The launch of UK Finance
Simplifying access to business finance
The expectations of consumers of financial services – whether they are individuals or families, sole traders, SMEs or larger businesses are fast evolving – and the industry needs to do the same.
As new forms of finance, and finance providers launch on an almost-daily basis, the boundaries between different financial services have become blurred. Many of the distinctions the industry has traditionally organised itself around matter very little to business owners and entrepreneurs. The industry needs to make things easier for business owners looking for finance to support a particular need.
Reflecting this, in July 2017 UK Finance was launched, bringing together six industry bodies representing the commercial banking industry and the invoice finance and asset based lending sector.
What is UK Finance?
UK Finance brings together two of the Business Finance Guide’s original partner organisations, the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) and the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).
The other member bodies that have been combined to form UK Finance are the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.
As the Business Finance Guide’s newest partner organisation, UK Finance represents around 300 firms providing credit, banking, markets and payments related services.
UK Finance’s membership is diverse and includes both banks and non-banks – so it is able to offer a wide-ranging perspective on financing to UK companies of all sizes, and at every stage on their business journey.
Supporting the economy – and serving customers much better
Serving customers better and supporting the economy are two of UK Finance’s main objectives. Providing better information about the full range of finance options available to UK businesses is a central part of this, and UK Finance will continue to work with the Business Finance Guide to support this.
A growing business simply wants the solution that best meets its requirements – and may not make the distinction between the need for a loan, an invoice finance facility, an overdraft or an equity investment.
These may be available from a ‘traditional’ lender, a specialist provider or through an online player.
The business owner (or prospective business owner) needs two main things:
- Better understanding of the forms of finance that may suit their particular circumstances; and
- Confidence to access different types of finance, knowing the providers operate to clear standards.
It’s the role of UK Finance to help ensure these are delivered.
Raising the standard
It’s not enough to offer business owners a choice. With the profusion of new lenders and equity partners entering an already complicated market, part of UK Finance’s role is to put in place some clear and enforceable standards.
UK Finance is taking forward the Standards Framework and independent Complaints Process established by the ABFA. This makes sure that business owners who are considering invoice finance or asset based lending are able to do so with confidence that their provider will meet the highest standards.
In addition, the Better Business Finance initiative established by the BBA also remains in place, providing impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow.
UK Finance represents the UK financial services industry and works with its members to earn customer trust and deliver outstanding services. For more information, visit ukfinance.org.uk.
Article contributed by Jeff Longhurst, Head of Commercial, Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending at UK Finance (née Asset Based Finance Association).