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Seneca Trade Partners Ltd’s two year anniversary

Headshot of Chris Divers

Two years in, what have I learnt about providing stock finance to UK businesses?

It’s been two years since we launched Seneca Trade Partners and I find myself reflecting on our journey so far.

The time has flown by and although in many ways we feel like we are only just getting started. When I think about what we have achieved, I realise just how much we have accomplished in a short space of time.

We have purchased a total of £8 million of stock on behalf of more than 40 individual UK Business clients.

We’ve forged great relationships with introducers and other funders.  We’ve introduced new ways to work with debt funders that mean we can provide stock finance even where businesses have invoice finance already and we’ve been part of the Seneca team that has won Best Alternative Finance Provider two years in a row at the Insider Dealmaker awards.

On behalf of our clients we’ve purchased everything from commodity stock like Coal, Glass, Fabric and Plastics to specialist products including Pharmaceuticals, Laptops, Children’s Toys, School Shoes, LED Lighting, Watches… the list goes on and on.

We’ve made purchases from suppliers all around the world, in different currencies and we’ve been involved in the journey of a number of our clients who have used our funding to grow their business to the point that they have become attractive to business purchasers.  In some cases, our clients have either sold out entirely, in others they have benefited from substantial equity injections following the introduction of our working capital funding which lead to increased turnover and profitability.

For me that is probably the most satisfying aspect of what we have achieved over the past two years.  We are working hard to build a business for ourselves and the wider Seneca family who back us, but seeing our funding fuel substantial and immediate results for our clients is almost more rewarding.  We believe wholeheartedly in what we do and we are all heavily invested in it.  To see our clients achieving such great results following the adoption of our funding is just fantastic and reinforces our belief that UK manufacturing is under-served in the financial market.  Businesses can not trade unless they have stock to trade with, and we have seen many times that when you back the right businesses with stock funding, those businesses flourish.

The last two years have not been without their challenges however. More than once, it’s felt like we’re running an accountancy practice first and a stock finance business second. Part of what I love about our business is that no other funder does what we do.  The problem with that though, is that when you do something no one else does, you have to invent it from scratch.  Seneca Trade Partners offers its clients unmatched flexibility in the way their facilities operate.  We calculate charges by the day and we allow multiple part payments and on-demand ad-hoc drawdowns, meaning that our clients are completely in control of their stock funding lines.  In the real world, operating facilities like this is difficult and until we invested in a bespoke software system, we were calculating it manually!  Thankfully we now have a custom IT solution that tracks payments and receipts across our whole client base and produces statements automatically.  Getting to this point though has been a major undertaking.

In recent months we have really felt like we have been gaining a natural momentum.  With inbound deal flow increasing each month and a bulging pipeline, it is exciting to be interviewing candidates for the new roles we are creating.  We will also soon to be on the hunt for bigger office space in Manchester to accommodate our growing team.

UK Trading, and especially manufacturing, is going through an uncertain time and with the current state of Brexit negotiations, stability looks a long way off.  With our funding, we are helping support UK businesses by financing the stock they need to support their sales pipelines.  It’s what we do, it’s what we are good at, and we are perfectly placed to keep doing it, bigger and better, over the coming years, no matter what happens in the marketplace.

Does genuinely flexible stock finance exist?

In a word, yes! At Seneca Trade Partners, we provide top-up stock finance to our clients as and when they need it.

One of the great things about our stock finance products is that they complement rather than replace clients’ existing working capital facilities.

We regularly provide additional stock lending over and above existing loan or overdraft facilities. This means quick access to stock funding without the need to terminate other agreements, thereby avoiding early redemption charges.

Where our clients have an existing Invoice Finance facility, we have agreements with several lenders where a pre-agreed percentage of availability is paid directly to us to effect a continual repayment of the stock facility.

 

 

By providing additional capital at the front end of a transaction, we enable an end-to-end solution that funds a client’s entire working capital cycle. We recently provided 100% stock finance to a food manufacturer alongside an existing overdraft and invoice finance line. This facility was active within a week of the introduction.

Seneca Trade Partners offer on demand stock facilities from £25,000 to £3,000,000. To see how Seneca Trade Partners can enable you to grow your business by funding your inbound stock, contact us today on 03330 156 604 or via email at info@senecatradepartners.com.

Seneca Trade Partners joins the Army for a Day with the Duke of Lancaster Regiment

Seneca Trade Partners joins the Army for a Day with the Duke of Lancaster Regiment

Seneca is a supporter of the Army Benevolent Fund, and through this relationship, a bunch of us from across the Seneca group were invited to attend the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster Regiment, at Weeton Barracks and experience a day in the life of a soldier. The experience was exciting, enlightening and humbling. It’s also safe to say that I’m not as fit as I thought I was.

The day started with the Army PT trainers putting us through our paces on the training ground before we observed a live fire demonstration by a section of the 2nd Lancs. We also got to test our aim on the indoor virtual gun range where it became apparent that some of us have potential alternative careers as army snipers, and that some of us don’t. I won’t mention which one of us didn’t hit a single target.

A highlight of the day for me was having lunch in the Officers’ Mess with officers from the regiment. Those guys have got some stories! We were marched in four ranks across the base to attend lunch and to say we were lacking in timing and symmetry would be a fair assessment. The CO compared my marching style to something of a hybrid between Michael Flatley and Liam Gallagher. I don’t think he meant it as a compliment.

The day was rounded off with some leadership challenges where we all had to work quickly as a team to solve tasks that required a mixture of strength and thought. I’m pleased to report that we passed these challenges in the quickest times yet achieved by any (non-army) group who have undertaken the exercises and more impressively, we are all still talking to each other following some disagreements on strategy.

The biggest impression that the day made on me though, was the professionalism of the troops. I take my hat off to them for the work they do on our behalf all around the world, often at great personal risk.

Risk management was a key theme of the day and is probably the most obvious crossover between the work of the Battalion and the work we do here at Seneca Trade Partners. The common ground being that in many situations there is no way to completely eliminate risk. The only way to do so would be to not engage in a situation at all.

If you want to be involved, you need to take as many proactive steps as necessary to reduce risk to the lowest possible level, but there comes a point when you can mitigate no more and you have to commit to a course of action. This means putting your best foot forward, relying on your instincts and experience and in no small part simply hoping that you’ve called it right. The key difference between the world of fighting and the world of finance of course is that whilst those of us in alternative financial services might pay for a bad call with our livelihoods, we won’t pay with our lives. That’s something I’m sure I’ll continue to reflect upon when I’m faced with financial situations where things are not going as well as hoped.

People tell us that financing stock that is not pre-sold and financing stock that is not finished is risky; well after seeing what it takes to be a soldier, it doesn’t feel so risky to me.

Close-up of people sitting at a conference together and making notes

New Director at Seneca Trade Partners

Headshot of Mark McGuire

Seneca Trade Partners Limited (STP) are delighted to welcome their new Director and Shareholder Mark McGuire to the team.

Mark joins STP from his previous role as Managing Director of Goldcrest Trade Finance and brings with him expertise in smaller-sized, fast-moving facilities. Following Mark’s appointment, Seneca Trade Partners now provides trade and stock finance facilities from £0 to £3m, at up to 100% LTV, making them a one-stop shop for businesses who need to pay suppliers for new stock or raise finance on stock they already own.

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