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Woman working at a laptop, surrounded by piles of stock boxes ready to sell

Are you ready to capitalise on increased consumer spending this summer?

Woman working at a laptop, surrounded by piles of stock boxes ready to sell
Rapid growth is coming, does your business have the stock it needs to capitalise on increased consumer spending this summer?

The Bank of England is forecasting that the economy will grow by 7.25% this year, which means that business in the UK will be seeing its fastest growth in more than 70 years.  Does your business have the cash it needs to fund this growth?

The BoE also now expects the unemployment rate to peak at just 5.5% later this year, well below the 7.75% it predicted as recently as February.  That means around 700,000 fewer job losses.  The unprecedented government interventions during the pandemic have meant that UK households have now amassed more than £150bn in extra savings over the past year.  The Bank expects at least 10% of this to be spent by the end of the year.

If your business is in a sector set to grow rapidly as this £15bn of cash is dumped back into the retail economy this summer, is your cash flow up to the task?

Stock from suppliers around the world remains scarce, and suppliers are looking for big deposits or even payment in full prior to dispatch on popular items.  If your business needs cash to pay suppliers for your inbound goods, Seneca Trade Partners can help.

No one could have predicted this pandemic or the effect it had on the economy.  We certainly could not have anticipated the effect it would have on the demand for our stock finance facilities.  We have been paying suppliers for stock on behalf of our UK SME clients for five years now, and we made over ten thousand payments last year alone.  In pre-pandemic times, our clients used our supplier payment stock finance facilities both to fund growth and to diversify their supplier base away from needing to use suppliers who provided trade credit.

However, during the pandemic, this utilisation widened to businesses using our direct supplier cash payment facilities to secure scarce stock from suppliers, by being the customers who could pay quickest and pay in full.  It’s a perfect use for our market-leading Stock Finance facilities, where the flexibility of the “on-demand” nature of our facilities means our clients have complete control of when (or even if) they use the funds we put at their disposal.  Our Stock Finance facilities put our UK SME clients back in control of their stock purchasing, and such control is needed now more than ever.

If you would like to find out more about our Stock Finance facilities or apply for a facility for your business, please visit our website at www.senecatradepartners.com

 

Smiling man shaking hands with a woman in a business meeting while another woman looks on and smiles

Working for Seneca Trade Partners

Smiling man shaking hands with a woman in a business meeting while another woman looks on and smiles

Are you interested in working for Seneca Trade Partners?

We are looking for an Administrative Assistant to assist with the day-to-day running of our business.

Who are Seneca Trade Partners?

We are a Manchester-based business operating throughout the UK, providing stock finance to UK SME’s.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone looking to join an established lender in a flexible role that requires a high degree of self-motivation and attention to detail.

What is the role?

Administrative Assistant responsibilities include:

  • Involvement in daily client operations, including processing payments, invoicing and credit control
  • Maintain client records,  on a daily basis
  • Data inputting into Excel spreadsheets, cash allocations and monthly balance reconciliation
  • Checking of legal security and facility renewal documents

What are the benefits?

  • Minimum salary £20k per annum
  • Stakeholder pension
  • 25 days holiday per year plus Bank Holidays
  • Discretionary yearly bonus (based upon company performance)
  • Flexible or initial part-time working hours will be considered, including working from home

If you are interested in applying, please contact us on 03330 156 604 or email: admin@senecatradepartners.com

Chinese lanterns hanging from a tree in Manchester, UK

Chinese New Year

Chinese lanterns hanging from a tree in Manchester, UK

It’s the Chinese year of the Rat and New Year celebrations are due to commence on Saturday 25th January.  A dragon street parade in Manchester’s Chinatown is planned for Sunday 26th, if you are in the area be sure to check it out, it’s brilliant.

We regularly buy goods from China on behalf of our clients and we find that with our Chinese suppliers, the celebrations go on much longer than a weekend!  Typically, it can be four weeks before production begins again after an almost countrywide shutdown.

If you have goods that are scheduled to come in from China in late February or early March and will need to pay for prior to shipment, now is the time to contact us to put a supplier payment facility in place.

Close-up showing business people discussing the facts and figures shown on their charts

New Milestones Achieved

Seneca Trade Partners is nearing the end of its third year of trading and the owners are pleased to have passed a number of milestones in recent weeks.

The business now provides stock purchasing facilities to over 50 active clients, has more than £5m of funds out at any one time, and, following the recent appointment of Sam Hastie as Client Executive, now has more than five people in the team.

The continuing Brexit uncertainty is meaning more and more SMEs are looking for ways to increase their physical stock holdings. A stock purchasing facility from Seneca Trade Partners is the perfect solution, and the team have put resources in place to ensure that they are able to service the increased demand that they are seeing.

Director of Seneca Trade Partners, Chris Divers said: “We’ve been really pleased with the steady and sustainable growth that we’ve seen over the past 3 years. We are now cemented in the market as a key stock funding proposition. With the additional resources we are putting in place, we are well positioned for the next phase of our growth as we continue to increase the size of our lending book and support more and more UK businesses with their stock purchasing requirements.”

Seneca Trade Partners was founded with the mindset that just because something is difficult, it doesn’t make it impossible. Please get in touch if you think we can help

Image from above in an office showing young people in discussion

Far from the Madding Crowd

How do you make an immediate impact in the saturated UK SME finance marketplace? You do something no one else is doing. In 2016, against a backdrop of ever-increasing competition in the financial services sector, Seneca Trade Partners (“STP”) was launched. The mission was to provide stock finance to UK businesses at up to 100% loan to value (“LTV”).

Stock Finance has long been considered one of the most difficult types of working capital finance to deliver to small, expanding businesses. Finance for stock exists in a number of forms, none of which seem to fit the requirements of a growing number of UK businesses. Existing stock finance providers are located at either of two extremes. At one end of the spectrum, institutional lenders advance funds on the basis of strong security, very low risk and low margin, and at the other end, smaller niche providers lend funds on a template of weak security, very high risk and high margin.

Trade Finance is not Stock Finance

At the low-risk end, there is Trade Finance which has been around for as long as there has been the exchange of goods for cash. In the modern financial marketplace, Trade Finance is effectively an exchange of documents, and Trade Financiers are often considered to be taking Bank risk rather than product risk. Trade Finance involves finished goods or commodities, large businesses, big transaction sizes, standard documentation, very low risk, and relatively low margin.

There are also some low risk Stock Finance facilities provided by Asset Based Lenders, who will provide funds secured on unencumbered stock at up to around 30% LTV. This sort of finance is seldom useful to rapidly growing businesses as it leaves a gap on inbound stock purchasing that’s too big to fill from cashflow, so this type of finance is usually used as a way of raising working capital for other purposes, rather than specifically for the purchase of new stock to fulfil a growing order book.

What about new Financial Technologies?

At the other end of the risk scale are the new breed of Fin-tech lenders who provide facilities of up to a few hundred thousand pounds in the form of unsecured business loans. These loans are used by some borrowers to buy stock, but they are not stock loans, they are term loans. They are often unsuited to smaller but rapidly growing businesses as once these loan funds are spent on stock, they do not revolve in line with the stock trading cycle. The funds can be used once but that’s it because the liquidity provided by the loan is quickly lost in general cashflow.

A changing landscape

A key trigger for the launch of STP was the removal of credit limits by suppliers that many UK SMEs have found themselves experiencing. UK businesses have for many years benefitted from some level of credit from their overseas suppliers, but such credit is nowhere near as common as it once was and many suppliers are insisting on deposit payments before goods are even manufactured, with payment in full generally expected prior to shipment.

STP puts stock purchasing power in the hands of smaller growing businesses that have a growing sales pipeline but cannot obtain credit from suppliers.

So, if there is demand for 100% stock funding in the marketplace, why has that demand not already been satisfied? Why is there a shortage of dedicated Stock funders in the UK?

The answer is simple. Stock funding is difficult.

Providing 100% LTV stock funding in a low-risk way requires a thorough knowledge of UK trading laws. It is operationally intensive, it requires flexibility and it demands constant vigilance and discipline.

In order to benefit from Retention of Title-based (“ROT”) security, stock funders must insert themselves in the supply chain. This means paying supplier invoices directly and reinvoicing the goods onto their client. That creates a lot of paperwork, and where the stock is made up of goods that are not finished, ROT is quickly lost.

Stock funders are forced to accept a weaker security position than most other secured lenders, even if the stock funder holds a debenture over their client’s business. This is because stock funders only ever benefit from a floating charge over the stock they fund, unlike invoice financiers for example, who under UK insolvency law hold a fixed charge over the book debts of a business.

In the event of a client insolvency, it’s a generally accepted rule of thumb that stock funders will lose out, as their stock turns into the invoices that are either the property of an invoice financier, or the business itself and the proceeds of the sale of the stock will be shared amongst secured creditors and be subject to statutory deductions.

What about the risks?

STP was founded with the mindset that just because something is difficult, it doesn’t make it impossible. We mitigate and control risk in various ways:

  • We choose our clients carefully, based upon their trading history;
  • We have exceptionally good processes and controls;
  • We take supplementary security where necessary;
  • We arrange formal tie-ups with Invoice Financiers, where we are paid directly by them as our stock is sold;
  • We structure our facilities in a way that provides a constant flow of stock-purchasing liquidity. If repayments are not kept up to date, we can suspend funding whilst we solve whatever problems have arisen in the business or the supply chain, before the situation gets out of hand.

In its first two years, STP has purchased more than £15m of stock on behalf of its clients and has a current stock loan book of over £4m. We are particularly proud of our low default rates and that STP has been profitable as a business since inception.

The ambition for the business is to grow in scale in a measured way, and to become the go-to provider for 100% LTV stock funding to SMEs in the UK.

Worker with fork pallet truck stacker, in a warehouse loading furniture panels

Is your cashflow Brexit-proof?

Uncertainty continues to prevail in the Brexit process. More and more UK businesses are giving serious thought to contingency planning as March 2019 approaches. In the event of no deal, does your business have enough headroom in its cash flow to survive unavoidable delays in getting your products to your customers?

We can provide working capital finance secured on goods that are waiting to be processed in your factory or that are waiting to be shipped to your customers. Even if those goods are located in a wagon that’s parked on the M20. Our finance is super flexible. We do not charge non-utilisation fees or early repayment fees. Our clients only use our funding when they actually need it, which makes it perfect for solving short-term cashflow problems. Having a stock finance facility set up and ready to go could be very useful if your business experiences unavoidable delays in getting your goods to your clients. Problems that are beyond your control.

A short-term working capital facility secured primarily on the goods you supply to your customers may well be a perfect answer to smoothing out any short-term Brexit problems. We have seen a marked increase in the number of UK manufacturers and wholesalers contacting us in recent weeks looking for just this sort of facility.

Also remember, we are a funder, not a broker. The stock funding products you see on our website are products that we have crafted in-house in order to solve our clients’ short-term working capital problems. We make these products available to our customers utilising our own funds. By talking directly to us you are talking to the decision-makers. We are fast and no-nonsense. If you think it might be sensible to have some contingency funding in place, possibly to use only if you need to, then please contact us today with your requirements.

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