Chair’s September Briefing: Establishing a new rhythm

In the latest instalment of his new monthly briefings, NACFB Chair, Paul Goodman, reflects on the efforts of the trade body over the last few weeks, from the Association’s internal restructuring to recognising lending excellence

Over the last few months, the Board and I have been reflecting upon the Association’s activities. Like every other business and organisation in the UK, it has been an unprecedented time of change. We have remained agile though and made decisions that have carried us through and continue to ensure the relevancy of the Association both now and in the future.

One of our main areas of change has been around our operational structure. We have started to share some aspects of the new structure with the announcement of a more streamlined board and a Member Advisory Group. There is more to come, but we are convinced it will positively affect the entire membership.

Inevitably, these discussions have also forced some difficult decisions. As you may already have seen, this has included the Association saying goodbye to its CEO, Graham Toy. There is no doubt that the Association has benefitted greatly from his experience, insight, and leadership, evidenced by the significant strides the trade body has made since he joined.

The scheme of things

It remains to be seen whether the BBL and CBIL schemes will be extended, I know that the team at the British Business Bank are carefully monitoring the data behind both and will be releasing an update soon. Whether they choose to extend the scheme or release a new product – a hybrid version of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme – I am certain our community will adapt just as it did in March. As always, the NACFB Morning Briefing will be your first port of call for any and all updates. We also ran an exclusive interview with the Bank’s chief commercial officer Patrick Magee; it’s well worth reading.

Keeping covered

Availability of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) has reduced across all professions, including construction, engineering, law, and financial services. We all know our industry has not been immune to the wider problem.

The concerns over PII remain at the very forefront of our energies and focus. Given the issues that exist within the market, a better system of pooling consumer compensation is required. One that reduces volatility, both in terms of premiums and ‘hollowing out’ of cover. This is necessary not only for the commercial health of the advice sector but also for our client base.

Wheels in motion

The NACFB engaged with the FCA last month and continues to do so, encouraging the regulator to look again at its motor finance proposals. We have returned with practice examples, which highlight a significant reduction of competition in the motor finance arena.

At the core of our challenge, the NACFB is calling for a clear distinction between independent brokers and motor dealers. Our view is that finance brokers and motor dealers have wrongly been pigeon-holed into the same category due to their regulatory permissions, but there requires a deeper understanding of their respective markets and positions held, as well as the benefits of customers having free choice in the marketplace.

Recognising lending excellence

Entry submissions for this year’s NACFB Awards remain open, but not for long. The deadline for all entries is 5pm on Wednesday 30th September 2020. The first-ever virtual awards ceremony will take place from 4.00pm on Thursday 26th November and will be free for all to attend. Awards will be based on votes from NACFB Members as well as feedback from a broker-judging panel. This year’s awards will also feature new categories, including ‘CBILS Lender of the Year’, ‘BDM Team of the Year’, and ‘Socially Responsible Lender of the Year’. Patrons can find out more on award criteria, download submission forms for any of the fourteen categories via the site.

The right rhythm

It would be wrong to say that just as the number of COVID cases rise; finance applications will do the same. However, there is some correlation; UK economic survival is inextricably linked to our own. Our new battle rhythm has established speed, flexibility and diversity of thought. Whilst having a strong sense of urgency, it is underpinned by accountability and responsibility.

Deployed with the right vision and sense of purpose, the Association will continue to work to the new rhythm so you can more easily work to yours. Moving Britain Forward is not just a concept, and it is more than an idea; it is what drives everything we do.

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