS

scheme.

This was the background to the

negotiations with the Claimant, and CRG

was involved too. At the end of 2009 the

Claimant made some proposals, and both

the CRG and the APS officials would have

to approve them. For the moment that

was unnecessary, because the various

attempts to resolve the situation had

failed. Events worsened, when a fire

destroyed one of the properties, and the

insurance company refused to pay out.

The value of the portfolio decreased.

The properties nevertheless were

an important element in the various

proposals to resolve the problem, and

finally in July and August 2010 there were

agreements. The Claimant retained a

proportion – less than half in value – of

the portfolio, for which he paid the bank

£20.5 million. The rest of the portfolio

was transferred to West Register (Property

Investments) Limited (‘West Register’), a

subsidiary of the bank.

BREACH OF DUTY

The Claimant was not satisfied, and he

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 24


LEGAL MATTERS

AUTHOR – Peter Walker

brought claims in tort and in contract. He

claimed in tort that the bank had failed to

provide banking services with reasonable

care and skill. He furthermore asserted

that the bank had a duty to act in good

faith and not for a purpose unrelated to

the bank’s commercial interests.

In this respect Kerr J referred to a

decision of the judges of the Court of

Appeal in Property Alliance Group Ltd v

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (2018) 1

WLR 3529. A borrower had entered into

an interest rate hedging instrument,

an interest rate swap. If the borrower

terminated early and interest rates

had declined, there would be significant

break costs. That is what happened,

and the borrower claimed that (a) the

bank had negligently failed to disclose

the worst-case scenario, (b) the bank by

using the word ‘hedge’ had misrepresented

the borrower’s interest rate risks, and (c)

the bank had impliedly misrepresented

that it would not manipulate interest

rates.

The judges found that on the facts none

of these allegations applied. The purpose

of the hedging agreement was favourable

to the bank, but it protected the borrower

from rises in interest rates with their

consequent risk that the borrower

would be unable to pay interest to the

bank. The judges of the Court of Appeal

said that the power in the arrangement

could be exercised in the bank’s interest

without the need to balance it against

the customer’s interest. The power must

not be used to ‘vex’ the customer nor, for

example, be for a purpose unrelated to the

bank’s legitimate interests.

One of the interests of the bank in the

Morley case was in the money lent to the

Claimant, and Kerr J observed that on the

facts it was ‘an ordinary loan agreement’.

Any contractual discretions had to be

exercised as identified in the manner of

the judgment of the court in the Property

Alliance Group case, e.g. no vexing and

the purpose must be related to the bank’s

legitimate interests.

BONUS PAYMENT

There were other complications such as

the ‘bonus payment’ for the Claimant’s

own use. Kerr J noted that he had spent

it on various items including a yacht, a

jet aeroplane and fast cars. There was

nothing put aside for a rainy day, and it

had rained. At that time there was little,

The bank (RBS)

was satisfied, and

in 2005 entered

into a loan facility

agreement. The

Claimant now had

a facility of £75m

to refinance his

activities, to add

more properties,

and RBS permitted

a ‘bonus payment’

for his personal

use.

or no, market for such assets, and the

Claimant’s omission to keep sufficient

money in reserve meant that he lost the

chance to salvage the whole property

portfolio. Kerr ruled that the Bank was not

at fault. There was, however, the threat to

expropriate the portfolio by making a prepack

Administration transfer of assets to

the bank’s subsidiary, West Register. Kerr

J regarded this and the other incidents

as being ‘a commercial response’ to

the Claimant’s request for more time.

He finally considered the Claimant’s

allegations of intimidation and economic

distress. Kerr J was not convinced. The

Claimant was an experienced property

developer, and he ‘must have been well

aware of the remedy of receivership

available to a secured creditor bank in

case of default.’ The bank was furthermore

correct in its view that the Claimant had

affirmed the agreements, because, for

example, he had not taken any steps to set

them aside for five years.

The Claimant therefore lost his case,

and there are lessons to be drawn from

the bank’s victory. Credit managers of

businesses, which are financing projects,

must insist that the borrower regularly

provides information such as reports of

interest cover ratios, perhaps supported

by independent auditors. These should be

specified in the loan agreement.

If there are failures to meet the targets,

there must be no reluctance to accept

deviations, even if fees are payable. The

value of the security must be regularly

reviewed – share prices, for example, have

recently been volatile.

Then if the borrower sails off into

the sunset in a yacht, flies away in a jet,

or flees in a fast car, there are assets of

enough value to pay off the loan.

Peter Walker is a freelance business

writer specialising in legal matters

relating to credit management.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 25


Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 26


INTERVIEW

THE GRAY

MATTER

Sean Feast FCICM speaks to Yvette Gray

about commercial collections, the value

of CICMQ, and personal fitness training.

YVETTE Gray might have been

a personal trainer. Having

represented Team GB in Japan

for aerobic gymnastics at

the world championships, the

thought of turning a passion into

a career was never far from her mind. She also

toyed briefly with the idea of becoming a police

officer, or cabin crew.

So how, then, did she end up working in

credit, and rising to the top job of one of the

UK & Ireland’s largest commercial collections

businesses?

“I knew I wanted to work and to get out into

the big world beyond the small town in which

I was born, I wanted to escape to the city,”

she explains. “A friend of mine worked for the

Export Credit Guarantees Department (ECGD)

and said there were vacancies, so I applied for

a job and started working on a three-month

temporary contract. Thirty years later, and I am

still here!”

Born in the small town of Mountain Ash, 20

or so miles to the north of Cardiff (the city to

which she hoped to escape), Yvette was educated

locally and though she enjoyed school, knew

that university was not for her: “I liked English

and sport, and though I was fairly academic, I

had more interest in getting a job.”

To say she landed on her feet would perhaps

be a pun too far, but she certainly loved her job

from the off: “I was in the claims and recoveries

team,” she explains, “and what I really liked was

the international feel of what we were doing.

Although our customers were UK based, their

debtors could be almost anywhere in the world,

and the cases I was dealing with were always

varied. In my first role as a Recoveries Officer

I found myself responsible for France and the

Middle East and found it all really interesting.

I was also working with some great people

(including Gideon Jones who is still with the

business) who had so much experience you

could learn from.”

DOMESTIC BOOK

With the privatisation of the ECGD in 1991, and

its evolution into NCM, Yvette was part of the

team developing the company’s domestic book,

working closely with Insolvency Practitioners,

Debt Collection Agencies, and lawyers to

understand and advise their customers (who

at the time were all NCM credit insurance

policyholders) on the collections process, and

what they could expect. She was also one of

the first members of the organisation’s Special

Risk Management (SRM) team, identifying and

monitoring those businesses deemed to be

most at risk, usually because of a deteriorating

financial position.

It was perhaps inevitable that what started

out as an ‘advice’ team to support policyholders

ultimately evolved into a dedicated recoveries

and collections business. It was also perhaps

inevitable that the business should not only act

for policyholders, but would also actively seek

third-party, non-insured businesses.

“We set up the collections business in

1997 initially so our policyholders had our

total support, both in paying a claim and

also in recovering any outstanding debts,”

she continues. “It was later, as the business

expanded and we opened more offices in more

regions, that we extended our service to include

non-insured businesses.”

The growth has been considerable. From

comparatively modest beginnings, the

Collections business now has 33 offices around

the globe, and collected more than €350

million [last year] from around 100,000 cases

and has an average success rate of 79 percent

globally, excluding insolvencies and customer

withdrawals.

“We now have offices in nearly every major

continent, and have recently opened offices

in Dubai, Morocco and Romania. Where we

don’t have a physical presence, we still work

through agents, for example in some of the

more esoteric Eastern European markets.” Our

mission as Atradius is to support our customers

to trade around the world and when there is

a non-payment issue they can count on our

local expertise and knowledge to help them to

recover the debt.

Yvette says that being part of a major credit

insurer (NCM became Atradius in 2003 having

merged with the German credit insurance

group Gerling Credit and briefly becoming

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 27

continues on page 28 >


Gerling NCM) is a major advantage: “It gives us

added leverage,” she says. “If a buyer fails to pay,

then it impacts their credit score and their ability

to get credit insurance.”

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN

The downturn in 2008 was a tough time for

Atradius across all of its businesses, and Yvette is

understandably circumspect in her response to

my questioning: “There were well-documented

challenges across all of the industry,” she says,

“and it’s fair to say we have learned the lessons

from those times. It has meant that in more recent

economic difficulties, we have been much better

connected with customers and brokers in how we

manage difficult cases and are more agile in our

approach.

“Conversations are much more transparent

and open, and the quality of data has particularly

improved. The data available today is much more

current and up-to-date and provides a better

picture of a company’s true financial position.

This is helping customers make even betterinformed

decisions.”

Yvette was engaged early in the process

of establishing Atradius Collections and

setting up the customer services teams.

She also took on a global sales manager’s

role, expanding the company’s portfolio

into both globally insured and noninsured

businesses. She also had a spell in

Programme Management, looking at ways

of best servicing their clients on a global

basis:

“Although based in Cardiff, it involved

plenty of travelling to meet customers

and colleagues and working out ways of

ensuring our customers had a consistent

service, regardless of what sector or

market they were involved in. It also meant

understanding and addressing different

expectation levels, and how these varied

across disparate cultures.”

Whereas the appetite for using an outsourced

collections service is a concept that is well

understood in Europe, in other markets it was

more challenging: “Credit managers in the UK

and Europe are far more likely to be comfortable

working with an external third-party, but in Asia,

for example, the practice is not so well established.”

(Atradius Collections publishes an International

Debt Collection handbook each year, a

comprehensive document which sets out the

different approaches required to collecting debts

“I knew I wanted to work and to get out into the big

world beyond the small town in which I was born, I

wanted to escape to the city”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 28


INTERVIEW

from 48 countries worldwide, as well as each country’s

attitude to debt, cost of recoveries and required

documentation. Under each country heading,

the handbook also details the relevant actions/

requirements for the three stages of the company’s

approach to collections: amicable collections; legal

collections; and insolvency proceedings.)

COLLECTIONS TEAM

Yvette’s appointment as Country Director, UK &

Ireland for Atradius Collections means she now heads

up a team of 25 in Cardiff and Dublin, comprising

sales, account management, collections and finance:

“I have a tremendous team and am very proud of

what they do. They make it very easy for me to lead

them,” she says.

“Working with other people is the bit I enjoy most

about work,” she adds. “There is such a diverse mix.”

The quality of the team will soon be tested.

Atradius Collections has applied for Quality in Credit

Management recognition (CICMQ), and by the time

this interview appears in print, Head of CICMQ

Chris Sanders will have completed his preliminary

workshop: “We have always had a good relationship

with the CICM and see the value in benchmarking

ourselves for Quality,” she says.

“We work with credit managers all of the time,

either collecting money for them or from them, so

getting closer to CICM members is an important part

of our strategy.”

So what does Yvette see are the biggest challenges

moving forward? “It’s still about data,” she continues.

“Credit managers demand more data and more insight

and being able to use that data intelligently to predict

outcomes is becoming increasingly important. Our

role is to help our customers do business and support

them to improve their credit management processes

and tools.”

SELF-SERVICE PLATFORM

In terms of latest developments within the business,

Atradius Collections recently-launched an online

self-service platform for SMEs, enabling them to get

a quote in one minute, place debts for collections and

monitor the progress. Perhaps even more innovative,

is a UK pilot of a video channel to engage with

debtors: “By using video we can see who has engaged,

when they engaged, what they viewed and when,”

Yvette explains.

“The real advantage in capturing this data is we

can use it to inform and adjust our own collection

strategies, as well as feeding this information back

to our customers to show who is more likely to pay

in what countries and sectors.”

Yvette is excited about the future and the

challenges ahead. It is a full job that demands

much of her time, but she still finds time

outside of work to be a mum of four and to run

the odd half marathon. Life is full speed ahead

for Yvette and her sporting instincts keep her

on track. She even, for a time, held personal

fitness training classes in-house. So what

advice would she give her younger self today?

“To take a chance,” she says emphatically.

“Trust your gut. You always regret the things

you didn’t do.”

“We work with

credit managers all

of the time, either

collecting money

for them or from

them, so getting

closer to CICM

members is an

important part of

our strategy.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 29


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Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 30


CAREERS ADVICE

Demonstrating Skills

What core skills do credit employers really look for,

and how can you demonstrate that you have them?

AUTHOR – Karen Young

ANY professional working in

credit needs to be aware of a

number of core skills which are

integral to roles of this nature.

Having worked in finance

recruitment for over 24 years, I

have come across a great many candidates with

a variety of backgrounds. However, some skills

have stood out to me as being core skills to credit

functions and ones which aspiring professionals

in the sector ought to have.

As employers are still facing the challenge

of ongoing skills shortages, possessing some or

all of these core skills is crucial to make sure

talent is continuously entering the industry. I

encourage all credit professionals to reflect on

their own skillset in light of my four core skills

below, especially those who are considering

applying to a new role.

IT ABILITIES

It shouldn’t come as much surprise that strong

IT skills are vital in credit. Credit professionals

can expect to use a variety of IT systems which

are predominately used to handle data, manage

repayment schemes, record payments and check

credit records and will need to be confident

using these systems as part of their day-today

role. This comes hand in hand with strong

numerical skills which is a must in almost all

accountancy and finance roles.

For those entering the world of credit,

undertaking any formal training or qualifications

should provide thorough exposure of the

required IT skills, as well as the chance to start

building these skills. Highlight this as a focal

point of your CV by putting listing it in either

the first or second section, so a recruiter or

hiring manager scanning through picks up on it

immediately. If you don’t have much experience

behind you, it might be worth mentioning any

IT-related pursuits to demonstrate that you have

a genuine interest in this area.

ADAPTABILITY

The technology involved with working in credit

is constantly changing, which brings me on to

the second skill I believe to be core to credit

roles which is adaptability. It’s crucial to be able

to work with new technology and systems which

are changing rapidly across accounting and

finance, and stay open-minded to innovation

entering the workplace. Furthermore, working

with a variety of clients on different issues

means that it’s beneficial to stay on your toes by

remaining adaptable in different situations.

A skill like adaptability is harder to

demonstrate in a CV than those represented by a

qualification, but it’s certainly worth mentioning.

An interview is the ideal opportunity to

demonstrate this skill to a recruiter or potential

employer, and I’d recommend using the STAR

method (situation, task, action and result) to

structure your answer if asked about this. Don’t

forget to mention what you achieved as a result

of using this skill.

COMMUNICATION

Good communication is the difference

between bringing an innovative idea to the

table and using it to have a proper impact on

your organisation. It’s a core skill for credit

managers who need to take part in discussions,

listen to others and present their point of view

professionally and convincingly. These skills

are required internally when working across

teams and departments but also externally with

customers and clients with whom you need to

build a positive relationship. As was the case

with demonstrating adaptability, certainly

mention strong communication skills in your

CV. However, be aware that many recruiters and

employers come across this phrase on a regular

basis due to the number of applications they

look at. If you are calm and professional in your

interview, your strength as a communicator will

come across.

WILLINGNESS TO COLLABORATE

The fourth core skill I think is worth mentioning

is the willingness to collaborate – or in other

words, being able to work well in a team. Credit

professionals will find themselves working

with many different colleagues across different

departments when managing the needs of

their clients and customers, making effective

teamwork vital. It is arguably a core skill of

almost any job, so make sure to get this across

in your application. ‘Teamwork’ is another

buzzword often used in CVs, so if you are

referencing this skill, try to stand out by

using phrases such as ‘open-minded’, ‘flexible’

and ‘willing to compromise’. This will help

the recruiter or employer see that you are

someone who suits working in a collaborative

environment and fits in easily with new teams.

Hopefully you notice some or all of these

skills in your own skillset, but if not, don’t worry.

While I believe these are core skills in credit,

much of being a good credit professional comes

with experience. Don’t be afraid to identify

personal areas of focus or improvement in your

application, as it can help demonstrate that you

recognise the core skills which are required and

your commitment to gaining them.

Karen Young is Director at Hays

Credit Management.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 31


COUNTRY FOCUS

Ignore the history,

Vietnam is a great place

to do business

Part One: Vietnam

Rising Star

NOT that very long ago,

Vietnam was a place

associated with third world

conditions, communism

and war with France, the

US and then Cambodia.

Vietnam carried stigma and most certainly

was vilified by the American media.

But history is exactly that, a record

of what has gone before. Vietnam now

would be unrecognisable to anyone from

the 1950’s, 60’s or 70’s. It is now one of

Asia’s – and the world’s – fastest growing

economies with a GDP that is estimated to

have grown 7.3 percent in 2018 albeit with

a forecasted drop to around 6.4 percent in

2020. It’s notable that GDP per capita has

grown by 350 percent since 1991, second

only to China.

Vietnam is party to more than 40 free

trade agreements including the WTO

and regional forums, ASEAN and its

Economic Community, an EU-Vietnam

Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-

Pacific Partnership. Further, it’s situated

in the Mekong region that along with

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and

the south of China offers exporters access

to more than 250 million people.

In other words, the Vietnam of 2019

is as far removed from a B52 bomber

as the Wright Flyer is to the Lockheed

Martin F-35. While it’s worth noting that

Vietnamese culture and civilisations goes

back more than 30,000 years through

various dynasties from 3000BC to modern

times, the reality is that Vietnam is now

an up and coming nation that exporters

would be insane to ignore.

IN NUMBERS

In numbers – quoted by KPMG – the

population stood at 96.4 million in 2018

but is expected to reach 98.2 million by the

end of 2020. Population density is similar

to that of the UK since it has a landmass

of some 330,000km2 compared to the

UK’s 242,495km2 which is home to (just)

66.44 million. Just under 70 percent of the

population work and they earn around

$2,500 a year – which is not bad but well

below that of China’s average income of

$12,500 or even the US at $52,300. Growth

is driven by a growing domestic market

and a young, educated and hard-working

population and the fastest-growing middle

class in South Asia.

GDP is rising from $239bn in 2018 to an

anticipated $270bn in 2020. But where the

figures get interesting is in imports and

exports data. In 2018, Vietnam imported a

total of $237.5bn worth of goods, chief of

which were $42.5bn worth of computers

and electronics, $33.7bn of machinery

and instruments, $16bn of telephones and

allied products, $15.3bn of textiles and

fabrics, and $9.8bn of iron and steel.

In comparison, the country exported

(again, in 2018) goods to the value of

$244.7bn – $50bn of telephones and allied

products, $30.4bn of textiles and garments,

$29.4bn of computers and electronics,

$16.5bn of machinery and instruments

and $16.3bn of footwear.

These numbers are not to be sniffed at

when set against those for the UK – which,

according to a September 2019 report

from the Office for National Statistics

noted that the UK exported £634.1bn and

imported £665bn (approximately $824bn

and $864bn respectively) for the preceding

12-month period.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT IS STRONG

Recalling the earlier reference to

foreign direct investment, new deals

approved in 2018 saw opportunities in a

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 32


COUNTRY FOCUS

AUTHOR – Adam Bernstein

number of Vietnamese sectors – industrial

manufacturing (585 new projects and

$5.88bn of new capital), real estate and

construction (203 new projects and $5.1bn),

textiles and garments (352 new projects and

$2.27bn), energy and natural resources (26

new projects and $1.72bn), food and drink

(121 new projects and $391mn) and other

($2.61bn). It’s clear from the numbers that

some very large infrastructure projects have

been set up.

While these investments are interesting,

so too is the origin of the investment: 37

percent comes from Japan, 20 percent from

South Korea, eight percent from Singapore,

seven percent from Thailand, seven percent

from China, and 21 percent from elsewhere.

One thing that Vietnam has going for

it – for the moment at least – is that it is a

beneficiary of the US/Sino trade war as

international firms look to reorganise their

operations to offset the impact of the tit-fortat

tariffs. It also helps that Vietnam’s labour

costs are low compared to those in China and

the country is relatively easy to do business

in compared with other low-cost locations.

According to the World Bank’s 2019 Doing

Business report, New Zealand is ranked

first, the US sixth, the UK eighth, India 63rd,

Vietnam 70th, Cambodia 144th and Somalia

was 190th. In other words, Vietnam is in a

good place and towards the top of the Easy

banding.

But Vietnam needs to tread carefully

and could suffer the wrath of President

Trump and his trade policy. According to US

government statistics, US goods and services

traded with Vietnam totalled an estimated

$58.2bn in 2017 (latest data available) –

exports were $10.5bn and imports were

$47.8bn. The goods and services trade deficit

with Vietnam stood at $37.3bn in 2017. A

former arch-enemy, the US has imposed

huge tariffs on Vietnamese steel imports. But

Vietnam quickly responded by saying it’ll buy

more from the US to neuter Trump’s anger.

CHALLENGES EXIST

As noted earlier, Vietnam is considered ‘easy’

to do business with. Starting a company

is much easier now that it takes just eight

procedures now compared to more than 100

required a few years ago.

RED TAPE

First off, firms must have a company address

and a lease signed before registering an

entity. There are conditions and limits placed

on some foreign investments with some

undertakings – those dealing with certain

types of drugs, chemicals and minerals,

some biological businesses, and firecrackers

are banned from foreign investment. And it

shouldn’t be a surprise that paperwork must

be completed in Vietnamese and any foreign

paperwork must have certified Vietnamese

translations which have been certified

by courts in the home country, and then

authenticated by a Vietnamese embassy.

Licenses are also issued in Vietnamese.

Vietnam is a country on the move,

but there is still enough bureaucracy to

infuriate; it doesn’t help that there’s a lack

of transparency compounded by regulatory

regimes, commercial law and overlapping

jurisdictions of some government ministries

– policies can seem inconsistent. Similarly,

the country is developing its corporate

culture meaning that standards, disclosure,

and a lack of financial transparency can

make due-diligence tricky.

Adam Bernstein is a freelance

business writer.

Ho Chi Minh City (commonly

known as Saigon) is a city in

southern Vietnam famous for

the pivotal role it played in the

Vietnam War. It's also known for

its French colonial landmarks,

including Notre-Dame Cathedral,

made entirely of materials imported

from France, and the 19th-century

Central Post Office. Food stalls line

the city’s streets, especially around

bustling Bến Thành Market.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 33


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shaping their organizations’ growth initiatives.

Is your organization armed with the best modern finance solutions to make data-driven decisions?

Better Data. Better Insights. Better Performance.

Learn more here: dnb.co.uk/modernfinance © Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. 2020

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 34


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

STAND AND

DELIVER

How do you make your presentation

stand out from the rest?

AUTHOR – Clive Hawkins

Clive Hawkins

YOU have been invited to

speak on a topic and now

need to decide what you are

going to say. Not always an

easy task - how often have you

sat through presentations

and been bombarded with slides which are

crammed with content and contain complex

graphs or tables of data that don’t relate to

your interests. This ‘death by powerpoint’

is not the experience you had hoped for!

So, how do you avoid repeating this when

crafting your own presentation?

START FROM THE END

Whether you are producing a presentation

from scratch, adapting a previous version or

using one that has already been prepared,

you need to go through the same process –

determine your audience’s needs, provide

engaging content, use eye-catching imagery

and link it with a compelling narrative.

To help with this approach, think about

how you read a book. You are introduced

to the story at the start, discover more

information in subsequent chapters and

reach the end with a memorable finale;

hopefully inspiring you to read the author’s

other works. To achieve this experience,

writers often know how they want the

story to end from the outset, and then work

backwards. This helps them structure their

writing and ensure every part of their book

is aligned to take the reader on a journey and

deliver the perfect ending. This approach

can equally work well for developing a

presentation.

THE WORDS YOU USE

Once you have decided on your presentation

structure, you need to consider content.

Beware - this is where information overload

can creep in! You need to reduce your subject

knowledge into short, meaningful and

memorable phrases. This can be difficult as

there is a tendency to include vast amounts

of information in a presentation ‘for

completeness’, which can lead to an influx

of additional content and data. In reality,

it will be hard enough for an audience to

retain more than a few key points from your

presentation so don’t pad out your delivery

unless it is absolutely necessary.

PAINT A PICTURE

The phrase, ‘a picture is worth a thousand

words’ is never better exemplified than

in a presentation. Powerful imagery

can be emotive, thought-provoking and

memorable. It can help convey information,

enhance a key point and create an ambience

in the room to support what you are saying.

Yet, all too often images are used that are

too complex, not relevant or are simply dull!

Only show a picture if it is going to enhance

what you are saying. Visual aids can be

an alternative to showing images. A great

example is shown in the masterclass TED

Talk given by Bill Gates to raise awareness of

malaria and public health in Africa: https://

www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_mosquitos_

malaria_and_education.

STRUCTURED COMMUNICATION

Once you have firmed up on the structure,

words and imagery you wish to use,

this needs to be pulled together into the

presentation. This is where PowerPoint

slides come into their own. They are an

invaluable resource for presenters to show

graphic or technical information and use

the multi-media capabilities to bolster

credibility and professionalism, as long as

they are used correctly!

Slides should complement - not consume

- your presentation and only be used to

accentuate what you are saying. The choice

of font, type size and use of colour needs to

be taken into account when designing slides

to achieve maximum audience impact.

Above all, be aware that whatever you show

on a screen will distract your audience. This

is fine if you want to show them something;

if you don’t, quickly move on or blank out

the slide whilst you are talking, to retain the

audience’s attention on you.

In summary, the more you focus on

crafting a powerful presentation, the greater

the likelihood you will satisfy an audience’s

needs, communicate your memorable key

points effectively, and provide an all-round

enjoyable experience.

Clive Hawkins is Senior Associate at Spoken

Word Communications.

clive@spokenwordgroup.co.uk

spokenwordgroup.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 35


OPINION

INFORMATION

EXCHANGE

Corporations are engaged in a data

arms race to acquire more information

faster than their competitors.

AUTHOR – Cato Syversen FCICM

IT is a universal truth that all solid

business strategy, planning and

decision-making begins and ends with

information and data. A combination

of internal and external information

drives analysis, confirms or amends

approaches and leads ultimately to growth.

In addition, beyond the bigger picture we

all use data to drive the day-to-day processes

of running any commercial operation, whether

as accountants, sales and marketing teams,

operational planners or the hard-pressed

risk assessors within credit management

departments. Of course this has always been

the case but in the current information age

many of us risk being swamped by the rising

tide of information available to us at the click

of a mouse and end up either missing that vital

nugget of information or entering a neverending

labyrinth of analysis never to make a

decision at all.

The cliché about not being able to see

the wood for the trees has never been truer.

However, the fact is that data is indeed useless

unless it is usable.

INTERNET DAWN

When we launched Creditsafe way back at the

dawn of the internet age in 1997, commercial

business and credit information was only

available to that privileged, and deep-pocketed

few who could afford to pay for it and had the

time and resources to wade through dense,

printed reports requiring individual analysis.

Many of those companies also had reasonable

levels of customer information but inevitably

these were held within hand-written ledgers

or on record cards kept in filing cabinets and

usually with different information being

recorded and kept separately within different

departments. Internal data was very rarely if

ever fully joined up and certainly not integrated

with the business information supplied

externally.

Fast forward 23 years and we are at first sight

in a very different place indeed. With a wealth of

data and statistics available to them successful

businesses have been (and indeed still are)

transforming themselves into information

companies. The business that knows the most

is primed to succeed and corporations are

engaged in a data arms race to acquire more

information faster than their competitors. I’m

personally proud of the part that Creditsafe has

played in disrupting the world of business and

credit information, making key information

available and affordable to a wider and wider

range of companies in markets across the globe.

However far too often, the basic problems of

integration and usability of all that data remains

with rarely accessed corners of multi-terabyte

data servers having taken the place of those

dusty ledgers and filing cabinets.

It is also true that the wider landscape has

changed and the resulting rise in awareness by

data subjects, either corporate or consumer,

has driven further change. Twenty years

ago businesses would be surprised by the

information available on them that could be

accessed via a credit report, but an environment

where data subjects can understand

information’s availability, value and potential

for misuse has inevitably led to concerns by

subjects and by legislators stepping in. GDPR

may be the most obvious example so far but

regulation and legislation is increasingly

impacting those of us who source and supply

data as well as all of us who are data users.

Governments have woken up to the accessibility

of information and are passing on responsibility

for the use of that access onto data users. Issues

around AML legislation, PEP and sanctions

lists, anti-corruption, and identification of child

labour and modern slavery can be interrogated

by individual data users and can be interrogated

on an international basis.

NO EXCUSES

Responsibility for making those checks lies

with the user and ignorance or saying that you

couldn’t access the information is no excuse.

In addition more and more businesses and

their key stakeholders, and perhaps even more

importantly their customers and consumers,

are demanding that companies observe what are

seen as the minimum level of ethical behavior

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 36


OPINION

AUTHOR – Cato Syversen FCICM

throughout their supply chain. And where does

this responsibility land up? More often than not

it is with the people who access the data.

No longer are credit professionals solely

judging financial and commercial risk;

legislative and reputational issues are also

piling up in their in-trays. However, they should

not be seeing this as a problem. Dealing with it

professionally and successfully is yet another

way of proving the value of the function and the

business intelligence that is accessible by credit

professionals. It is the role of their suppliers to

help make that as easy as possible by not just

providing information but solutions, providing

information in a usable form. We should be

across the legislation as it develops, anticipate

its impact and magnitude and automatically

Alongside our

increasing focus

on integration we

are also ensuring

that our risk

analytics and

scoring solutions

are of the highest

possible accuracy.

integrate the outcomes needed by users within

our product suites.

We are increasingly entering an era of data

co-operation. Information from a business

information provider on its own will never be as

powerful or as usable as when it is successfully

integrated with our customers’ data and

embedded within their systems. As a business

and an industry we are increasingly focused

on developing and delivering stable and robust

integrations based on simple APIs that not only

make our data deliver the information required

but ensure full compliance with the full range of

changing legislative needs. Our industry needs

to be providing solutions that are constantly

updated, but that can also learn and adapt to

ensure that the credit and risk management

professionals we are serving are always in a

position to make the very best decisions.

Alongside our increasing focus on integration

we are also ensuring that our risk analytics and

scoring solutions are of the highest possible

accuracy. We have already launched four new

scorecards across several markets in the last two

years and will continue to speed up that rate of

change through 2020 and beyond. Developments

in machine learning and artificial intelligence

mean that we will soon be able to increase

the pace of change while seamlessly updating

customers’ solutions.

TWO-WAY STREET

This need not just be a two-way street however,

the flexibility of an approach like this enables

our customers to put themselves at the heart

of their very own joined up network, not just

sharing their data with us and integrating it with

our full suite of global business intelligence,

but reaching out to their own customers and

encouraging the next level of integration

with their customers benefitting from the

advantages of further data exchange. As this

putative multi-level network grows then the

exchange, verification and updating of the

wider information base allows the quality of

analysis to improve, better decisions to be made

and legislative compliance to be assured.

As an industry we’ve come a long way from

delivering printed manual reports to a select

few credit managers in a tiny proportion of

the world’s businesses. We’ve gone through the

ready supply of online reports and the widening

availability of information at an affordable price

for the many to an increasingly commonplace

integrated approach which joins up a customers’

internal data with our external information.

However, I am now genuinely excited to see

the next step taking place where we develop

new intelligent networks, constantly updating

and developing themselves and delivering fresh

reliable usable solutions for us all.

Cato Syversen FCICM is CEO Creditsafe Group.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 37


INTERNATIONAL

TRADE

Monthly round-up of the latest stories

in global trade by Andrea Kirkby.

Have we passed ‘peak growth’?

A

comment on project-syndicate.org ransom. There’s the US, which by all accounts

caught my eye recently. Writer Jim is due a recession any day now.

O’Neill reckons that global growth On a positive note, O’Neill thinks that

for the last decade will eventually India is heading to a good place, and with the

stand at around 3.5 percent per year – a right reforms – if prime minister Narendra

number which compares favourably to the Modi can manage it – could easily achieve

3.3 percent of the 1980s and 1990s. However, annual growth of eight- to 10 percent. But

O’Neill thinks that that number should have let’s not forget Africa, which as a region has

been higher considering the growth in the a GDP close to India’s. As O’Neill commented:

size of the global workforce and rising levels “If enough of its major economies can

of productivity.

achieve strong growth, the effects will be

The problem as he sees it is that the 2020s felt more broadly. The rise of Africa seems

might not look as good and global annual both desirable and inevitable. Whether the

growth could be heading for a fall. He points continent can drive global GDP growth will be

to a peak in the growth of the Chinese

a key question in the 2020s.”

workforce while the populations of Japan, So, the question exists – have we passed

Germany, Italy and other leading nations peak growth? Who knows, but one thing is

are both ageing and in decline. The EU is in certain – firms should take the data, and find

a state of turmoil, no matter how it’s billed. those countries with growth potential and get

Brazil and Russia are highly commoditised into bed with local importers before anyone

countries which are held to market price else does.

Deutschland nicht über alles

THE powerhouse that is Germany isn’t in

recession, but it’s not far off. Its economy

stagnated with zero growth in the fourth

quarter of 2019, giving a total growth of 0.6

percent for that year. On a positive note, it is

expected, that the European Commission will

bounce back to 1.1 percent growth in 2020.

It appears that both household and

government spending slowed down in the

fourth quarter, a problem made worse by

Germany’s exposure to the ongoing trade war

between the US and China.

The German economic ministry also sees

risks to the economy from abroad increasing

due to coronavirus. It’s entirely possible that

the virus could push Germany into recession as

Chinese demand falters. So, while the number

of people in employment rose 0.3 percent

across the eurozone in the fourth quarter,

and by 0.2 percent in the European Union, UK

firms doing business in Europe, and especially

Germany, should brace for cutbacks in orders.

It’s entirely possible that the virus could push

Germany into recession as Chinese demand falters

ACCORDING to the Ed Conway in

the Times there’s plenty of hot air

when it comes to working out the

value of a firm. Conway makes the

point that firms used to own assets

involved in production which made

valuing corporates easy. But not

anymore – firms, including airlines,

now lease assets which raises

questions about the very nature

EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

of their businesses.

To drive the point home he details

the recently rescued Flybe which had

a ‘predictably threadbare’ balance

sheet but which owns a ‘handful’ of

Heathrow landing slots ‘worth tens

of millions of pounds a pop’; such as

McDonald’s which makes more money

from property than hamburgers; and

Coca Cola which sells rights to other

firms which make, bottle and sell its

drinks. It appears that although firms

can grow quickly, they can also

collapse at the same rate, especially

those who have few assets and tons of

goodwill. Selling to UK businesses in

this situation is not a great proposition

but add an overseas dimension to the

buyer and exporters could be in for

tricky times.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 38


Good news for Greece

FOLLOWING on from the expectation –

noted by Reuters in November 2019 – that

the Greek economy was improving and

expected to grow 2.8 percent in 2020,

Fitch Ratings has recently upgraded

Greece’s credit rating to ‘BB’ from

‘BB-‘ because fiscal prudence and GDP

growth is keeping government debt at

sustainable levels.

The country is still two levels

below investment grade, but it’s a long

way from junk. All of this follows the

removal of Greek capital controls in

September 2019 which were originally

implemented during the 2015 financial

crisis; investment should now flow back

to Greece as capital can move freely.

What does all of this high-level

finance have to do with the world of

export? Loads – for it means that the

odds of a localised economic crash are

receding and instead, the conditions for

greater consumption are rising. In other

words – exporters should begin to make

hay while the sun shines… but not while

drinking Ouzo.

Be careful not to drink Corona (virus)

THE web is a very poor substitute for common sense.

Consider the impact of the Coronavirus. With its epicentre

in China’s Hubei province, the daily increase in new

coronavirus infections and deaths appears to be slowing

(at the time of writing – 19 February). World Health

Organization data notes that coronavirus cases stood at

over 75,000 and deaths at over 2,000 while seasonal flu

affects three- to five-million people globally each year,

resulting in 300,000–600,000 deaths.

That hasn’t stopped Coronavirus having a damaging

effect on the Chinese economy. Factories remain closed,

workers are restricted from travelling, and local demand is

falling. Deloitte China has cut its 2020 China GDP growth

forecast from 5.8 percent to 5.3 percent –5.5 percent and

the International Energy Agency expects a quarterly

contraction in global oil demand for the first time since the

global financial crisis.

But the trouble doesn’t end there. Singapore has

lowered its 2020 economic growth forecast and has

unveiled measures to deal with the virus. Singapore Prime

Minister Lee Hsien Loong commented that recession

was a possibility. And in Japan, the impact of the virus is

expected to knock the current quarter’s figures, fuelling

fears of recession - a worry as the world’s third-largest

economy is already falling at its fastest rate since 2014.

All of this will have an effect on firms both needing to

buy goods and having the financial wherewithal to make

payments.

If you’re targeting the Far East tread carefully. And

the reference to the web? Yes, you guessed it, Google

has revealed that many are actively searching for ‘beer

coronavirus’ or similar phrases. Corona beer seems to be

guilty by association and nothing else. Those searching for

the phrase are just plainly guilty.

Hungary is hungry for business

HUNGARY’S 2019 growth rate of 4.9

percent would make the UK very

happy, but we’re a long way off that

rate. The forecast for Hungary in 2020

may not be looking so rosy, but it’s

still expected to be 3.5 percent. Its

government shouldn’t be too downbeat

as all things are relative… the UK’s

growth rate this year is likely to be,

according to PwC, just one percent.

Right wing Hungarian prime

minister, Viktor Orban, said during his

annual state of the nation address: “I

see dangerous years ahead ... We need

to take serious steps to defend what we

have achieved so far.”

His plans for stimulus include

reducing labour and small business

taxes; maintaining growth against the

backdrop of stagnation in the euro

zone, its main export market. Further,

his government is actively moving

toward a climate protection plan,

tighter environmental regulations

for multinational firms, and a sixfold

increase in solar power capacity over

10 years.

Now if that isn’t a green light for

the UK’s exporting renewables sector I

don’t what is.

What's new Buenos Aires?

ONE of the largest economies in South

America, Argentina, is again in trouble and

is postponing a $1.47bn principal payment

on one of its bonds until September, citing

‘unsustainable debt’. The government will

still make scheduled interest payments

on the bond, but investors may still ‘frown’

on Argentina changing payment terms

without speaking to bondholders. It is a

unilateral decision that does not create

goodwill in the market.

The news came as the IMF (International

Monetary Fund, not Tom Cruise’s

Impossible Missions Force - although it

should be) headed to Buenos Aires to see

how president Alberto Fernández plans

to tackle over $320bn of total borrowings.

Things are not looking great for the local

economy and anyone doing business

with an Argentinian client should take

precautions.

Goodbye Dubai?

MOST think of Dubai as an oil-based

country, and oil is important there but,

it’s not the be-all and end-all. Even

so, Dubai’s diversified economy with

key hotspots of travel and tourism

is showing signs of strain as the

non-oil private sector worsened for

the third straight month. It appears

that employment is falling, a problem

made worse as the local economy has

led to worker cutbacks as companies

try to cope with weak demand. A

falling property market and rising

global trading tension isn’t helping.

It might just be time to look at other

parts of the world to trade into.

CURRENCY UK

EXCHANGE RATES VISIT CURRENCYUK.CO.UK

OR CALL 020 7738 0777

Currency UK is authorised and regulated

by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

HIGH LOW TREND

GBP/EUR 1.20424 1.05333 Down

GBP/USD 1.31871 1.14781 Down

GBP/CHF 1.27919 1.112828 Down

GBP/AUD 2.07840 1.93117 Up

GBP/CAD 1.79967 1.66986 Flat

GBP/JPY

144.89766 124.60645 Down

This data was taken on 19th March and refers to the

month previous to/leading up to 18th March 2020.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 39


GET YOUR CREDIT CONTROL

SALARY SURVEY TODAY!

This year we have partnered with Croner

Reward, the experts in Pay &Benefits

benchmarking, to bring you our annual Salary

Survey. Our 2020 report isthe definitive guide

on the market, solely focused on credit sector

salaries, interim pay rates combined with

further information on employee benefits,

recruitment trends and our own unique

market insight.

In your copy you will find salaries and

benefits for Credit professionals that we

recruit for around the UK. The roles include:

Credit Administrator

Credit Controller

Credit Supervisor

Sales Ledger Clerk

Accounts Receivable

Team Leader

Credit Risk Manager

Head of Credit

TO REQUEST YOUR COPY VISIT:

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com/salary-survey

WE ARE RATED 9OUT OF 10

LONDON | 0207 650 3199

MANCHESTER | 0161 836 9949

www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com

recruitment@portfoliocreditcontrol.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 40


CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP

CICM agrees new Corporate

Partnership with Menzies LLP

MENZIES LLP, a top 20 UK

accountancy firm, has

become the Chartered

Institute of Credit

Management’s newest

Corporate Partner to

increase the visibility of its Creditor Services

team to CICM members, as well as promoting

its services to the wider credit management

profession.

The Menzies Creditor Services team

advises creditors on the best way to protect

a business’ position when a business

or individual enters, or is approaching

insolvency proceedings – acting in a variety

of cases, from a straightforward single asset

bankruptcy or owner-managed liquidation,

through to large, complex cases that may

involve detailed forensic investigations, and

international jurisdictions.

Bethan Evans, Head of Menzies Creditor

Services team, says that Menzies aims to help

CICM members, and the businesses they

work for, to improve financial outcomes:

“We have extensive industry and insolvency

sector experience and expert insights,” she

says. “Our Creditor Services offering aims

to support credit managers and reduce the

administrative burden upon them when

something goes wrong. Ultimately we want

to improve their financial outcome and

simplify what can be a daunting process.

We will help navigate the paperwork by

reviewing and analysing all insolvency and

other related correspondence, completing

and lodging claim forms, proxy forms and

monitoring dividend prospects – to name a

few.

“As well as this, our dedicated team of

specialists can also help with retention of

title claims, recovering debt, both within

the UK and internationally, raising finance,

financial restructuring and providing

representation at creditors meetings to

guide, inform and support our clients. Our

team will collaborate with CICM members

in order to ensure any areas for investigation

are reviewed to maximise the chances of a

return to them.”

Menzies has seven offices across the UK,

with the Creditor Services team operating

out of London and Cardiff. Its Creditor

Services offering is an initiative launched by

Menzies Business Recovery which consists

of seven insolvency practitioners and over 40

corporate recovery professionals. Menzies is

also an active member of HLB International

– a global network of independent advisory

and accounting firms – which provides

Menzies with access to specialist support in

over 150 countries worldwide. This elevates

their Creditor Services capability when it

comes to dealing with international disputes,

recovering international debt, and providing

other forensic services internationally such

as investigations into fraudulent trading,

unlawful dividends and asset tracing.

Sue Chapple FCICM, Interim Chief

Executive of CICM, is delighted to welcome

Menzies as a corporate partner: “It is our first

accountancy firm to join the other partners

who are all committed to advancing the

credit profession and best practice within

the credit industry,” says Sue.

“We are currently working with Menzies

to identify a programme of events and

packaged information that will add the most

value to our membership. We look forward

to announcing a number of activities across

the year which will include round table

events and webinars.”

For further information on Menzies

Creditor Services offering, and how Menzies

can assist CICM members, please visit

their website: www.menzies.co.uk/creditorservices

or contact Bethan Evans on 02920

447512.

Alternatively, for more information about

the CICM’s Corporate Partnership scheme,

interested companies can contact Sue

Chapple, Interim Chief Executive on sue.

chapple@cicm.com or call 01780 722912.

“We are currently working

with Menzies to identify a

programme of events and

packaged information that

will add the most value to

our membership. We look

forward to announcing a

number of activities across

the year which will include

round table events and

webinars.”

Sue Chapple FCICM

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 41


INTRODUCING OUR

CORPORATE PARTNERS

For further information and to discuss the opportunities of entering into a

Corporate Partnership with the CICM, please contact corporatepartners@cicm.com

Hays Credit Management is a national specialist

division dedicated exclusively to the recruitment of

credit management and receivables professionals,

at all levels, in the public and private sectors. As

the CICM’s only Premium Corporate Partner, we

are best placed to help all clients’ and candidates’

recruitment needs as well providing guidance on

CV writing, career advice, salary bench-marking,

marketing of vacancies, advertising and campaign

led recruitment, competency-based interviewing,

career and recruitment trends.

T: 07834 260029

E: karen.young@hays.com

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

The Company Watch platform provides risk analysis

and data modelling tools to organisations around

the world that rely on our ability to accurately predict

their exposure to financial risk. Our H-Score®

predicted 92 percent of quoted company insolvencies

and our TextScore® accuracy rate was 93

percent. Our scores are trusted by credit professionals

within banks, corporates, investment houses

and public sector bodies because, unlike other credit

reference agencies, we are transparent and flexible

in our approach.

T: +44 (0)20 7043 3300

E: info@companywatch.net

W: www.companywatch.net

HighRadius is a Fintech enterprise Software-as-a-Service

(SaaS) company. Its Integrated Receivables platform

reduces cycle times in the Order to Cash process through

automation of receivables and payments across credit,

e-invoicing and payment processing, cash allocation,

dispute resolution and collections. Powered by the RivanaTM

Artificial Intelligence Engine and Freeda Digital

Assistant for Order to Cash teams, HighRadius enables

more than 450 organisations to leverage machine

learning to predict future outcomes and automate routine

labour intensive tasks.

T: +44 7399 406889

E: gwyn.roberts@highradius.com

W: www.highradius.com

Forums International has been running Credit and

Industry Forums since 1991 covering a range of

industry sectors and international trading. Attendance

is for credit professionals of all levels. Our forums

are not just meetings but communities which

aim to prepare our members for the challenges

ahead. Attending for the first time is free for you to

gauge the benefits and meet the members and we

only have pre-approved Partners, so you will never

intentionally be sold to.

Chris Sanders Consulting (Sanders Consulting

Associates) has three areas of activity providing

credit management leadership and performance

improvement, international working capital

improvement consulting assignments and

managing the CICMQ Best Practice Accreditation

programme on behalf of the CICM. Plans for

2019 include international client assignments in

India, China, USA, Middle East and the ongoing

development of the CICMQ Programme.

Key IVR provide a suite of products to assist companies

across Europe with credit management. The

service gives the end-user the means to make a

payment when and how they choose. Key IVR also

provides a state-of-the-art outbound platform delivering

automated messages by voice and SMS. In a

credit management environment, these services are

used to cost-effectively contact debtors and connect

them back into a contact centre or automated

payment line.

T: +44 (0)1246 555055

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk

T: +44(0)7747 761641

E: chris@chrissandersconsulting.com

W: www.chrissandersconsulting.com

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000

E: sales@keyivr

W: www.keyivr.co.uk

American Express® is a globally recognised

provider of business payment solutions, providing

flexible capabilities to help companies drive

growth. These solutions support buyers and

suppliers across the supply chain with working

capital and cashflow.

By creating an additional lever to help support

supplier/client relationships American Express is

proud to be an innovator in the business payments

space.

T: +44 (0)1273 696933

W: www.americanexpress.com

Operating across seven UK offices, Menzies LLP is

an accountancy firm delivering traditional services

combined with strategic commercial thinking. Our

services include: advisory, audit, corporate and

personal tax, corporate finance, forensic accounting,

outsourcing, wealth management and business

recovery – the latter of which includes our specialist

offering developed specifically for creditors. For

more information on this, or to see how the Menzies

Creditor Services team can assist you, please

visit: www.menzies.co.uk/creditor-services.

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services

Building on our mature and hugely successful

product and world class support service, we are

re-imagining our risk awareness module in 2019 to

allow for hugely flexible automated worklists and

advanced visibility of areas of risk. Alongside full

integration with all credit scoring agencies (e.g.

Creditsafe), this makes Credica a single port-of-call

for analysis and automation. Impressive results

and ROI are inevitable for our customers that also

have an active input into our product development

and evolution.

T: 01235 856400

E: info@credica.co.uk

W: www.credica.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 42


Each of our Corporate Partners is carefully selected for

their commitment to the profession, best practice in the

Credit Industry and the quality of services they provide.

We are delighted to showcase them here.

THEY'RE WAITING TO TALK TO YOU...

With 130+ years of experience, Graydon is a leading

provider of business information, analytics, insights

and solutions. Graydon helps its customers to make

fast, accurate decisions, enabling them to minimise

risk and identify fraud as well as optimise opportunities

with their commercial relationships. Graydon

uses 130+ international databases and the information

of 90+ million companies. Graydon has offices in

London, Cardiff, Amsterdam and Antwerp. Since 2016,

Graydon has been part of Atradius, one of the world’s

largest credit insurance companies.

T: +44 (0)208 515 1400

E: customerservices@graydon.co.uk

W: www.graydon.co.uk

The Atradius Collections business model is to support

businesses and their recoveries. We are seeing a

deterioration and increase in unpaid invoices placing

pressures on cashflow for those businesses. Brexit is

causing uncertainty and we are seeing a significant

impact on the UK economy with an increase in

insolvencies, now also impacting the continent and

spreading. Our geographical presence is expanding

and with a single IT platform across the globe we can

provide greater efficiencies and effectiveness to our

clients to recover their unpaid invoices.

T: +44 (0)2920 824700

W: www.atradiuscollections.com/uk/

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work

closely with credit teams to recover commercial

debts as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt

recovery, including:

• Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and

keep costs down • Litigation service • Insolvency

• Post-litigation services including enforcement

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to

relate to your goals, and adept at advising you on the

most effective way of achieving them.

T: 03700 86 3000

E: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk

W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk

Dun & Bradstreet Finance Solutions enable modern

finance leaders and credit professionals to improve

business performance through more effective risk

management, identification of growth opportunities,

and better integration of data and insights

across the business. Powered by our Data Cloud,

our solutions provide access to the world’s most

comprehensive commercial data and insights

supplying a continually updated view of business

relationships that help finance and credit teams

stay ahead of market shifts and customer changes.

T: (0800) 001-234

W: www.dnb.co.uk

Improve cash flow, cash collection and prevent late

payment with Corrivo from Data Interconnect.

Corrivo, intelligent invoice to cash automation

highlights where accounts receivable teams should

focus their effort for best results. Easy-to-learn,

Invoicing, Collection and Dispute modules get collection

teams up and running fast. Minimal IT input required.

Real-time dashboards, reporting and self-service

customer portals, improve customer communication

and satisfaction scores. Cost-effective, flexible Corrivo,

super-charges your cash collection effort.

T: +44 (0)1367 245777

E: sales@datainterconnect.co.uk

W: www.datainterconnect.com

Serrala optimizes the Universe of Payments for

organisations seeking efficient cash visibility

and secure financial processes. As an SAP

Partner, Serrala supports over 3,500 companies

worldwide. With more than 30 years of experience

and thousands of successful customer projects,

including solutions for the entire order-to-cash

process, Serrala provides credit managers and

receivables professionals with the solutions they

need to successfully protect their business against

credit risk exposure and bad debt loss.

T: +44 118 207 0450

E: contact@serrala.com

W: www.serrala.com

Tinubu Square is a trusted source of trade credit

intelligence for credit insurers and for corporate

customers. The company’s B2B Credit Risk

Intelligence solutions include the Tinubu Risk

Management Center, a cloud-based SaaS platform;

the Tinubu Credit Intelligence service and the

Tinubu Risk Analyst advisory service. Over 250

companies rely on Tinubu Square to protect their

greatest assets: customer receivables.

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /

E: uksales@tinubu.com

W: www.tinubu.com.

C2FO turns receivables into cashflow and payables

into income, uniquely connecting buyers and

suppliers to allow discounts in exchange for

early payment of approved invoices. Suppliers

access additional liquidity sources by accelerating

payments from buyers when required in just two

clicks, at a rate that works for them. Buyers, often

corporates with global supply chains, benefit from

the C2FO solution by improving gross margin while

strengthening the financial health of supply chains

through ethical business practices.

T: 07799 692193

E: anna.donadelli@c2fo.com

W: www.c2fo.com

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes

the all-too-common obstacles preventing today’s

businesses from collecting receivables in a timely

manner. From invoice delivery to cash application,

Esker automates each step. Esker's automated AR

system powered by TermSync helps companies

modernise without replacing their core billing and

collections processes. By simply automating what

should be automated, customers get the post-sale

experience they deserve and your team gets the

tools they need.

T: +44 (0)1332 548176

E: sam.townsend@esker.co.uk

W: www.esker.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 43


INTRODUCING OUR

CORPORATE

PARTNERS

Onguard is a specialist in credit management

software and a market leader in innovative solutions

for Order to Cash. Our integrated platform ensures

an optimal connection of all processes in the Order

to Cash chain and allows sharing of critical data. Our

intelligent tools can seamlessly interconnect and

offer overview and control of the payment process,

as well as contribute to a sustainable customer relationship.

The Onguard platform is successfully used

for successful credit management in more than 50

countries.

T: +31 (0)88 256 66 66

E: ruurd.bakker@onguard.com

W: www.onguard.com

Don't miss out

on the exciting

upcoming events

in 2020

Workshops

Round

Table Events

CICM On Tour

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ: EPAY) helps

businesses pay and get paid. Businesses and banks

rely on Bottomline for domestic and international

payments, effective cash management tools, automated

workflows for payment processing and bill review

and state of the art fraud detection, behavioural

analytics and regulatory compliance. Every day, we

help our customers by making complex business

payments simple, secure and seamless.

T: 0870 081 8250

E: emea-info@bottomline.com

W: www.bottomline.com/uk

CICM Best Practice

Webinars

Shared Services Forum UK Limited

Shared Services Forum UK is a not-for-profit

membership organisation. with one vision, to form

the largest community of people from the business

world and facilitate a platform for them to work

together to mutual benefits. Benefits include; networking

with like-minded professionals in Shared

Services. The criteria is a willingness to engage in

our lively community and help shape our growth

and development.

T: 07864 652518

E: forum.manager@sharedservicesforumuk.com

W: www.sharedservicesforumuk.com

Just another great

reason to be a member

See full programme at

www.cicm.com/events

www.cicm.com | +44 (0)1780 722902

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 44


www.cicm.com

‘‘

CICM offered the

prospect of qualifications,

but as soon as I became

a member, loads of other

opportunities came to

light that I hadn’t initially

realised were available.

Molly Kane

ACICM

The value

of CICM

membership

Molly Kane ACICM

Senior Credit Controller Executive

Oxford University

Read more about her story and join your

credit community by visiting:

www.cicm.com/value-of-cicm-membership/

info@cicm.com

www.cicm.com

01780 722900

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 45


$

Advancing

Careers

Advancing

Best Practice

Advancing

Connections

Advancing

Skills

Advancing

Thinking

Advancing

Business

ADVANCING THE

CREDIT PROFESSION

01780 722900 | www.cicm.com


STATISTICS

Payment Trends

A round-up of payment data supplied by the Creditsafe Group

Top Five Prompter Payers

Region Feb 20 Change from Jan 20

South West 11.8 0.4

South East 12.4 0.7

Wales 12.5 1.1

Scotland 12.8 -3.8

Yorkshire and Humberside 13.6 -0.4

Bottom Five Poorest Payers

Region Feb 20 Change from Jan 20

Northern Ireland 20.8 5.2

East Midlands 15.3 0.3

East Anglia 14.8 -3.2

North West 14.6 -0.2

West Midlands 14.1 0.5

Getting Worse

Mining and Quarrying 4.3

Dormant 2.6

Hospitality 2

Entertainment 1.7

Education 1.1

Financial and Insurance 1

Health & Social 0.5

Wholesale and retail trade 0.2

Getting Better

International Bodies -9.8

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing -6.3

Professional and Scientific -5.4

Business from Home -4.7

Public Administration -4.3

Water & Waste -3.9

Other Service -1.9

Real Estate -1.5

Business Admin & Support -1.4

Construction -1.1

Top Five Prompter Payers

Sector Feb 20 Change from Jan 20

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 8.2 -6.3

Public Administration 8.5 -4.3

Health & Social 9.3 0.5

International Bodies 9.7 -9.8

Professional and Scientific 9.7 -5.4

IT and Comms -0.9

Transportation -0.6

Energy Supply -0.4

Manufacturing -0.1

Bottom Five Poorest Payers

Sector Feb 20 Change from Jan 20

Mining and Quarrying 27.5 4.3

Energy Supply 17.8 -0.4

Dormant 16.7 2.6

Business Admin & Support 16.4 -1.4

IT and Comms 16.4 -0.9

SCOTLAND

-3.8 DBT

Region

Getting Better – Getting Worse

-3.8

-3.2

-0.4

-0.2

5.2

1.1

0.7

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.2

Scotland

East Anglia

Yorkshire and Humberside

North West

Northern Ireland

Wales

South East

West Midlands

South West

East Midlands

London

NORTHERN

IRELAND

5.2 DBT

SOUTH

WEST

0.4 DBT

WALES

1.1 DBT

NORTH

WEST

-0.2 DBT

WEST

MIDLANDS

0.5 DBT

YORKSHIRE &

HUMBERSIDE

-0.4 DBT

EAST

MIDLANDS

0.3 DBT

LONDON

0.2 DBT

SOUTH

EAST

0.7 DBT

EAST

ANGLIA

-3.2 DBT

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 47


presents
























www.ddisoftware.co.uk

sales@ddisoftware.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 48


OPINION

Inspiring

the Future

“By going into local schools

and chatting about the job

you love and your route to

achieving it, you can help

to spark young people’s

imaginations about what

they can achieve in their

futures.”

Supporting the future generation of credit managers.

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

POLITICIANs and governments

often talk loudly

about wanting to inspire

future generations, but

it is frequently left to the

charitable sector to deliver.

This certainly seems the case with Education

and Employers, and its dedicated

‘Inspiring the Future’ initiative. As Katy

Hampshire, Director of Operations and

Programmes, explains: “By going into

local schools and chatting about the job

you love and your route to achieving it,

you can help to spark young people’s

imaginations about what they can achieve

in their futures,” she says.

Over 50,000 people have already

registered to visit a school near where

they live or work to chat informally to

young people through the Inspiring

the Future programme. How it works

is simple: volunteers sign up online

and teachers can then invite them to

visit: “You can decide what you want

to do,” Katy continues.

“You could chat informally to small

groups of kids, answering questions about

your career, or give feedback on CVs or

tips on interview techniques or just

explain how the subjects you studied are

relevant to the job you do. There is even

potential to express interest in becoming

a school governor if this is of interest.”

One of those who has already

volunteered is a CICM Honorary Vice

President, Brenda Linger FCICM: “I

signed up to Inspiring the Future in June

2015 having heard about them via a radio

programme,” she explains. “As I had never

met anyone who chose a career in credit

when leaving school/college I felt it was

an opportunity to meet with pupils from

primary and secondary schools to give

them an insight into a career in credit.

“I have always loved my job and being

given the opportunity to talk about it

and share insights and career path with

those who might be about to start their

journey or those even younger seemed

like a gift,” she continues. “The last one I

attended was in January under the banner

of ‘What’s My Line’. It was a careers

related learning for a primary school and

after some incisive questioning we were

then asked to explain to small groups

of pupils about our roles and answer

further questions. I have also taken

part in a Careers Insights Day and Mock

Interviews.”

Brenda says the programme fits well

around her schedule: “Helpfully once

you have signed up you are not inundated

with emails and via the website it is

easy to accept or decline invitations you

receive. Many of us have been helped

in our career by someone who took the

time and trouble to care, and this is a

brilliant way to give something back that

just takes a few hours a year.”

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 49


Nation State

What's changing for employers of EU Nationals?

AUTHOR – Gareth Edwards

THE UK left the European

Union at the end of January,

some 10 months later than

originally planned, and

while there was much debate

about how such an historic

event would be marked, many employers

will be wondering what happens next.

The simple answer is nothing. Yet.

Following Brexit, the UK will enter a

transitional period which will last until the

end of 2020. During this time the UK will

continue to comply with EU law, which

from an employer's perspective means that:

• EU free movement rules will continue

until 31 December 2020

• there will be no changes to the Right of

Work checks employers conduct on EU,

European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss

nationals and their family members until

1 January 2021

• EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (and their

non-EEA family members) resident in the

UK by 31 December 2020 will be eligible

to apply for settled or pre-settled status

under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

• the deadline for applications to the EUSS

is 30 June 2021

The government plans to introduce a new

immigration system that will come into

force as the transitional period ends. The

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)

published a report at the end of January

on minimum salary levels and how

the UK might learn from points-based

immigration systems in other countries

which the government will consider

when designing their new system. The

government announced mid-February that

low-skilled migrants won’t get visas and

that visa applicants will need 70 points plus

to work in the UK.

RECRUITMENT ACTIVITY

In the meantime, recruitment activity this

year will be largely unaffected by Brexit,

except for those situations where new

employees will not start work until 2021,

in which case anyone who is not a British

or Irish citizen will need to prove that they

have been granted immigration permission

to work in the UK. For EU, EEA and Swiss

nationals this might be status under the

EUSS, but for those who arrive in the UK

from 1 January 2021, they will be subject to

the new immigration system along with the

rest of the world.

So what employers should do now?

While there is no requirement to do so, it

is best practice for employers to inform

employees about the EUSS to ensure

maximum awareness that some will need

to make an application in order to continue

living in the UK.

The government has an Employer

Toolkit that has been specially designed

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 50


HR MATTERS

AUTHOR – Gareth Edwards

for employers who want to provide

information to their employees about

the EUSS. The Toolkit contains leaflets,

briefing packs and factsheets to help

employers communicate accurate

information on the EUSS to their

employees and can be either circulated

electronically or printed out and placed

in communal workplaces.

Additional information that might

be worth circulating to employees can

be found on the government's website

including a link to the EUSS application

form.

Some firms may have employees who

do not need to apply themselves, but have

family members who will need to apply,

so it is suggested circulating information

to all members of staff regardless.

WORKFORCE AUDIT

The difficulties which employers will face

if existing members of staff are no longer

able to work do not need spelling out

here. For those employers who have not

already done so, it’s recommended that

they conduct an audit of their workforce

to identify those members of staff who

are EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. To

ensure that those who need to apply do

so, employers should ask members of

staff to provide them with confirmation

that they have been granted status under

the EUSS. Company records can then be

updated and – as the deadline approaches

– steps can be taken to remind employees

who have not applied of the requirement

to do so. This is one way employers can

have some comfort that there will be

minimal disruption to the workforce as

2021 approaches.

Employers should think about the

most appropriate way of conducting such

a review and communication in ways

which do not fall foul of any accusations

of discrimination or victimisation.

From the MAC's report and what the

government has said so far, it seems likely

that employer sponsorship – similar to the

current Tier 2 immigration arrangements

– will continue to form the backbone of the

UK's work visa routes. Employers without

a sponsor licence may wish to consider

applying for one now, particularly those

who are likely to continue recruiting EU

nationals in the future.

For those employers with a Tier 2

licence, they would be advised to review

current compliance to ensure that

their licence is not at risk and that it

can continue to be used when the new

immigration system comes into force.

Gareth Edwards is a partner in the

employment team at

VWV. gedwards@vwv.co.uk

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 51


ADVERTORIAL

A SUCCESSFUL

BUSINESS IS A

PEOPLE BUSINESS…

Paula Swain, who heads Shoosmiths’ debt recovery

operation, maintains that investing in ongoing training for

the communication skills required for dispute resolution

is key for everyone in the team – including partners,

experienced lawyers, legal executives and paralegals – to

ensure continued success.

CLIENTS, such as Robert Marr, Head

of Legal, Apogee Corporation,

have commented that Shoosmiths’

commercial recoveries service

is ‘at a much higher level than

that provided by an ordinary

commercial debt recovery solicitor’. Chambers,

the highly respected guide to leading UK lawyers

and trusted source of legal market intelligence for

over 30 years, seems to support that view, ranking

Shoosmiths as National Leaders (outside London)

in 2019 for the work of its dispute resolution

lawyers based across England, Scotland and

Northern Ireland.

Shoosmiths’ Scottish team, led by partner

Andrew Foyle, underlined its increasing national

presence and success by achieving the accolade

Debt Recovery Team of the Year at The Herald Law

Awards of Scotland 2019 – the fourth consecutive

year that the litigation and recoveries team in the

Edinburgh office has won the coveted award.

The firm’s relationship as legal partner to the

CICM itself further reinforces the regard in which

Shoosmiths operation is held. Shoosmiths will

shortly assist the CICM with an event in Northern

Ireland, through its recently opened and rapidly

expanding Belfast office and with Gillian Crotty as

the lead litigation partner there.

LOCAL PRESENCE

Paula comments that a key factor in Shoosmiths’

continuing success and recognition, which the

Scottish award and all the other recognition

reflects, is undoubtedly its genuinely national

reach: “Given our spread of locations in 13 offices

across the UK, you are never far from Shoosmiths.

If we do need to value-add our service then we

can provide a single source solution by calling

‘‘If a case is being

handled in our

Solent office for

example, but a

settlement meeting

would be more

conveniently held

in Manchester –

or Edinburgh or

Belfast – then we

can accommodate

that.’’

on the expertise of litigation colleagues across

our network at a location convenient for the

client. This is supplied without the additional

inconvenience and expense of travel that would

otherwise be passed on. If a case is being handled

in our Solent office for example, but a settlement

meeting would be more conveniently held in

Manchester – or Edinburgh or Belfast – then we

can accommodate that.”

That national presence is made even more

attractive by a coherent and consistent approach,

using the same case management systems,

the same billing systems and structure and an

identical approach to team management and

client handling and reporting. Teams focus on

a small group of client accounts, building a

commercial understanding of the client’s business

and credit management function. This includes

how they deal with their trade suppliers in order

to get a real understanding of the client’s aims and

objectives.

Monthly meetings involving the full national

recoveries team discuss service delivery,

improvement and CRM issues and how best

to deliver value. Clients require the benefit of

Shoosmiths’ expertise and commercially savvy

advice on the right tactical approach. There is

little point in offering a solution that pursues a

legal principle if that would cost more than the

debt itself.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

But Paula still maintains that, overarching all

these important considerations, is the need to

recognise that the firm’s only real assets are

its own people and how they communicate,

interact and deal with others. This conviction that

communication skills and the ongoing investment

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 52


ADVERTORIAL

The firm’s relationship

as legal partner to the

CICM itself further

reinforces the regard

in which Shoosmiths

operation is held.

Paula Swain

“Our clients expect

and demand highly

skilled staff, who

are increasingly

competent in smart

query management

and commercial

dispute resolution.’’

in training for them are paramount is driven

partly by her own belief and by proven

experience – i.e. it gets the desired result –

but also by customer demand: “Our clients

expect and demand highly skilled staff,” says

Paula, “who are increasingly competent in

smart query management and commercial

dispute resolution, capable of dealing with

disclosures of vulnerability while complying

with data protection law. Where possible,

this approach is designed to recover debt

without the need to resort to the costlier

extremes of the legal process.”

Paula believes that the growing

significance of query resolution in the

work of the recoveries team nationwide is

also a reflection of a trend she has noticed

of reducing head count in client credit

management operations: “The completely

understandable business imperative of

controlling costs by reducing headcount does

seem to have had an impact on the volume

and the nature of the work we do. Queries

that perhaps would have been resolved by an

in-house client team drift and escalate,” she

explains, “meaning we increasingly have to

take on that query resolution function which

demands a slightly different approach.

Consequently, our pre-litigation collections

solution becomes even more significant and

much broader in scope, demanding different

sensitivities and different skill sets.”

For Shoosmiths, change the last para to

say: Shooemiths' breadth of service, from

auditing and reporting, a ‘triage’ style case

review to assess readiness for court action

and a pre-litigation collection solution

to specialist litigation support, remains

as important as geographic presence

for its clients. However, as far as Paula

is concerned, it’s having the tools and

giving her people the skills to do their job

effectively, efficiently and empathically that

are the most important considerations in

providing a recoveries service that is out of

the ordinary.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 53


NEW AND UPGRADED MEMBERS

Do you know someone who would benefit from CICM membership? Or have

you considered applying to upgrade your membership? See our website

www.cicm.com/membership-types for more details, or call us on 01780 722903

Fellow

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Paul Taylor FCICM

WE WANT YOUR BRANCH NEWS!

Get in touch with the CICM by emailing branches@cicm.com

with your branch news and event reports. Please only send up to 400 words

and any images need to be high resolution to be printable, so 1MB plus.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 54


THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

CM April 2016.indd 1 22/03/2016 11:42

THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

CM September 2016.indd 1 23/08/2016 14:30

THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

CM July/August 2016.indd 1 21/06/2016 12:00

THE CICM MAGAZINE FOR CONSUMER AND

COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

CM June 2016.indd 1 20/05/2016 11:19

CICM MEMBER

EXCLUSIVE

Your CICM lapel badge

demonstrates your commitment to

professionalism and best practice

TAKE PRIDE IN

WEARING YOUR BADGE

If you haven’t received your badge

contact: cicmmembership@cicm.com

CM

Credit Management magazine for consumer

and commercial credit professionals

CREDIT MANAGEMENT

CM

APRIL 2016 £10.00

FALLING STAR

THE INDUSTRY SPEAKS OUT

ON THE EU REFERENDUM

www.cicm.com

CREDIT MANAGEMENT

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SEPTEMBER 2016 £10.00

DESERT STORM

THE CHALLENGE OF DOING

BUSINESS IN SAUDI

www.cicm.com

CREDIT MANAGEMENT

CM

JULY / AUGUST 2016 £10.00

TOOTH

AND NAIL

SPEAKING OUT ABOUT

DIRECT DEBIT CLAWBACKS

www.cicm.com

CREDIT MANAGEMENT

CM

JUNE 2016 £10.00

BROKEN

CHINA

THE DRAGON RUNS

OUT OF PUFF

THE CICM'S HIGHLY ACCLAIMED MAGAZINE

www.cicm.com

SPECIAL

FEATURES

IN DEPTH

INTERVIEWS

ASK THE

EXPERTS

GLOBAL

NEWS

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MATTERS

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THE LEADING JOURNAL FOR CONSUMER AND COMMERCIAL CREDIT PROFESSIONALS

TO SUBSCRIBE CONTACT: T: 01780 722903| E: ANGELA.COOPER@CICM.COM

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 55


www.cicm.com

‘‘

Since being a

member I am kept

updated on latest changes

to laws and regulations,

good governance and

not forgetting the

wealth of knowledge.

Laural Jefferies, FCICM

The value

of CICM

membership

Laural Jefferies, FCICM

Head of Accounts Receivable,

Fashion Edge Ltd

Read more about her story and join your

credit community by visiting:

www.cicm.com/value-of-cicm-membership/

info@cicm.com

www.cicm.com

01780 722900

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 56


IT’S A FUNNY OLD WORLD…

Taking the Michael

An occasional look at the more absurd side of life

from the credit industry and beyond.

AUTHOR – Sean Feast FCICM

THERE is a famous story in

advertising circles of a bank

some 30 or so years ago who

wanted to target high-net

worth individuals with a

direct marketing campaign.

Rather than opting for the tried, tested

and safe route in early drafts of starting

the latter with ‘Dear (insert name)’

or something similar, the copywriter

opted instead for ‘Dear Rich Bastard’.

Unfortunately for him, and the bank, the

joke was never picked up, and an entire

marketing programme was despatched

to hundreds of rich bastards, addressing

them as such. (Reports that I was said

copywriter have been greatly exaggerated.

Ed).

One would have thought, therefore,

that such a thing could never happen

again. I have no doubt that the insurance

giant Aviva probably thought so too,

but they managed to go one better. Last

month they were obliged to apologise

after sending out thousands of emails

where they addressed all of their clients

as ‘Michael’. They said that a temporary

technical error was behind the blunder

– adding that there had been no wider

privacy issues relating to people’s personal

data.

The official statement read: ‘We

sent out some emails last week to

existing customers, which, as a result

of a temporary technical error in our

mailing template, mistakenly referred to

customers as ‘Michael’. We’ve apologised

to these customers and reassured them

that the only error in the email was the

use of the incorrect name as a greeting.

There was no issue with personal data;

the remainder of the email and its content

was correct.’

The apology prompted several ‘real’

Michaels to take to Twitter, especially

those who had been apologised to

for no apparent reason, thus further

compounding the farce. One newspaper

also decided to helpfully inform us

that there were only 869 babies born in

England and Wales called Michael in

2018. So there you go.

Killing time

VERY occasionally a story reaches the

editor’s ear that is clearly not meant for

publication but is nonetheless so funny

that it deserves special attention. So to

protect the innocent, I have changed the

name of the organisation concerned and

all of the characters involved.

I want you to imagine an important

organisation sitting down to a board

meeting. I want you to imagine also that

this same organisation has decided that

instead of minuting the meeting in the

usual way, they will trial a new voice

recording and transcribing technology

(called Otter.AI) to save time and improve

accuracy of any notetaking.

It all sounds like a genius plan, until

such time as they need to review the

transcript from the meeting. No-one

now knows what was done or said, but

I can confirm that neither Barack

Obama nor Caitlin Jenner were in the

meeting, there is no such thing as ‘an

inscribed pan’, and no-one has ordered

a ‘hit’ on a well-known member of the

credit community. Unless, of course, you

know different.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 57


Wouldyou benefit from

collecting 90%ofyour aged

debt in 14 days?

FROM 8% NO WIN-NO FEE COMMISSION

www.tauruscollections.com

01332565 350/ info@tauruscollections.com

Elections 2020

NOMINATIONS NOW CLOSE 13 APRIL 2020

The Advisory Council influences the future direction of the Institute.

Its members reflect the diverse range of skills and experience amongst the

Institute’s membership, and bring valuable expertise and knowledge.

Being a member of the Advisory Council is your opportunity to:

• Share your knowledge and expertise to help the CICM advance the credit profession

• Assist in steering the strategy and future direction of the Institute

• Contribute to raising the profile of the largest recognised professional body in the

world for the credit management community

There are 23 Advisory Council positions open for nomination representing our

11 regions and the trade, consumer, international and credit services sectors.

There is still time to submit your nomination…

Visit www.cicm.com/elections-2020/ or email elections@cicm.com

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / September 2019 / PAGE 58


BE ONE CLICK AWAY

FROM OUR WEBSITE

How to set up a great one click link to the CICM website on

your mobile phone. Follow these four simple steps...

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Go to cicm.com > Click highlighted icon at bottom of screen > Click add to Home screen icon

> Click add icon at top right of screen > CICM icon will appear on your screen

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Open cicm.com in Google Chrome browser > Tap Menu button > Tap add shortcut to Home screen

> Icon will appear on your screen. Menu button on other Android devices may be displayed differently.

ADVANCING THE CREDIT PROFESSION IN CREDIT MANAGEMENT

T: +44 (0)1780 722900 | WWW.CICM.COM


TAKE CONTROL OF

YOUR CREDIT CAREER

CREDIT COLLECTIONS MANAGER

Stevenage, £40,000-£55,000 + bonus + benefits

A progressive and innovative organisation based in Stevenage

is recruiting for a credit and collections manager. In this newly

created role, you will take a lead on the mission of improving

the debt strategy and collection process to enhance cashflow.

You will have experience working within financial services,

banking, leasing or property and business to consumer collections.

Ref: 3767459

Contact Charlotte Clarke on 01923 205286 or

email charlotte.clarke@hays.com

CREDIT MANAGER

Birmingham, £35,000-£40,000 + annual bonus

A large global business that has its shared service centre in

Birmingham city is looking for an experienced credit professional

to manage a team of credit controllers and cash allocation

administrators. The successful candidate will have the drive

and resilience to manage change and improve behaviours.

Ref: 3736576

Contact Peter Kidd on 07387 157254 or

email peter.kidd@hays.com

REVENUE CONTROLLER

London, £42,000 + bonus

A top 30 international law firm based in London is looking

for a revenue controller to join its team. In your new role, you

will be responsible for producing reports, analysis of billable

time and reviewing and updating WIP provisions. You will be

a highly motivated individual with excellent interpersonal,

time management and organisation skills.

Ref: 3759228

Contact Joe Morris on 020 3465 0020 or

email joe.morris@hays.com

CREDIT CONTROLLER

Richmond upon Thames, £27,000 + benefits

A unique opportunity is available for an innovative and

experienced credit controller to join a vibrant and growing events

company. You will be organised, proactive and a driven credit

controller that can build and develop a new operation within the

events sector. This is a fantastic opportunity where you can achieve

results and be rewarded accordingly. Ref: 3720445

Contact Mark Ordona on 020 8247 4042 or

email mark.ordona@hays.com

hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / September 2019 / PAGE 60


CREDIT CONTROLLER

Central Reading, £25,000 + flexible benefits

A leading national top 60 law firm with over 300 fee earners

and multiple offices located round the UK is looking for a credit

controller on a six month contract. You will have previous legal

experience, be well organised with a methodical approach and

ability to prioritise. You will also have excellent communication

skills and be a reliable and adaptable team player with the ability

to work well under pressure. Ref: 3750904

Contact Molly Nobbs on 01189 070321 or

email molly.nobbs@hays.com

CREDIT CONTROL ADMINISTRATOR

Kettering, £19,000

A fast-growing IT based company is looking for a credit control

administrator. You will report into the Credit Manager and support

the credit control team with administrative duties. Other duties will

include processing invoices, raising sales orders and updating the

database with client information. This is a fantastic opportunity to

kickstart your career in credit control. Ref: 3765014

Contact Alex Smith on 01604 621733 or

email alex.smith@hays.com

This is just a small selection of the many opportunities we

have available for credit professionals. To find out more visit

us online or contact Kabir Gulabkhan, Hays Credit Management

UK Lead on 020 3465 0020


WHAT'S ON

We are inviting all members to bring a colleague to a CICM membership event,

free of charge. Book online on our website www.cicm.com/cicm-events

CICM EVENTS

1 April

CICM Qualifications

Members Surgery Linkedin

ONLINE

Open All Day

Want quick answers to your questions from our

experts? Join our live Linkedin chat.

2 April

Seminar – Optimising credit and risk

management for effective cashflow and growth

London

Join us for this free event in London’s iconic

Gherkin to receive insight from top specialists

in the field of Credit Management.

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Searcys at The Gerkin

30 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8EP

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED

OTHER INDUSTRY EVENTS

21 April

CICM East Midlands Branch

Derby

Take Control of your Invoice-to-Cash Process –

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Radison Blu Hotel

Herald Way, Pegasus Business Park, East

Midlands Airport, Derby, Derby, DE74 2TZ

CPD

1

8 April

Key IVR Webinar – Breaking Down the Barriers &

Maximising Collections in Your Organisation

ONLINE: 13:00 – 14:00

Chasing debt or reconciling accounts can be a

tricky, costly and time consuming task for many

organisations. Listen to Key IVR discuss methods

of how to maximise collections efficiently, whilst

reducing costs and improving daily operations.

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events.

8 April

CICM Qualifications

Members Webinar

ONLINE: 13:00 – 14:00

Want quick answers to your questions from our

experts? Join our Q&A session webinar where our

Credit Academy team focus on the Credit and

Collections qualification.

21 April

CICM Qualifications

Members Surgery Facebook

ONLINE: 12:30 – 13:30

Want quick answers to your questions from our

experts? Join our live Facebook chat.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 62


More reasons to be a member

Make connections and keep up-to-date

with our exclusive events.

Announcement

Due to the latest

public health concerns,

our events calendar is

changing daily.

OTHER INDUSTRY EVENTS

28 April

CICM Qualifications

Members Surgery Twitter

ONLINE: 12:30 – 13:30

Want quick answers to your questions from

our experts? Join our live Twitter chat.

23 April

Forums International

Stratford-upon-Avon

IT Distributor & Reseller Credit Forum

Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Stratford Manor Hotel, Warwick Road,

Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 0PY

23 April

Let’s Talk Credit

Oxford

FMCG (Food, drink, tobacco) UK

For further details contact:

brent.cumming@letstalkcredit.co.uk

Many of our events are

now available online,

along with a series of

live webinars - so please

check our website for

updates, further details

and instructions on how

to register.

CICM EVENTS

23 April

Hays

Reading

How automation is impacting Credit Management

For further details contact Tony Lambert,

Business Director, on T: 07921026446 or E:

tony.lambert@hays.com. Venue: Hays Reading, 6th

Floor, The Blade, Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3BE

5 May

Menzies Webinar

ONLINE: 13:00, Duration: 30 minutes

This webinar will look at the different types

of documentation that are received when a

customer enters an insolvency,

Presented by Bethan Evans, Menzies

19 May

Let’s Talk Credit

Where

Credit Risk Forum – Construction

For further details contact:

brent.cumming@letstalkcredit.co.uk

CICM EVENTS

6 May

Dun & Bradstreet Webinar

ONLINE: 13:00, Duration: 30 minutes

Enhanced Country Risk Insights for Finance /

Business leaders. Presented by Andrew Cooper,

Strategic Development Leader –

Finance Solutions Risk – Dun & Bradstreet

20 May

International Credit Forum

London

*Book online at www.cicm.com/cicm-events or

email events@cicm.com for more information.

Venue: Marsh JLT Speciality

138 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7AW

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 63


Cr£ditWho?

CICM Directory of Services

COLLECTIONS

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS

COLLECTIONS LEGAL

Controlaccount Plc

Address: Compass House, Waterside, Hanbury Road,

Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B60 4FD

T: 01527 549 522

E: sales@controlaccount.com

W: www.controlaccount.com

Controlaccount Plc provides an efficient, effective and ethical

commercial debt recovery service focused on improving business

cash flow whilst preserving customer relationships and established

reputations. Working with leading brand names in the UK and

internationally, we deliver a bespoke service to our clients. We offer

a no collect, no fee service without any contractual ties in. Where

applicable, we can utilise the Late Payment of Commercial Debts

Act (2013) to help you redress the cost of collection. Our clients

also benefit from our in-house international trace and legal counsel

departments and have complete transparency and up to the minute

information on any accounts placed with us for recovery through our

online debt management system, ClientWeb.

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS

Baker Ing International Limited

Office 7, 35-37 Ludgate Hill, London. EC4M 7JN

Contact: Lisa Baker-Reynolds

Email: lisa@bakering.global

Website: https://www.bakering.global/contact/

Tel: 07717 020659

Baker Ing International is a dedicated team of Credit industry

experience that, combined, covers time served in most industries.

The team is wholly comprised of working Credit Manager’s across

the Globe with a minimum threshold of ten years working experience

within Credit Management. The team offers a comprehensive

service to clients - International Debt Recovery, Credit Control, Legal

Services & more

Our mission is to help companies improve the cost and efficiency

of their Credit Management processes in order to limit the risks

associated with extending credit and trading around the globe.

How can we help you - call Lisa Baker Reynolds on

+44(0)7717 020659 or email lisa@bakering.global

COLLECTIONS LEGAL

Lovetts Solicitors

Lovetts, Bramley House, The Guildway,

Old Portsmouth Road,

Guildford, Surrey, GU3 1LR

T: 01483 347001

E: info@lovetts.co.uk

W: www.lovetts.co.uk

With more than 25yrs experience in UK & international business debt

collection and recovery, Lovetts Solicitors collects £40m+ every year

on behalf of our clients. Services include:

• Letters Before Action (LBA) from £1.50 + VAT (successful in 86%

of cases)

• Advice and dispute resolution

• Legal proceedings and enforcement

• 24/7 access to your cases via our in-house software solution,

CaseManager

Don’t just take our word for it, here’s some recent customer feedback:

“All our service expectations have been exceeded. The online

system is particularly useful and extremely easy to use. Lovetts has a

recognisable brand that generates successful results.”

Atradius Collections Ltd

3 Harbour Drive,

Capital Waterside, Cardiff, CF10 4WZ

Phone: +44 (0)29 20824397

Mobile: +44 (0)7767 865821

E-mail:yvette.gray@atradius.com

Website: atradiuscollections.com

Atradius Collections Ltd is an established specialist in business

to business collections. As the collections division of the Atradius

Crédito y Caución, we have a strong position sharing history,

knowledge and reputation.

Annually handling more than 110,000 cases and recovering over

a billion EUROs in collections at any one time, we deliver when

it comes to collecting outstanding debts. With over 90 years’

experience, we have an in-depth understanding of the importance of

maintaining customer relationships whilst efficiently and effectively

collecting monies owed.

The individual nature of our clients’ customer relationships is

reflected in the customer focus we provide, structuring our service

to meet your specific needs. We work closely with clients to provide

them with a collection strategy that echoes their business character,

trading patterns and budget.

For further information contact Yvette Gray Country Director, UK

and Ireland.

Premium Collections Limited

3 Caidan House, Canal Road

Timperley, Cheshire. WA14 1TD

T: +44 (0)161 962 4695

E: paul.daine@premiumcollections.co.uk

W: www.premiumcollections.co.uk

For all your credit management requirements Premium Collections

has the solution to suit you. Operating on a national and international

basis we can tailor a package of products and services to meet your

requirements.

Services include B2B collections, B2C collections, international

collections, absconder tracing, asset repossessions, status reporting

and litigation support.

Managed from our offices in Manchester, Harrogate and Dublin our

network of 55 partners cover the World.

Contact Paul Daine FCICM on +44 (0)161 962 4695 or

paul.daine@premiumcollections.co.uk

www.premiumcollections.co.uk

Blaser Mills Law

40 Oxford Road,

High Wycombe,

Buckinghamshire. HP11 2EE

T: 01494 478660

E: Jackie Ray jar@blasermills.co.uk

W: www.blasermills.co.uk

A full-service firm, Blaser Mills Law’s experienced Commercial

Recoveries team offer pre-legal collections, debt recovery,

litigation, dispute resolution and insolvency. The team includes

CICM qualified staff, recommended in both Legal 500 and

Chambers & Partners legal directories.

Offices in High Wycombe, Amersham, Rickmansworth, London

and Silverstone

Keebles

Capitol House, Russell Street, Leeds LS1 5SP

T: 0113 399 3482

E: charise.marsden@keebles.com

W: www.keebles.com

Keebles debt recovery team was named “Legal Team of the Year”

at the 2019 CICM British Credit Awards.

According to our clients “Keebles stand head and shoulders above

others in the industry. A team that understands their client’s

business and know exactly how to speedily maximise recovery.

Professional, can do attitude runs through the team which is not

seen in many other practices.”

We offer a service with no hidden costs, giving you certainty and

peace of mind.

• ‘No recovery, no fee’ for pre-legal work.

• Fixed fees for issuing court proceedings and pursuing claims to

judgment and enforcement.

• Success rate in excess of 80%.

• 24 hour turnaround on instructions.

• Real-time online access to your cases to review progress.

CONSULTANCY

Sanders Consulting Associates Ltd

T: +44(0)1525 720226

E: enquiries@chrissandersconsulting.com

W: www.chrissandersconsulting.com

Sanders Consulting is an independent niche consulting firm

specialising in leadership and performance improvement in all aspects

of the order to cash process. Chris Sanders FCICM, the principal, is

well known in the industry with a wealth of experience in operational

credit management, billing, change and business process improvement.

A sought after speaker with cross industry international experience in

the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, his

innovative and enthusiastic approach delivers pragmatic people and

process lead solutions and significant working capital improvements to

clients. Sanders Consulting are proud to manage CICMQ on behalf of

and under the supervision of the CICM.

COURT ENFORCEMENT SERVICES

Court Enforcement Services

Wayne Whitford – Director

M: +44 (0)7834 748 183 T : +44 (0)1992 663 399

E : wayne@courtenforcementservices.co.uk

W: www.courtenforcementservices.co.uk

High Court Enforcement that will Empower You!

We help law firms and in-house debt recovery and legal teams to

enforce CCJs by transferring them up to the High Court. Setting us

apart in the industry, our unique and Award Winning Field Agent App

helps to provide information in real time and transparency, empowering

our clients when they work with us.

• Free Transfer up process of CCJ’s to High Court

• Exceptional Recovery Rates

• Individual Client Attention and Tailored Solutions

• Real Time Client Access to Cases

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 64


FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION OPTIONS AND PRICING CONTACT

russell@cabbells.uk 0203 603 7937

CREDIT INFORMATION

CREDIT INFORMATION

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

CoCredo

Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden, Bucks, HP16 0BD

T: 01494 790600

E: customerservice@cocredo.com

W: www.cocredo.co.uk

CoCredo’s award winning credit reporting and monitoring systems have

helped to protect over £27 billion of turnover on behalf of our customers.

Our company data is updated continually throughout the day and access

to the online portal is available 365 days a year 24/7.

At CoCredo we aggregate data from a range of leading providers in

the UK and across the globe so that our customers can view the best

available data in an easy to read report. We offer customers XML

Integration and D.N.A Portfolio Management as well as an industry-first

Dual Report, comparing two leading providers opinions in one report.

Graydon UK

66 College Road, 2nd Floor, Hygeia Building, Harrow,

Middlesex, HA1 1BE

T: +44 (0)208 515 1400

E: customerservices@graydon.co.uk

W: www.graydon.co.uk

With 130+ years of experience, Graydon is a leading provider of

business information, analytics, insights and solutions. Graydon

helps its customers to make fast, accurate decisions, enabling them

to minimise risk and identify fraud as well as optimise opportunities

with their commercial relationships. Graydon uses 130+ international

databases and the information of 90+ million companies. Graydon

has offices in London, Cardiff, Amsterdam and Antwerp. Since 2016,

Graydon has been part of Atradius, one of the world’s largest credit

insurance companies.

Tinubu Square UK

Holland House, 4 Bury Street,

London EC3A 5AW

T: +44 (0)207 469 2577 /

E: uksales@tinubu.com

W: www.tinubu.com

Founded in 2000, Tinubu Square is a software vendor, enabler of the

Credit Insurance, Surety and Trade Finance digital transformation.

Tinubu Square enables organizations across the world to significantly

reduce their exposure to risk and their financial, operational and technical

costs with best-in-class technology solutions and services. Tinubu

Square provides SaaS solutions and services to different businesses

including credit insurers, receivables financing organizations and

multinational corporations.

Tinubu Square has built an ecosystem of customers in over 20 countries

worldwide and has a global presence with offices in Paris, London, New

York, Montreal and Singapore.

CREDIT INFORMATION

THE ONLY AML RESOURCE YOU NEED

SmartSearch

SmartSearch, Harman House,

Station Road,Guiseley, Leeds, LS20 8BX

T: +44 (0)113 238 7660

E: info@smartsearchuk.com W: www.smartsearchuk.com

KYC, AML and CDD all rely on a combination of deep data with broad

coverage, highly automated flexible technology with an innovative

and intuitive customer interface. Key features include automatic

Worldwide Sanction & PEP checking, Daily Monitoring, Automated

Enhanced Due Diligence and pro-active customer management.

Choose SmartSearch as your benchmark.

CEDAR

ROSE

R

Cedar Rose

3, Georgiou Katsonotou Street,3036, Limassol, Cyprus

E: info@cedar-rose.com T: +357 25346630

W: www.cedar-rose.com

Cedar Rose has been globally recognised as the expert for

credit reports, due diligence and data for the Middle East

and North African countries since 1997. We now cover over

170 countries with the same high quality, expert analysis

and attention to detail we are well-known and trusted for.

Making best use of artificial intelligence and technology, Cedar

Rose has won several awards including Credit Excellence

& European Business Awards. Our website is a one-stopshop

for your business intelligence solutions. We are the

ultimate source; with competitive prices and friendly customer

service - whether you need one or one thousand reports.

Company Watch

Centurion House, 37 Jewry Street,

LONDON. EC3N 2ER

T: +44 (0)20 7043 3300

E: info@companywatch.net

W: www.companywatch.net

Organisations around the world rely on Company Watch’s industryleading

financial analytics to drive their credit risk processes. Our

financial risk modelling and ability to map medium to long-term risk as

well as short-term credit risk set us apart from other credit reference

agencies.

Quality and rigour run through everything we do, from our unique

method of assessing corporate financial health via our H-Score®, to

developing analytics on our customers’ in-house data.

With the H-Score® predicting almost 90 percent of corporate

insolvencies in advance, it is the risk management tool of choice,

providing actionable intelligence in an uncertain world.

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

ONGUARD

T: +31 (0)88 256 66 66

E: ruurd.bakker@onguard.com

W: www.onguard.com

Onguard is specialist in credit management software and market

leader in innovative solutions for order to cash. Our integrated

platform ensures an optimal connection of all processes in the order

to cash chain and allows sharing of critical data.

Intelligent tools that can seamlessly be interconnected and offer

overview and control of the payment process, as well as contribute to

a sustainable customer relationship.

In more than 50 countries the Onguard platform is successfully used

for successful credit management.

Credica Ltd

Building 168, Maxell Avenue, Harwell Oxford, Oxon. OX11 0QT

T: 01235 856400E: info@credica.co.uk W: www.credica.co.uk

Our highly configurable and extremely cost effective Collections and

Query Management System has been designed with 3 goals in mind:

• To improve your cashflow • To reduce your cost to collect

• To provide meaningful analysis of your business

Evolving over 15 years and driven by the input of 1000s of Credit

Professionals across the UK and Europe, our system is successfully

providing significant and measurable benefits for our diverse portfolio

of clients.

We would love to hear from you if you feel you would benefit from our

‘no nonsense’ and human approach to computer software.

Data Interconnect Ltd

Units 45-50

Shrivenham Hundred Business Park

Majors Road, Watchfield

Swindon, SN6 8TZ

T: +44 (0)1367 245777

E: sales@datainterconnect.co.uk

W: www.datainterconnect.com

Data Interconnect provides Intelligent Invoice to Cash Automation.

Corrivo Billing, Collection and Dispute modules seamlessly integrate

for a rich, end-to-end A/R user experience. Branded customer

portals, real-time dashboards, advanced reporting, available in 15

languages as standard; are some of the reason why global brands

choose Data Interconnect.

HighRadius

T: +44 7399 406889

E: gwyn.roberts@highradius.com

W: www.highradius.com

HighRadius is the leading provider of Integrated Receivables

solutions for automating receivables and payment functions such

as credit, collections, cash allocation, deductions and eBilling.

The Integrated Receivables suite is delivered as a software-as-aservice

(SaaS). HighRadius also offers SAP-certified Accelerators

for SAP S/4HANA Finance Receivables Management, enabling

large enterprises to maximize the value of their SAP investments.

HighRadius Integrated Receivables solutions have a proven track

record of reducing days sales outstanding (DSO), bad-debt and

increasing operation efficiency, enabling companies to achieve an

ROI in less than a year.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 65 continues on page 66 >


Cr£ditWho?

CICM Directory of Services

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION

OPTIONS AND PRICING CONTACT

russell@cabbells.uk 0203 603 7937

CREDIT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

DATA AND ANALYTICS

INSOLVENCY

ESKER

Sam Townsend Head of Marketing

Northern Europe Esker Ltd.

T: +44 (0)1332 548176 M: +44 (0)791 2772 302

W: www.esker.co.uk LinkedIn: Esker – Northern Europe

Twitter: @EskerNEurope Esker.blog

Esker’s Accounts Receivable (AR) solution removes the all-toocommon

obstacles preventing today’s businesses from collecting

receivables in a timely manner. From invoice delivery to cash

application, Esker automates each step. Esker's automated AR

system powered by TermSync helps companies modernise without

replacing their core billing and collections processes. By simply

automating what should be automated, customers get the post-sale

experience they deserve and your team gets the tools they need.

C2FO

C2FO Ltd

105 Victoria Steet

SW1E 6QT

T: 07799 692193

E: anna.donadelli@c2fo.com

W: www.c2fo.com

C2FO turns receivables into cashflow and payables into income,

uniquely connecting buyers and suppliers to allow discounts in

exchange for early payment of approved invoices. Suppliers access

additional liquidity sources by accelerating payments from buyers

when required in just two clicks, at a rate that works for them.

Buyers, often corporates with global supply chains, benefit from the

C2FO solution by improving gross margin while strengthening the

financial health of supply chains through ethical business practices.

Menzies

T: +44 (0)2073 875 868 - London

T: +44 (0)2920 495 444 - Cardiff

W: menzies.co.uk/creditor-services

Operating across seven UK offices, Menzies LLP is an accountancy

firm delivering traditional services combined with strategic

commercial thinking. Our services include: advisory, audit,

corporate and personal tax, corporate finance, forensic accounting,

outsourcing, wealth management and business recovery –

the latter of which includes our specialist offering developed

specifically for creditors. For more information on this, or to see

how the Menzies Creditor Services team can assist you, please

visit: www.menzies.co.uk/creditor-services. Bethan Evans, Partner

and Head of Menzies Creditor Services, email: bevans@

menzies.co.uk and phone: +44 (0)2920 447512

LEGAL

SERRALA

Serrala UK Ltd, 125 Wharfdale Road

Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham

Berkshire RG41 5RB

E: r.hammons@serrala.com W: www.serrala.com

T +44 118 207 0450 M +44 7788 564722

Serrala optimizes the Universe of Payments for organisations seeking

efficient cash visibility and secure financial processes. As an SAP

Partner, Serrala supports over 3,500 companies worldwide. With

more than 30 years of experience and thousands of successful

customer projects, including solutions for the entire order-tocash

process, Serrala provides credit managers and receivables

professionals with the solutions they need to successfully protect

their business against credit risk exposure and bad debt loss.

identeco – Business Support Toolkit

Compass House, Waterside, Hanbury Road, Bromsgrove,

Worcestershire B60 4FD

Telephone: 01527 549 531 Email: info@identeco.co.uk

Web: www.identeco.co.uk

identeco’s Business Support Toolkit is an online portal connecting

its subscribers to a range of business services that help them to

engage with new prospects, understand their customers and

mitigate risk. Annual subscription is £79.95 per year for unlimited

access. Providing company information and financial reports,

director and shareholder structures as well as a unique financial

health rating, balance sheets, ratio analysis, and any detrimental

data that might be associated with a company. Other services also

included in the subscription include a business names database,

acquisition targets, a data audit service as well as unlimited,

bespoke marketing and telesales listings for any sector.

FINANCIAL PR

Shoosmiths

Email: paula.swain@shoosmiths.co.uk

Tel: 03700 86 3000 W: www.shoosmiths.co.uk

Shoosmiths’ highly experienced team will work closely with credit

teams to recover commercial debts as quickly and cost effectively as

possible. We have an in depth knowledge of all areas of debt recovery,

including:

• Pre-litigation services to effect early recovery and keep costs down

• Litigation service

• Post-litigation services including enforcement

• Insolvency

As a client of Shoosmiths, you will find us quick to relate to your goals,

and adept at advising you on the most effective way of achieving them.

PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

Redwood Collections Ltd

0208 288 3555

enquiry@redwoodcollections.com

Airport House, Purley Way, Croydon, CR0 0XZ

“Redwood Collections offers a complete portfolio of debt collection

services ranging from sensitive client-debtor mediation through to

legal and insolvency action.

Incorporated in 2009, we are pleased to represent in excess of

11,000 clients. Whatever your debt collection needs, we have the

expertise and resources to deliver a fast, efficient and cost-effective

solution.”

DATA AND ANALYTICS

Dun & Bradstreet

Marlow International, Parkway Marlow

Buckinghamshire SL7 1AJ

Telephone: (0800) 001-234 Website: www.dnb.co.uk

Dun & Bradstreet Finance Solutions enable modern finance

leaders and credit professionals to improve business performance

through more effective risk management, identification of growth

opportunities, and better integration of data and insights across the

business. Powered by our Data Cloud, our solutions provide access

to the world’s most comprehensive commercial data and insights

- supplying a continually updated view of business relationships

that helps finance and credit teams stay ahead of market shifts and

customer changes. Learn more here:

www.dnb.co.uk/modernfinance

Gravity Global

Floor 6/7, Gravity Global, 69 Wilson St, London, EC2A 2BB

T: +44(0)207 330 8888. E: sfeast@gravityglobal.com

W: www.gravityglobal.com

Gravity is an award winning full service PR and advertising

business that is regularly benchmarked as being one of the best

in its field. It has a particular expertise in the credit sector, building

long-term relationships with some of the industry’s best-known

brands working on often challenging briefs. As the partner agency for

the Credit Services Association (CSA) for the past 22 years, and the

Chartered Institute of Credit Management since 2006, it understands

the key issues affecting the credit industry and what works and what

doesn’t in supporting its clients in the media and beyond.

FORUMS

FORUMS INTERNATIONAL

T: +44 (0)1246 555055

E: info@forumsinternational.co.uk

W: www.forumsinternational.co.uk

Forums International Ltd have been running Credit and Industry

Forums since 1991. We cover a range of industry sectors and

International trading, attendance is for Credit Professionals of all

levels. Our forums are not just meetings but communities which

aim to prepare our members for the challenges ahead. Attending

for the first time is free for you to gauge the benefits and meet the

members and we only have pre-approved Partners, so you will never

intentionally be sold to.

Bottomline Technologies

115 Chatham Street, Reading

Berks RG1 7JX | UK

T: 0870 081 8250 E: emea-info@bottomline.com

W: www.bottomline.com/uk

Bottomline Technologies (NASDAQ: EPAY) helps businesses

pay and get paid. Businesses and banks rely on Bottomline for

domestic and international payments, effective cash management

tools, automated workflows for payment processing and bill

review and state of the art fraud detection, behavioural analytics

and regulatory compliance. Businesses around the world depend

on Bottomline solutions to help them pay and get paid, including

some of the world’s largest systemic banks, private and publicly

traded companies and Insurers. Every day, we help our customers

by making complex business payments simple, secure and seamless.

American Express

76 Buckingham Palace Road,

London. SW1W 9TQ

T: +44 (0)1273 696933

W: www.americanexpress.com

American Express is working in partnership with the CICM and is

a globally recognised provider of payment solutions to businesses.

Specialising in providing flexible collection capabilities to drive a

number of company objectives including:

•Accelerate cashflow •Improved DSO •Reduce risk

•Offer extended terms to customers

•Provide an additional line of bank independent credit to drive

growth •Create competitive advantage with your customers

As experts in the field of payments and with a global reach,

American Express is working with credit managers to drive growth

within businesses of all sectors. By creating an additional lever to

help support supplier/client relationships American Express is proud

to be an innovator in the business payments space.

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 66


PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

ARE YOU A LEADER

OR FOLLOWER?

Key IVR

T: +44 (0) 1302 513 000

E: sales@keyivr.com

W: www.keyivr.com

Key IVR are proud to have joined the Chartered Institute of Credit

Management’s Corporate partnership scheme. The CICM is a

recognised and trusted professional entity within credit management

and a perfect partner for Key IVR. We are delighted to be providing

our services to the CICM to assist with their membership collection

activities. Key IVR provides a suite of products to assist companies

across the globe with credit management. Our service is based

around giving the end-user the means to make a payment when and

how they choose. Using automated collection methods, such as a

secure telephone payment line (IVR), web and SMS allows companies

to free up valuable staff time away from typical debt collection.

RECRUITMENT

Hays Credit Management

107 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN

T: 07834 260029

E: karen.young@hays.com

W: www.hays.co.uk/creditcontrol

Hays Credit Management is working in partnership with the CICM

and specialise in placing experts into credit control jobs and credit

management jobs. Hays understands the demands of this challenging

environment and the skills required to thrive within it. Whatever

your needs, we have temporary, permanent and contract based

opportunities to find your ideal role. Our candidate registration process

is unrivalled, including face-to-face screening interviews and a credit

control skills test developed exclusively for Hays by the CICM. We offer

CICM members a priority service and can provide advice across a wide

spectrum of job search and recruitment issues.

PORTFOLIO

CREDIT CONTROL

Portfolio Credit Control

1 Finsbury Square, London. EC2A 1AE

T: 0207 650 3199

E: recruitment@portfoliocreditcontrol.com

W: www.portfoliocreditcontrol.com

Portfolio Credit Control, solely specialises in the recruitment of

permanent, temporary and contract Credit Control, Accounts

Receivable and Collections staff. Part of an award winning recruiter

we speak to and meet credit controllers all day everyday understanding

their skills and backgrounds to provide you with tried and tested credit

control professionals. We have achieved enormous growth because we

offer a uniquely specialist approach to our clients, with a commitment

to service delivery that exceeds your expectations every single time.

CICMQ accreditation is a proven model

that has consistently delivered dramatic

improvements in cashflow and efficiency

CICMQ is the hallmark of industry

leading organisations

The CICM Best Practice Network is where

CICMQ accredited organisations come

together to develop, share and celebrate

best practice in credit and collections

BE A LEADER – JOIN THE CICM BEST

PRACTICE NETWORK TODAY

To find out more about flexible options

to gain CICMQ accreditation

E: cicmq@cicm.com T: 01780 722900

Advancing the credit profession / www.cicm.com / April 2020 / PAGE 67


Providers ofethical and effective

commercial debt recovery

Specialists in transport and logistics,

manufacturing, healthcare, education

and commercial recoveries for 40 years

controlaccount.com

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