Month: February 2022

Digital Marketing

Omnichannel Sales or How to Raise Revenues to Help Finance New Projects

Digital Marketing

Sometimes, things change so fast that we barely have time to take the wave, or we simply miss it entirely. When you find yourself in the second case, it can be quite a long way to swim back, in order to catch the next one. Some companies found themselves in that position, in regards to omnichannel sales, and saw their revenues come crashing down. That means less money to finance new projects. Here is what you need to know so you stay afloat in 2022.


Omnichannel Sales: A Must in Today’s World to keep Wealth Afloat

If you want your customers to only call on your phone line or send you an e-mail, for any need they may have, then you have definitely missed something, over the last few years. Whereas before companies controlled their sales pipeline, directing customers to the communication mean of their choice, today customers hold the power and will contact them as they please, through the channel of their choice. And if they can’t do so, they will simply look for the product or service they need, elsewhere. That will translate into important loss of revenues, which is needed to finance the development of the company.

Omnichannel sales may seem like a blessing for someone that doesn’t know much about running a business, but for those that do, it can easily become the biggest nightmare they have ever face. How do you make sure you cover all bases, when there are so many? By controlling your online marketing. That means your social media outlets, your website, as well as the way you communicate through e-mails. And to do so, you can definitely use the help of professionals such as the ones you will find at


A Change in Progress

It is never easy to keep revenues steady inside a company. Even less so in the digital era, with such a high level of competition around. But to think that the pandemic has created the huge change, that is omnichannel sales, would be wrong. For sure, it helped increase the tendency, as workers were doing their job from home, and thus preferred to be in contact with their suppliers in different ways. But it started years before, as a recent research from McKinsey showed.

Between 2016 and 2021, the number of channels used by B2B buyers has grown from five to ten. The study also indicated that two-third of B2B buyers now opted for remote human interaction or digital self-service, at various stages of their relationships with the company. That is what explains the need for the information to be made available and easily reachable. If a buyer “has to” call a company, instead of finding the information he needs online, this could be a sufficient issue for him to start looking elsewhere to buy that same product or service. And you know what that means: Less revenues to finance new projects and to support the current ones.


Understanding Each Customer’s Needs

The customers needs have to be addressed throughout the course of their interaction with a company. It starts when they first hear about it, and ends at the moment that they finally decide to buy. It is also true about the long-term relationship, which will have to be handled in the same manner. So how can marketing help to make sure that it all goes as planned? First, it should direct the customer where it wants it to go, and advertising is the best way to do so.

For example, if it uses one of its social media to reach new targets, it should be prepared to have them go somewhere on the main website, where they can get the information they will need, in order to understand what they can expect in the future. There, customers should be able to talk to someone, if need be. That is why there has to be some kind of chat line available for them to do so. Even if it is just an AI answering basic questions. If there comes a point where it can’t continue that conversation, it will transfer the information to a live person, who will then handle the customer’s request.


Every Channel needs to be connected

It is crucial that all channels made available are thought together, at the same time, so that they provide a smooth path for customers to follow. The smallest miscommunication between the various departments of the company, that speak with customers, can be a cause for losing them, and the revenues they bring in that keep the finances at a comfortable level.

This customer journey needs to be revisited regularly, to maintain order in the communication process. All the time, keeping in mind that looking out for each customer’s “happiness,” in its relationship with the company, is the main goal that needs to be followed. That way, your bank account can also be smiling, while new projects are being brought to life, so they can create even more revenues for you.

Retail Investment

Retail Investments: The Top 3 Stocks to Watch Amidst the Rise In Online Shopping

Retail Investment

With the online retail boom set to continue, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Research at Freedom Finance Europe, outlines three of the top investment opportunities to watch out for 

The appeal of well-known brands in the retail sector remains attractive to consumers and investors alike. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns were enforced at various times over the past two years, increasing the demand for online services which has acted as a catalyst for retailers’ financial performance.

In fact, online sales are expected to grow by 16.2% year over year, with an increasing number of retailers jumping on the eCommerce train to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers.

In light of this, Maxim Manturov highlights the top three retail stocks to watch that can deliver strong returns at an optimal level of risk.

The top 3 retail companies to consider

1. Crocs is an American company that designs and develops shoes and accessories for everyday wear. Crocs is currently looking to acquire rival Heydude with the aim of expanding its product portfolio and increasing its addressable market of customers. In turn, this will help to increase the organisation’s sustainable sales growth, cash flow and overall operating margins, which will contribute to a rapid reduction in debt. The acquisition is expected to take place in Q1 2022 and will expand the size of Croc’s addressable market to £92bn ($125bn).

It is also important to note that over the same period in the last two years, Crocs continues to report excellent financial results. In Q3 2021 alone, the company reported a revenue of £461.4m ($625.9m), which is an increase of 73% and 100% respectively. We recommend buying Crocs at £69.6 ($94.8) and hold until it reaches £140 ($190), which should take between 3-6 months and should see a growth potential of 100%.

2. Capri Holdings is a multinational fashion holding company. It develops and promotes clothing, footwear, accessories and perfumes for the world-renowned brands Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace.

In November, the company reported Q2 fiscal 2022 results that exceeded analysts’ expectations. Against this backdrop, the company’s management has increased its revenue and profit forecasts for the entirety of 2022. Revenue forecasts now stand at £3.9bn ($5.3bn), which is a significant increase from the previous forecast of £3.8bn ($5.15bn).

Capri Holdings is keeping up with the times and tries to participate in existing trends. For example, it has a presence in the NFT token market and creates luxury items for the metaverse. In so doing, the brand wants to be closer to the young, profitable generation.

Capri Holdings is also gradually reducing its debt burden. The company’s debt has now fallen to £840m ($1.14bn) and its cash position is £172m ($234m). The FCF level is stable at £123m ($167m) in Q4 2021. In other words, the company has no liquidity problems. We recommend buying Capri Holdings at £52 ($70.7) and selling at £58.9 ($80), which should take 6 months and see a growth potential of 13.2%.

3. Revolve Group is an online retailer and clothing manufacturer offering around 50,000 models of clothing, footwear, accessories and beauty products from 1,000 different manufacturers. One of the most alluring reasons to invest in Revolve is the company’s business model, which allows the sale of products only through its own online marketplace.  This helps save on-premises rental, property maintenance and third-party platform commissions.

The business also has dynamic inventory management that helps to estimate demand for products and increases inventory turnover rates. This leads to a significant increase in business margins and revenue growth.

On top of this, Revolve has successfully continued to improve its financial performance. The company’s Q3 2021 revenue rose 62% year-on-year and 58% year-on-year to £179.9m ($244.1m) in 2019, with the Revolve brand accounting for the bulk of the revenue at 83.7%. At the end of 2021, several investment houses raised their targets for Revolve shares, such as BMO Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley, and Raymond James.

We recommend buying at £44.5 ($60.6) and selling at £47.9 ($65), which should take 6 months and see a growth potential of 7.3%.

Card Payment

Card Payments Vital for Side-Hustlers

Card Payment

YouLend research highlights the importance of remote and cashless payments for entrepreneurs running a business alongside their day job – for sales and accessing finance

The side-hustle phenomenon has taken off in the last two years, with recent data highlighted by embedded finance provider YouLend suggesting more than half of Brits with side jobs started their enterprise during the pandemic.  Responding to a risk of lost income during the pandemic is likely to have been a motivator for many of these ‘side-hustlers’. The rise of easy access to online sales platforms as well as the greater acceptance of card payments have also contributed to the growth of the ‘second job’ culture and YouLend research highlights the importance of remote and cashless payments to this side-hustle economy.

The new YouLend data found that 16% of all businesses are now side-hustles, and business owners with a separate main day job place more importance on online and cashless trade than other entrepreneurs.  Most entrepreneurs accept remote payments, although side-hustlers are more likely to do so – 86% of side hustlers accept payments online, over the phone or via email/SMS, compared with 71% of all respondents to the YouLend research.

Other key findings:

  • Online sales are vital to both types of entrepreneurs – 61% of side-hustlers and 68% of all respondents
  • Almost half of side-hustlers sell from home (44%), compared to less than a third (32%) of the average entrepreneur
  • 86% of side-hustlers accept remote payments, compared to 71% of all businesses
  • 70% of side-hustlers said card was their preferred method of payment compared to half of all businesses surveyed

The cash flow advantages of card acceptance are also more keenly felt by side-hustlers; 82% said card acceptance has a positive impact on their cash flow, compared to 42% of all respondents.  Selling online and accepting card payments also has advantages for side-hustlers when it comes to accessing finance for business growth.

YouLend research conducted in 2021 highlighted the shift in how SMEs that trade online are accessing the funding they need, and a shift that is particularly relevant for side-hustlers. Central to this transformation is the change in who businesses see as their key partners.  Taking over from banks, payment service providers and website/webshop providers are ranked as the most important business partners by SMEs. In this role, they are well-placed to provide access to finance as part of a merchant’s normal transaction flows.

“Payment service providers and website/webshop providers are well-placed to offer an embedded finance solution at the point where merchants need financing” explained Mikkel Velin, CEO of YouLend. “They understand their merchants well. And they can deliver a seamless experience because they have robust, real-time data on merchants’ trading activity which can be used by an embedded finance platform like YouLend to make tailored finance offers in minutes rather than days or weeks. The precise risk calculations and automation mean capital can be extended to a wide range of merchants, including side-hustlers, in minutes.  And, crucially, the financing is repaid directly from their sales, thereby helping them manage cashflow effectively.”

Business Investment

Investing in Small Companies: The Top 4 Small-cap Stocks to Watch in 2022

Business Investment

Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Research at Freedom Finance Europe, explores the growing popularity of small-cap stocks and the top stocks to watch in 2022

Investing in small companies can be a good decision. Despite their size, certain organisations will punch above their weight and generate substantial returns.

However, investors looking to capitalise on small-cap stocks should be aware that this type of investment often comes with risk. For example, smaller companies tend to trade less frequently than bigger corporations, meaning shares can be difficult to sell.

With this in mind, Maxim delves deeper into the rising popularity of small-cap stocks and why traders should do their research before choosing to invest. He also sheds light on some of the leading small-cap stocks that are likely to gain traction this year.


What are small-cap stocks?

Small-cap stocks are shares of a company with a total market value between £300m and £2bn. Like larger market players, investing in a smaller organisation can have substantial growth prospects. However, they tend to offer returns in the long term, as right now they lack the resources of larger-cap companies.

This can make them more vulnerable to bearish sentiment amongst investors, as well as negative developments. These vulnerabilities, in turn, can increase the volatility of a small-cap business. Investments in such companies are particularly risky during an economic downturn, as issuers are unprepared for sharply falling market demand.

It is therefore imperative for any investor looking to buy shares in a smaller organisation to do their research and diversify their investments wisely. Small-cap stocks are definitely something to consider, but they should not make up your entire portfolio.


The top 4 small-cap stocks to watch

1. PDC Energy (PDCE) is an independent oil and gas producer that is developing the Wattenberg field (Colorado) and the Delaware Basin (Texas). In 2021, crude oil prices posted their biggest annual gain since 2009 and the sector continues to recover in 2022. S&P Global Market Intelligence said PDC Energy received a strong buy consensus recommendation from 15 Wall Street analysts.

The average target price for PDC Energy stock is £60.7 (about 41% up). Market participants are positive about the asset base of this small-cap company, as well as its ability to generate FCF well above its weighting.

2. Tenable Holdings (TENB) develops software for the new cybersecurity category, Cyber Exposure. Tenable is changing the way we think about data protection by providing customers with information about the surface of a possible attack. In doing so, vulnerabilities extend not only to the servers and infrastructure of a typical corporate network, but also to assets such as cloud infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and operating technology (OT), including industrial control systems.

A holistic approach to cybersecurity will help the company’s customers make effective strategic decisions in this area, as well as prevent and remediate threats. Tenable Holdings has an average target price of £58.8 (about 57% upside).

3. Coinbase (COIN) is a cryptocurrency exchange that is more of a mid-cap company. It makes sense to bet on it in the long term due to the fact that blockchain technology deserves approval. In the short term, however, Coinbase Global stock is one such asset that is currently ‘suffering’, despite the fact that it is the largest digital asset platform in North America.

 An investment in Coinbase can serve as a kind of diversification investment in the digital economy. In other words, if digital assets remain, COIN stock is a reasonable passive bet on the cryptocurrency market as a whole. The average target price for Coinbase stock is £294 (about 93% up).

4. DigitalOcean (DOCN) is a US-based open source cloud infrastructure provider. The company shows steady earnings growth: for the first three quarters of 2021, DigitalOcean’s revenues almost equalled those for 2020. Plus, DOCN’s operating cash flow is growing rapidly, while its losses are decreasing at a substantial rate.

DigitalOcean now has a global network of 8 data centres located in major data centres, including Frankfurt, Bangalore, New York and San Francisco. The provider is positioned to be easy to use, unlike competitors such as Amazon Web Services from Amazon. The average target price for DigitalOcean shares is £92.4 (about 107% up).

Alternative Investment
ArticlesFinanceStock Markets

6 Alternative Investments to Consider in 2022

Alternative Investment

The investment marketplace is broader now than ever before. Everyday investors aren’t limited to the traditional array of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Alternative investments once reserved for the very wealthy are finally accessible to smaller retail investors. And the landscape changes every day.

Which alternative investment strategies are most likely to pop in the coming year? In this article, Yieldstreet takes a look at six of the most promising investment possibilities outside the conventional marketplace. Some are proven sources that continue to pay off year after year. Others are burgeoning industries and practices that may emerge as mainstream investments themselves. 


1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is arguably the highest-profile alternative investment of the last decade. In 2021, the mania only got louder. Early investors in cryptocurrency enjoyed some great returns last year. Digital currency exchange Coinbase went public in April, a sign of the growing legitimacy of crypto. Bitcoin and Dogecoin hit their highest market caps yet.

But is it too late to hop aboard the cryptocurrency train? We don’t think so. While cryptocurrency is still a volatile commodity, its growing acceptance in traditional marketplaces is a sign that it’s inching toward the mainstream. Still, there’s ample room for cryptocurrency to grow.

You can’t be blamed for hedging your crypto bets until the market relaxes. And you should still be judicious with your investments, especially in “flavor-of-the-week” coins. But if you’ve been on the fence about cryptocurrency, this might be the year to take the plunge. 


2. Peer-to-Peer Lending

P2P lending is growing as a viable alternative investment. The concept is simple: investors lend money directly to borrowers without a financial intermediary like a bank. Lenders set their interest rates in line with their risk assessment. It’s a choice for those who need money quickly or have spotty credit records.

There’s an elevated risk in P2P lending. The lender has to factor in the chance that the borrower will default on their payments. But the P2P lending marketplace is accelerating. Some analysts expect it to reach a value of nearly $560 billion in the next five years, with an annual growth rate nearing 30%. Discerning investors may want to take a closer look into P2P lending this year. 


3. Fine Art

Fine art is traditionally viewed only as a potential investment for the very wealthy. But that belief is changing. Thanks to the openness of the digital marketplace, retail and smaller investors now buy artwork as long-term investments in more significant numbers than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many traditional galleries to shift their marketplaces online. As a result, the art market unexpectedly grew by 15.1%, according to Motley Fool. Wealth managers embrace the trend and are increasingly recommending investing in fine art to their clients. 


4. Real Estate Investment Trusts

Private REITs let you invest in real estate that generates revenue without you having to do any of the grunt work—management, rent collection, upkeep, and so forth. After taking a hit at the beginning of the pandemic, REITs are starting to gain ground again.

Although the post-pandemic future is still a bit cloudy, investment experts expect an economic rebound. This includes some workers coming back to the physical workplaces after a couple of years of working from home, which bodes well for the prosperity of REITs, at least in terms of generating passive income. 


5. Cannabis

Cannabis continues to edge toward the mainstream. The recreational drug is rapidly shedding its stigma as many US states decriminalize marijuana use and possession. The cannabis marketplace is still volatile, as many stocks experienced a rollercoaster ride in 2021.

But the train has left the station. Cannabis industry data provider Headset expects the market to hit $45.8 billion in value by 2025. While the industry may spend the first half of 2022 shaking off last year’s unpredictability, cannabis investors may find the climate more palatable in the second half. 


6. Precious Metals

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are still considered to be safe bets in times of economic upheaval. In that sense, they’re not entirely “alternative” investments, but they still exist outside the mainstream marketplace. Especially as part of a self-directed IRA, precious metals still hold long-term value.

Investors who don’t like the relative illiquidity of precious metals can still take advantage of their value appreciation with exchange-traded funds (commonly known as ETFs). Gold, silver, and platinum ETFs are bought and sold on the exchange just like traditional stocks. They’re easy to buy into and just as easy to get out of.


‘Should you pay for your car in cash (rather than financing it)?’

If you have the option to either buy a car with cash or purchase it via financing, you will want to know which option is best.

Check out the following helpful information so you can determine which is the right choice for you.

Buying a Car with Cash

Unlike financing a car, buying a car with cash enables you to own the car outright from the moment you pay. There is no outstanding amount left to pay off.

Also, because you will not be making monthly payments to finance the vehicle, you will not be paying any interest. So, buying a car with cash can work out much cheaper in the long run compared to financing a car.

Furthermore, purchasing an automobile with cash means you do not have to worry about needing a credit check. There is no mileage limit to be wary of either. And when it comes time to buy another new car, you can use your car in part-exchange and get your new vehicle for cheaper. You also do not need to ask permission to modify your car.

With no interest rates, contracts, or restrictions on how you drive, paying for a car in cash is often the best option.

The only real drawbacks of buying a car with cash are it can take time to save money and you will not be able to find as many discounts on new cars in comparison to financing options.

Buying a Car Via Financing

Cash might be the best option, but actually, paying for a new car in cash is unattainable for most people because they simply do not have large sums of cash available to make one-off purchases.

However, the good news is, if you decide to finance your car, you can easily find the best car loans when you use an excellent comparison site.

Whether you should pay for your car in cash or finance it can simply come down to your financial position.

The best thing about financing a car is you get to drive a brand-new vehicle even when you are on a tight budget.

On the other hand, if you save up to purchase the car you want, it can take a very long time to get the cash together. By financing your car, you get to spread the cost over several months, making it much more affordable than a lump-sum payment.

You could also get a better deal compared to paying with cash because there are more discounts and deals available for cars you buy via financing. However, you will have to pay interest, which can end up costing you more in the long term; although it is possible to find deals with 0% interest sometimes.

With the financing option, you could also face mileage restrictions ad potential payments for damage and excessive wear.

At the end of your financing agreement, you can usually either become the owner of the vehicle or use any positive equity to pay for another car with a new financing contract.

Typically, financing contracts for buying new cars last between twenty-four and sixty months.

Summing Up

Whether you should pay for a new car with cash or finance it largely comes down to your personal situation.

If you do not have enough cash in your savings account , financing your car is the best option.

On the other hand, if you have the option to either purchase in cash or finance, you should carefully weigh up the pros and cons to find the right solution for you.

Real Estate Money
ArticlesFundsReal Estate

Tips for Making Money in Real Estate

Real Estate Money

If you’ve dreamed of making money in the world of real estate, now is the time to learn about the process. With the right preparation, you can reduce the chances of inflation while growing your wealth. There are plenty of ways to use the market to your advantage.


Consider Real Estate Crowdfunding

You might have heard of crowdfunding as a way to help someone who needs money for something, but it can also work in real estate. Many investors will put their money together to invest in a property. You will earn a specific amount of income from that space. One of the benefits of crowdfunding is that you don’t have the responsibility of owning it yourself. Buying shares of properties allows you to earn rental income and appreciation. You can browse homes, choose a property, buy your shares, and start bringing in extra funds going forward.


Consider a Turn-Key Property

In some cases, an investor will want to sell their investment prematurely. They might need the funds for something else or simply no longer want to be a landlord. The home may still have tenants in it when they sell it, and it is called a turn-key property. One of the benefits of acquiring this type of real estate is that the home will start to bring in income immediately. You also do not need to spend time getting it ready for tenants. Plus, you will not need to worry about how to pay for the home’s expenses if there are not tenants in it. Of course, a transfer of ownership can leave tenants wondering what the new landlord will be like, so try to make this as smooth for your new tenants as possible.


Taking Advantage of Appreciating Value

Over time, much real estate starts to appreciate. This is the opposite of depreciation, as homes begin to increase in value. Many times, you don’t have to do anything to see this gain in value. It increases equity, or the difference between your mortgage and the property’s value. There are a few ways that homes can gain this value. For example, renovating the home can improve the value. Improvements to the bathroom, kitchen, or outside make it more desirable. And adding more energy-efficient appliances or windows can also boost the value. By continually making improvements, you can start boosting the value to earn a bit more income. On the other hand, as the area becomes more desirable to live in, the home’s value will go up automatically.


Renting Out Real Estate

When you are a real estate investor, you have many options for renting out homes. This involves allowing tenants to use the space in exchange for a fee paid on a regular basis. These tenants may not be able to or wish to purchase their own space. There are multiple ways of using this method to build wealth throughout your life. One of the more common rental types is long-term properties, where the tenants will make the space their home. Typically, landlords of residential properties have yearly leases. At the end of the term, you can offer a renewal if you wish. The tenant can choose to either renew this lease or move out.

As rent is typically paid on a monthly basis, this is a great method for building wealth. That’s because many other kinds of investments do not pay a cashflow on a monthly basis. The rent should cover the property taxes, any mortgage payments, maintenance costs, insurance, and any other costs. The amount after all expenses is paid is your profit.


Consider a Short-Term Rental

The other option is short-term rentals. This protects you from having to deal with tenants year-round. You will still own the property, but the lease will be much shorter than a year. Vacationers or travelers can choose to stay in the home for a length of their choosing. This could be overnight, a few days, or a few weeks. This is a good option if you have a second home you only want to use every now and then. Of course, part of managing your rental property in this fashion means you will need to be around to clean the home after each renter, and if there is a problem, you will need to have a plan for how to deal with it if you are not around.

Online Banking

Growth of Digital-only Banking Customers Stalls for the First Time

Online Banking

The number of people saying they have an account with a digital-only bank has stalled for the first time in 4 years, new research from personal finance comparison site shows.

Around a quarter of the population (27%), equivalent to 13.9 million people, say they currently have an account with a digital-only bank, which is the same figure as last year. This is the first time during 4 years of tracking digital banking adoption in the UK that Finder’s poll has shown the figure flatlining.

But growth appears to have been slowing for a while, with the number of digital-only banking users rising from 9% in 2019 to 23% in 2020 before a more modest rise last year, when it rose to 27%.


The reasons behind traditional banks’ fightback

3 in 10 (31%) respondents said they have absolutely no intention of opening a digital-only bank account in the future and gave reasons why.

The top factor was that over half (55%) of these people feel like they have always been treated well by their current bank. Similarly, around 1 in 6 (16%) also said their traditional bank had been helpful during the COVID pandemic.

As the world begins to return to normal, the second most common reason was that customers prefer having the option of face-to-face communication with their bank (35%).

A worrying finding for the digital-only banks is that a quarter (25%) of those not intending to switch cited a lack of trust in new banks as the reason.


Growth still on the horizon for digital-only banks though

Despite the slowdown in new recruits, digital-only banks can still look forward to welcoming 18% of the population over the next 5 years, according to the research. This includes 1 in 10 (10%) UK citizens who plan to open an account within the next 12 months.

If everyone followed through with their intentions, 44% of the population would have a digital-only bank account by 2027, equalling a whopping 23.2 million people.

For the fourth year running, the top reason for those who have gone, or intend to go digital-only with their banking is convenience (27%). Linked to this, 1 in 4 (24%) wanted a new account and thought doing so with a digital bank was the easiest option.

1 in 5 (21%) said they want to transfer money more easily, and 18% thought the apps of digital-only banks are better.

A lack of trust isn’t just a factor for those who prefer traditional banks – 1 in 10 ( 11%) customers, or potential customers, of digital-only banking say they don’t trust traditional banks.


Young generations continue to be the biggest market for digital-only banks

Digital banks are still most popular with younger generations, with 41% of Gen Z saying they have a digital bank account and a further third (34%) intending to get one within the next 5 years. This would mean that by 2027, three-quarters of gen Z (75%) could have a digital bank account. The silent generation (born between 1928 and 1948) remains the generation that is least keen on digital-only banks. Just 7% said they have an account currently.

Commenting on the findings, Michelle Stevens, banking specialist at the personal finance comparison site, said: 

This is the first year that our research hasn’t seen growth in the number of people using digital-only banks and it’s clear that traditional banks are adapting to an increasingly digital landscape. This seems to have played a significant role in the dropoff of new customers for digital-only banks as their first-mover advantage in the app space gets diminished. 

Traditional banks such as Halifax have also seen net gains after improving their digital products and offering switching incentives – including to existing customers – something that digital-only banks haven’t done yet. Halifax has just won Finder’s Banking Customer Satisfaction Awards for 2022, with some customers in our survey praising its app.

It isn’t all about digital though as there’s also a significant number of Brits who value having a physical branch to visit and trust traditional banks more. While the digital-only banks may not be able to compete with having a presence on the ground, they will be concerned at the lack of trust some customers appear to have in them.


12 Essential Conversational Skills for Business

The ability to speak clearly and confidently is crucial to success in business. If you want to get ahead, you need to develop these skills.
You don’t need to be a natural speaker to succeed in business. Some of the greatest leaders in history didn’t necessarily excel at public speaking. They had other talents that helped them rise above their peers.
For example, if your clients speak another language you may like to improve your language knowledge and communication skills for smooth flow of work. Start by reviewing these strategies for mastering spoken communication if you wish to improve your communication skills.
1. Spoken communication
People struggle to get things done because they keep quiet about what they think and feel. We often don’t share our ideas out loud because we worry about not being heard or aren’t comfortable sharing our opinions.
But if you want others to listen to your point of view, you have to say it. It makes no difference if you\’re talking about work or school. As long as you can express yourself well enough so that people understand your message, there should be no problem.
In your oral communication ensure that you use terms that your clients and workmates understand. If it’s an American audience, you need to note their favourite accents and master them. Oral communication needs to be clear and precise.
2. Active listening
When you ask someone questions, give them time to answer. When you’re giving instructions or explaining something, let them know when to follow up later. This will make them feel like you’re interested in their input.
And when they see you’re responding to them in real-time, they’ll be much more likely to open up and share their thoughts with you.
3. Body language
People often pick up on nonverbal signals from those around them. For example, you could use facial expressions or gestures to indicate what kind of reaction you expect to hear back. You may also hold a certain body posture to emphasize points you want to make.
4. Speech patterns
Think about how you would sound if all the words stopped coming out of your mouth. Is your voice too high-pitched? Do you stutter or stammer? If so, what type of speech pattern is causing this? Are you using proper grammar, spelling, and diction?
5. Vocal quality
Does your voice carry weight? Is your tone clear? Does it come across with confidence? What makes one person sound authoritative and another sound timid? The answers won’t lie within the physical structure of your vocal cords. Instead, it’s going to take practice and consistency to master your voice.
6. Eye contact
It might not seem easy to maintain eye contact while speaking to someone who isn’t sitting next to you. Studies show that lack of eye contact when speaking to people speaks a lot about you. And since many people avoid direct eye contact, it often leaves us feeling frustrated and uncomfortable.
6. Pacing
How long does it take for you to talk? Most people speak very quickly. People who pace themselves and control their speed tend to command greater respect than those who blurt things out in the heat of the moment.
While you may find yourself rushing through an important presentation, try slowing down to control the flow of information.
7. Repetition
Even though you might have planned what you wanted to say beforehand, your words still need to be delivered at the right pitch, volume, and rhythm. Keep repeating phrases until you find the right balance.
8. Clarity
The clearest communicator usually wins. You\’ll make mistakes over and over until you remember to explain what you said, no matter how good your memory is. Ask yourself these two questions: “Am I making sense? Am I saying what I mean?”
9. Punctuation
Whether you’re discussing an issue with colleagues or speaking to customers over the phone, you need to put periods where they belong. Some writers believe you shouldn’t end sentences with prepositions, but this varies depending on context.
10. Voice inflection
If you’re trying to convince someone of anything, you have to demonstrate emotion. Speak louder or softer depending on what you want to convey. Sighing, frowning, and smiling are just a few examples of ways to change the way you deliver your message.

11 Timing
You only have seconds to make an impact before your listener loses interest and moves away from you. To avoid sounding awkward or monotone, you must pay careful attention to timing and punctuation. Make sure each word carries its full meaning and leaves the listener wanting more.
12. Consequence
There’s an adage that says, “If you tell a joke and don’t laugh, then you’ve told a story. If you tell a story and don’t care about the consequences, then you haven’t really shared anything.”
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you become a better communicator. If you start paying attention to these areas, you\’ll see how much more efficient you can be when conversing with friends, co-workers, and loved ones.
Winding it up
These simple tips can add up to huge results! Use them when communicating with people at your workplace or business premises. It could be your boss, clients, or workmates.

Rainy day fund

It’s Time You Had a Rainy Day Fund. Here’s How to Start One

Rainy day fund

When it comes to our finances, we know all about budgeting for our monthly outgoings. Your rent or mortgage, electricity, gas, council tax, and any other bills you might have are regularly occurring and straightforward to budget for.


What about the unexpected?

We know that sometimes things go wrong, but what if we haven’t budgeted for them? A 2021 study revealed that 19% of us have savings of less than £100, while the number of people who aren’t actively saving has risen from 12% to 21% since 2019.


Why do I need a rainy day fund?

If you drive and you’ve experienced an unexpected fault, such as a tyre puncture or faulty brake pads, you’ll know that the costs can add up quickly. Unexpected expenses can crop up from many areas of our lives, so it makes sense to account for them.

A rainy day fund is smaller than an emergency fund, which is recommended for longer-term financial issues such as a job loss and should consist of three to six months of living expenses. That doesn’t mean that you can’t build up a healthy pot of cash for unexpected costs though – we recommend putting towards your rainy day fund every month.


How much money should I have in my rainy day fund?

A rainy day fund is a safety net in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as a lost or broken phone, tyre punctures on your car, or an emergency boiler repair. How much you save may depend on your personal circumstances – if you drive, it’s sensible to account for the costs of a car breakdown as well as these other common problems. If you don’t drive, you might not need to put as much away.

Having an understanding of the rough cost of these surprise incidents will give you an idea of how much to put away. Making a list of the most likely problems and working out how much they’d cost if they happened is recommended.

For example, gas boiler repairs cost between £150 and £400 on average, so putting away a minimum of £150 will help you cover that cost. If you break your phone screen and you don’t have insurance, you could be looking at a bill of up to £316.44 for the latest iPhone models.


How can I start up my rainy day fund?

Now that you understand the importance of a rainy day fund, let’s look at how you can put one together. Many people find the idea of starting to save overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a lot of money left at the end of the month after your expenses.

If you already have a structured budget and you’re aware of your monthly outgoings, you’ll know how much disposable income is left at the end of the month. This is a good place to start – so if you have £300 a month left over, you might want to put half of that into your rainy day fund, or even £100 a month.

By working out how much you can afford each month, you’ll be able to work out how long it will take to reach your rainy day fund goal. If you’ve worked out that you’d need £1,000 to cover a broken boiler, a smashed phone screen, and car faults, and you put £100 away each month, you’ll hit that target in 10 months. But once you’ve reached that goal, you don’t have to stop contributing – if you can afford to, keep adding to your rainy day fund! You might even be able to finance something that you want, like a new car or a holiday, rather than only accounting for the unexpected.


What if I can’t afford to contribute that much?

For many of us, £100 a month isn’t realistic. In fact, even £25 a month might feel like too much, and that’s okay. There are solutions available to people who find it difficult to put lump sums away, such as apps that round up your spending to the nearest pound, putting that extra money into a savings fund.

Reviewing your current bills to see if there are any savings you can make is also a good idea – especially if there’s no wiggle room in your budget at all. By using price comparison sites, you could get cheaper bills on your gas, electricity, phone, broadband, and more.

It’s unlikely that you’ll have the best deal for all of your monthly outgoings, so this could save you a decent amount of money that you could then put into savings. Searching for better deals on your energy supplies alone could save you up to £350 a year. That’s a lot of money you could be putting into your rainy day fund.


Life contains a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and many of them come in the form of important but unforeseen expenses. There’s an adage that these things always happen at the worst time, and if you don’t have a rainy day fund, they could hit your finances hard. The amount of money in your rainy day fund will depend on your personal circumstances, but if you don’t already have one, now is the time to start saving.

2021 Global Insurance and Risk Management Awards Logo Long
Press releases

Wealth & Finance is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2021 Global Insurance and Risk Management Awards

2021 Global Insurance and Risk Management Awards Logo Long

United Kingdom, 2022- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2021 Global Insurance and Risk Management Awards.

In its inaugural year, the Global Insurance and Risk Management Awards looks to reward the continued efforts of life and non-life insurance companies, individuals, industry experts, and the hard-working professionals who support them!

With the previous 18 months providing new challenges and disruption in the sector, standout businesses have met these challenges with innovation, integrity, and continued dedication. Through adapting this vital industry has been allowed to grow allowing Wealth & Finance International to showcase those businesses who we feel truly deserve recognition.  

On the success of the winners, our Awards Coordinator Emma Pridmore has stated: “These awards focus on a vital sector and the winners truly deserve recognition for all the hard work and effort they have put in through difficult times. Congratulations and best of luck to you all in 2022!”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website ( where you can access the winners supplement.


Note to editors. 

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media ( has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International ( , distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

World Banking

Brand Value of World’s Largest Banks Grows for First Time in Three Years

World Banking
  • HSBC remains UK’s and Europe’s most valuable banking brand at US$18.0 billion.
  • World’s top 500 banking brands turn tide on brand value contraction for first time in three years, going up by 9% to all-time high of US$1.38 trillion
  • Worth over US$450 billion, Chinese banks make up one third of total brand value in Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking; ICBC retains title of world’s most valuable brand
  • US banks account for 5 of top 10, with Bank of America nation’s most valuable
  • 30 new entrants this year, with Cadence Bank fastest-growing, up 181%
  • Ambitious climbers in smaller markets including Vietnam’s MBBank and Poland’s mBank both doubling in brand value
  • Indonesia’s BCA reclaims title of world’s strongest banking brand, scoring 94/100 and elite AAA+ rating, followed closely by South Africa’s Capitec and Russia’s Sber

The world’s top 500 banking brands have turned the tide on brand value contraction for the first time in three years, observing a 9% year-on-year brand value growth to reach an all-time high of US$1.38 trillion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance published in The Banker magazine today.

Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 500 most valuable and strongest banking brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Banking 500 ranking.

The brand value of the world’s largest banks shrunk by 2% by the beginning of 2020 (US$1.33 trillion) and a further 4% by 2021 (US$1.27 trillion). Initially caused by economic uncertainty and interest rate movements, the situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, which saw profit and interest rates take a hit.

However, as nations continued to adapt to COVID-19 and economies rebounded over the last year, loan loss provisions were much less significant than initially forecasted by industry experts. Furthermore, improved digitalisation by banking brands, coupled with a strong government intervention and economic recovery around the world resulted in a higher than expected industry profitability in 2021.

While this year’s overall brand value growth is undoubtedly a positive sign for the industry, it signifies a meagre 2% increase from US$1.36 trillion, which was the combined pre-pandemic brand value of the world’s top 500 banking brands in 2019. Particularly in Europe, banks are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, where weak profits are not helped by cost inefficiency and insufficient investments in digital technology.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“As banks continue to battle the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a solid brand is more significant than ever. Banking products are becoming more commoditised, and banks will need to continue differentiating themselves from other competitors in the market, through the use of their brand, particularly in the face of an emerging threat from challenger brands and decentralised finance in the future.”

“Many of the world’s largest banking brands have come through the worst of the pandemic stronger – a testament to the role they have played in supporting the real economy through the past 12 months,” said Joy Macknight, editor of The Banker. “Banks’ digital transformation efforts over recent years meant they were able to respond faster to client needs, as well as deliver new products and services, which has boosted banks’ reputations in the eyes of their retail and corporate customers.” 


Chinese banks dominate ranking 

Chinese banks maintain the lead in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, accounting for one third of total brand value and worth a cumulative US$454.4 billion. While their global counterparts saw drops in brand value over the past two years, Chinese banks remained largely impervious to these issues. A significant factor to this success was not only the nation’s timely response to the virus, but also the early and continued investment into digital development, allowing Chinese banks to continue engaging with their customers with relatively little disruption. Over the past year, China’s economy has continued to recover steadily despite a complex and ever-changing domestic and international environment. In the first half of 2021 alone, the nation’s  GDP increased by 13% year-on-year.

The world’s largest bank by total assets, ICBC’s brand value has increased by 3% to US$75.1 billion, making it the world’s most valuable banking brand again as well as the 8th most valuable brand across all industries in the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking. Over the past year, ICBC has continued to fare well with consumers and expand its portfolio, opening branches in foreign markets such as Mexico, Argentina, and most recently Panama. ICBC continues to outshine its competitors, holding a healthy brand value lead ahead of China Construction Bank (up 10% to US$65.5 billion) and Agricultural Bank of China (up 17% to US$62.0 billion), which rank 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Declan Ahern, Valuation Director at Brand Finance, commented:

“Chinese banks have performed extraordinarily well this year, with no signs of growth slowing down for years to come. This was undoubtedly aided by the country’s timely response to the pandemic, which reduced the level of economic disruption observed by its counterparts in Europe and the United States.”


US banks account for 5 spots in top 10

US banks account for almost a quarter of the total brand value in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, worth a cumulative brand value of US$313.7 billion. Of these 76 brands, Bank of America (up 12% to US$36.7 billion), Citi (up 7% to US$34.4 billion), Chase (up 5% to US$30.1 billion), Wells Fargo (down 6% to US$30.1 billion), and JP Morgan (up 23% to US$28.9 billion) have held on to their spots in the top 10 of the world’s most valuable. 

Dropping 1 spot in the ranking to 8th position, Wells Fargo is the only bank in the top 10 with a contracting brand value. Wells Fargo continues to be undermined by the account fraud scandal, where it emerged that the bank had forged millions of savings and checking accounts on behalf of its clients without their consent. The scandal continued to bring about financial and legal consequences in 2021.


Regional leaders

Looking beyond East Asia and North America, HSBC (12th, up 6% to US$18.0 billion) is the most valuable banking brand in Europe, Singapore’s DBS (39th, up 11% to US$8.7 billion) leads the way in Southeast Asia, State Bank of India is number #1 in South Asia (43rd, up 29% to US$7.5 billion), and Itaú (51st, up 30% to US$6.6 billion) dominates in Latin America.

The largest financial institution in the Middle East and Africa, QNB has consolidated its position as the most valuable banking brand in the region, observing a healthy brand value growth of 16% to reach US$7.1 billion. QNB also rose three spots to 45th place overall, now firmly situated amongst the 50 most valuable banking brands in the world.


New entrants

30 newcomers have joined the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking this year, with new entrants such as Greece’s Piraeus Bank (brand value US$176 million), Israel’s Mercantile Discount Bank (brand value US$188 million), and Kenyan Equity Group (brand value US$388 million) hailing from smaller and emerging markets.

Of these new entrants, Saudi Arabia’s SNB (brand value US$3.2 billion) is situated firmly in the top 100, in 94th position, making it the highest-ranked new entrant. A significant rise in profits as well as emphasis on its sustainability initiatives have helped nudge SNB onto the world stage, with the brand recently announcing its plans to create a platform focusing on long-term investments in sustainable economic activities.

With an eyewatering brand value increase of 181%, Cadence Bank has re-entered the ranking as the fastest-growing brand of 2022, reaching a brand value of US$403 million. The US-based bank has recently entered into a merger agreement with BancorpSouth Bank, which held a brand value of US$266 million in the 2021 iteration of the Brand Finance Banking 500 ranking. As part of the agreement BancorpSouth has rebranded to Cadence Bank. The merger aims to provide more customer and relationship-focused financial services to Cadence Bank’s extensive customer base across the southern US.


Ambitious climbers in smaller markets

Looking at country level, with an overall brand value growth of 49%, Vietnam’s banking sector is one of the fastest growing in the world. All Vietnamese brands in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking have experienced growth or add to the country’s total as new entrants. It has been a very fruitful year for Vietnamese banks, which have observed continuous growth in their balance sheets and income statements, with both deposits and loans issued growing. This has been bolstered by the nation’s recovery from the pandemic, which was well-managed by the government, resulting in strong economic growth.

Among these brands, MBBank is also one of the fastest-growing in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, up by a staggering 113% to US$642 million. The brand has continued to innovate, particularly in the digital space by partnering with leading tech company, Software AG, to provide high speed online services for its customers. Similarly, Techcombank (up 80% to US$945 million) has invested heavily in cloud infrastructure as part of its strategy to nurture long-term relationships with clients. In addition, the strong growth in the Vietnamese banking sector has brought two new entrants to the top 500 this year, namely HD Bank (up 53% to US$248 million) and Saigon Hanoi Bank (up 63% to US$211 million).

The story is similar for the Polish banks in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, which have seen an overall brand value gain of 40% year on year. PKO Bank Polski (up 22% to US$2.2 billion) remains most valuable, followed by Bank Pekao (up 31% to US$1.2 billion), mBank (up 105% to US$999 million), Millennium (up 55% to US$487 million), and Alior Bank (up 53% to US$351 million).

Of these banks, mBank has recorded the best performance – doubling in brand value over the past year and placing among the top 5 fastest-growing banking brands in the world. The rapid gain is a result of the brand’s fantastic scores in Brand Finance’s original market research conducted among customers of Polish banks. As the nation’s first internet bank, mBank has paved the way for Poland’s banking industry through investments in the digital space, allowing it to serve customers in a more accessible and efficient way.


BCA as sector’s strongest

Apart from calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Certified by ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 100,000 respondents in more than 35 countries and across nearly 30 sectors.

According to these criteria, Indonesia’s BCA is the strongest bank in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, following a +2.5 point increase to reach a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94.0 out of 100 and an elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

As one of the biggest banks in the ASEAN region and Indonesia’s largest lender by market value, BCA has performed strongly across key metrics, particularly those pertaining to customer satisfaction. In Brand Finance’s original market research, BCA outperformed its peers for reputation and quality, and scored highly for value for money.

Over the last year, the brand has undoubtedly been bolstered by significant investments in its digital banking arm, as the quality of digital platforms remains an important factor in customer perceptions of banking brands. BCA shows no signs of slowing down in the coming year, recently outlining its plans to list BCA Digital on the Indonesia Stock Exchange.

Declan Ahern, Valuation Director at Brand Finance, commented:

“BCA’s performance is an excellent example of the importance of customer relationships in building brand loyalty and reputation. The brand has consistently scored favourably across brand strength metrics for the last few years, now reclaiming its spot as the strongest banking brand in the world.”

South Africa’s Capitec Bank has claimed the spot of the second strongest brand in the Brand Finance Banking 500 2022 ranking, boasting a BSI score of 92.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ brand strength rating. Despite having only been around for 22 years, Capitec Bank has already overtaken many of South Africa’s traditional banks, becoming the second largest bank by market cap. The brand continues to position itself as the nation’s leading retail franchise, delivering a low-cost alternative to traditional banks, and has already built a strong, loyal customer base. This helped boost Capitec Bank’s rank as 6th in the world for familiarity, 3rd for its quality of services, and it was noted as the 5th easiest bank to deal with. As the brand continues to uphold a customer-centric business model focused on providing low costs and high interest rates on deposits, it remains poised for further success.   

Russia’s Sber rounds of the top 3 strongest banking brands with a BSI score of 92.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA+ brand strength rating. In addition, Sber has been named the strongest brand in Europe across all industries, having overtaken Ferrari in the brand strength classification of the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.

The Russian banking and technology giant has recently launched new digital investor services such as portfolio selection and investment consulting on its mobile application. At the same time, Sber is continuing to develop a digital ecosystem for its variety of services that go beyond banking, now ranging from e-commerce and logistics, to telehealth and streaming. While relying on an impressive consumer base of more than 100 million, Sber is aiming to diversify further into a new demographic of Gen Z users with a new digital services offering.


Why Risk Management Matters More Than Ever in 2021

Within some sectors, there is the belief that risk management is only something that big corporations and financial institutions ever worry about. This just isn’t the case, and in 2021 risk management in your organisation has never been more important, regardless of whatever sector you’re in.
It’s not a fad, nor is it something that has to break the bank, but it is an area that virtually all companies need to consider on some level.
Proper Risk Management Saves Money, Not Loses It
There’s a perception that risk management is just another area of compliance that will drain money from your company’s already stretched budget. This really isn’t the case at all, especially when you’re part of a sector in which you could potentially face litigation — the vast majority of sectors these days — risks to physical safety of yourself or employees, risks of employee action reflecting badly on the company…the list goes on.
All of these risks have something in common, they are far more expensive to deal with than it would have cost to have some proper risk assessment and auditing done ahead of time in preparation for if and when it happened.
Laws and Regulations are a Potential Minefield
A number of important and landmark acts of parliament in Australia have done much good in protecting people from various harms, but the added risk to businesses who are exposed to legal actions from staff or clients claiming the protection of these rules makes them a potential disaster.
Government statistics from 2018-2019 showed that the Australian Human Rights Commission received almost 14,000 enquiries from people wanting to make complaints on the grounds of disability discrimination, sex discrimination, harassment, bullying and other matters. Discrimination, bullying, harassment can happen just about anywhere and there are very serious laws governing how people can respond to them.
Effective risk management would study all these areas of potential grievance and build effective strategies to minimise that risk. No matter how good things seem at one time, it’s crucial that any business or organisation is prepared for when things take a turn for the worse.
Risk Management is Needed in Just About Every Sector
Even those sectors focused on human contact, spirituality, health and well-being, education and other things for which we hold deep and positive associations cannot escape the need for risk management. Action is required in a world where fears are heightened, people are concerned about many different things, and where the potential penalties can be so damaging both to balance sheets and to company reputations.
Specific Situations are Impossible to Predict, but not the Broader Risk
Risk management doesn’t look at dealing with very specific situations of conflict and risk within a company or organisation. There are infinite things that can happen at different times and to different people. What can be prepared is strategy and safety nets to cover as wide as possible a range of situations. Government offers comprehensive guidelines and advice on why risk management matters.
Trying to prepare for every specific situation is a drain on resources for probably very little reward, but by comparing probabilities and potential impacts, your company can quickly identify areas where you need protection. This allows you to use resources more effectively.
Being Prepared is Good for Business
Whether your operation benefits more from profit or reputation — or a combination of both — risk management is a serious field that warrants your proper and thorough exploration. In 2021 and the age of heightened concern and worry all around, it’s best to be prepared. Proper assessment of risk will ensure your profit margins and reputation are better kept intact.

Late Payment

Why 2022 Will Be a Big Year in the Campaign to End Late Payments

Late Payment

British businesses are facing a late payments crisis, with
£23.4 billion of invoices left unpaid over the last year.


But 2022 could be the year this problem is finally addressed. On 1 April 2022, new rules will require businesses to pay 90% of invoices within 60 days, or risk being excluded from public contracts.


From that data, companies bidding for government contracts must submit details of any payments of interest for late payments over the previous twelve months, as well as an explanation of why the delay in paying an invoice and “an outline of what remedial steps have been taken to ensure this does not occur again”.


A policy note detailing the new rules also contains a recognition of the “importance of prompt, fair and effective payment in all businesses”. The Small Business Commissioner has been surveying companies to understand the extent of the problem. Results of the study will be released later in the year.


There are at least 55.5 million small businesses in the UK, with 75% having no employees except for the owner.

When invoices go unpaid, small companies can face challenges meeting operating costs, servicing debt or paying employees and suppliers.

Late payments are a major problem for small businesses, with tens of thousands collapsing every year because their clients fail to settle invoices on time.


Research from Quickbook shows that the average British business is owed £31,055, with 71% of small business owners losing sleep due to money worries keeping them up at night.


The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that the “£23bn late payment crisis” has deepened during the pandemic, with the majority of small businesses (62%) facing late or frozen payments since the Covid-19 lockdowns began. It found that 50,000 businesses close every year due to late payments, “damaging Britain’s prosperity and threatening jobs”.


Liz Barclay, Small Business Commissioner, said: “Late payments threaten the survival of small businesses, so it is heartening to see the introduction of new procurement rules that assess the speed of bidders’ payments.


“The government has recognised the problems caused by late payments. Now the private sector should do the same by measuring details of the time taken to pay invoices as part of corporate ESG measures.”


The Co-operative Bank is working to develop technological solutions to the late payments crisis. It is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2022 and remains committed to the fair treatment of its business customers today as it did when it was founded in 1872 as part of the wider co-operative wholesale society.


It has championed and pioneered sustainable banking for almost 30 years by supporting local communities, treating customers “fairly and honestly” and paying people a living wage.


As well as becoming carbon neutral and reducing the waste it sends to landfill to zero, it has worked alongside Amnesty International to fight injustice across the world and campaigned with Refuge to challenge economic abuse. The bank has also invested £1.7 million to support cooperative businesses since 2016.


These efforts were recognised by Sustainalytics, which gave The Co-operative Bank the highest ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating of any UK high street bank.


Catherine Douglas, Managing Director, SME, at The Co-operative Bank, said: “The new rules on late payments are very welcome and will help to address this important issue. The statistics around late payments are startling. Yet it is important to look beyond the numbers and look at the human side of this crisis, which is affecting millions of hard-working people across the UK and having serious impacts upon their lives.


“The Co-operative Bank has a strong sense of community and is committed to the values and ethics that are such an important part of our heritage and how we do business. We put our customers’ needs at the heart of everything we do.


“We’re now working very closely with the wider industry to find solutions to this problem. The banking sector needs to come together to support small businesses with tools and strategies which directly address this challenge.


“There is no single way to improve this, because the needs of businesses are very different, so they need a variety of options and services that are appropriate. We appreciate that small businesses are too busy working hard and earning money to perform cumbersome admin tasks, which is why we’re steering them towards technological solutions.”


The Co-operative Bank is already offering innovative ways of helping companies get paid on time and cope with the issues caused by unpredictable income.


The Co-operative Bank is working with the banking technology platform provider BankiFi to develop tech which allows businesses to collect instant, secure and cost-effective payments from their customers.


It has also set out clear, easy-to-follow guidance for businesses on how to chase unpaid invoices, ensure clients make payments on time and lodge complaints through the UK Government’s Prompt Payment Code. The bank is working closely with smaller companies through in-person meetings and video calls to advise them of financial options which can help them cope with delayed invoice payments.


BankiFi’s solution to the problem of late payments is a Request to Pay (RTP) service called Incomeing, which it launched in association with The Co-operative Bank.


It allows businesses to send secure, real-time payment requests using text, email and WhatsApp, as well as QR codes which can allow simple face-to-face transactions. This means a business owner could meet a client in person, who can then pay an invoice simply by scanning the QR code.


The solution is powered by Open Banking technology and ensures funds are transferred into a chosen account immediately, boosting cash flow. Incomeing also generates invoices, streamlines the process of chasing late payments and automates financial admin through deep integration with all major accounting applications.


Mark Hartley, Founder & CEO, said: “We are an SME ourselves, so feel the same pain as other small businesses across the nation. We know exactly what it is like to be up late, worrying about cash and making sure we can pay our suppliers on time.


“The late payments problem isn’t new, but  through technology, government action and the work of ethical institutions like The Co-Operative Bank, I genuinely feel a solution is not just on the horizon – but here today.”