It has recently been reported that Aldermore has taken a 48% stake in the parent company of a group that includes a commercial finance broking outfit called Asset Finance Solutions (UK) Ltd and another called Synergy Commercial Finance Ltd
This is an unwelcome step to the rest of the broking market who may be unwilling to introduce business to a finance company that owns one of their competitors.
The home pages of both Asset Finance Solutions (UK) Ltd and Synergy Commercial Finance’s websites states quite clearly that they are independent commercial finance brokerages not lenders” but ethically how can they state that they are independent when a funder has a significant shareholding in the parent company as well as two directors on the board.
The home page of Asset Finance Solutions states quite proudly on their home page that “Asset Finance Solutions was formed in 2005 and has quickly grown to be one of the UK’s leading independent funding providers” which again is misleading.
Both company websites have either a blog or news section yet neither mentions anything that might cause readers to question exactly how independent they are as any comment concerning their new substantial shareholder is conspicuous by it’s absence. One wonders why the appointment of a new sales director is deemed to be newsworthy but the selling of a significant share stake to a challenger bank is not.
As a specialist factoring broker I have long refused to deal with Aldermore so their stake in a brokerage won’t affect me directly but I wonder how companies that approach either AFS or SCF expecting independent advice will feel if they are introduced to Aldermore without being told that they are significant shareholders.
Aldermore aren’t the first to try to buy market share by acquiring their own broking firm but it didn’t work out too well for the first factoring company that tried it and they quickly gave up the pretence and changed their subsidiary’s name to their own.
Presumably there are going to be a number of genuinely independent commercial finance brokers who will no longer wish to deal with Aldermore as they will be worried that their clients will find their way into the database of Aldermore’s broking arm and in all honesty I can’t blame them.
There was a small media announcement in the press recently that Aldermore would be making redundancies in their Aldermore Invoice Finance division. This is the sort of occasion where anyone with a shred of decency would feel sympathy for our factoring colleagues who may lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
It seems that not all factoring companies have that shred of decency though as it has come to the attention of The Factoring Blog that one particular factoring company is trying to use this occasion to rubbish their competitor for their own ends.
We have been forwarded an email sent out by an individual at Metro Bank Invoice Finance that stated:-
“It’d be worth cascading this out to the sales teams as if they’re currently in competition for deals with Aldermore, it might help us win the business (that and the fact we’re better). Also if we have any clients working their notice who are looking to move to Aldermore, it might help us retain the client.”
Personally I find these tactics quite abhorrent and I’m appalled that any supposedly respectable factoring company would stoop that low. I also find it a great shame that the factoring company in question was Metro Bank SME Finance which was a company that I once held in high regard.
In the old days before Metro Bank got involved the sales team was run by John Wilde who was a man of high principles and I’m sure that he would never have allowed the sales team to use gutter tactics but alas he has gone and the company is now owned and run by bankers and I suppose that we shouldn’t expect old fashioned values from that much devalued of species – bankers.
What is ironic though is that a few unfortunate souls at Aldermore are going to lose their jobs through no fault of their own yet once Metro Bank got their feet under the table at SME Invoice Finance their senior sales team started to leave in droves of their own volition
Keen readers of the factoring blog will have read my “What’s going on at Aldermore” post last week where I was lucky enough to spot a software glitch in LinkedIn and take a screen grab before it disappeared.
It seems that at least one of the three people being “honoured” didn’t see the funny side and complained to Aldermore management and I had a phone call today from the Legal Counsel and Company Secretary of Aldermore Bank PLC who said that if I didn’t remove the blog post they would consult external lawyers with a view to prosecuting me for defamation.
It seems that not only do the staff of Aldermore Invoice Finance have no sense of humour but they also don’t have much of an idea of what constitutes defamation as nothing that I said was defamatory in the slightest. In the interests of harmony I have removed the post but if anyone looking for a factoring company deems a sense of humour to be important I’m sure that you’ll know know where not to look 🙂
It seems that Aldermore have closed their Maidstone office and transferred everything to Twickenham.
Rumours abound that the office is in chaos with staff leaving and payments to clients being missed as everyone is too busy in extended meetings to do them.
Having received two enquiries from Aldermore clients within the space of a week it’s obvious that something is not right there
It was only a few months ago that I was at the Metropole Hotel near Birmingham for the Business Money dinner and last night I was back again, this time for the NACFB annual awards dinner.
There were a few similarities between the two dinners as the food was again naff, Bibby again won the factoring company of the year award and my name was again misspelled. However, unlike in June when the “comedian” had us all groaning the NACFB had spent a little more and Simon Evans had most of us in stitches.
I had to wait until this morning to see who else was there that I might have missed as NACFB in their infinite wisdom had printed the list of attendees in black on a dark blue background and judging by the number of people staring intently at the list I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t read it.
The evening was sponsored by Aldermore who had also been nominated for six of the first seven awards categories and it was somewhat embarrassing when they were overlooked for commercial mortgage provider of the year, lessor of the year, factoring company of the year, buy to let mortgage provider of the year and short term funder of the year but at long last their investment was rewarded when they won the specialist lender of the year category.
I’m intrigued to know what that covers though as it obviously doesn’t include commercial or buy to let mortgages, leasing, factoring or short term funding.
The grand prize draw had tickets to the Olympic rowing finals and signed Mancheter United shirts on offer but Aldermore got their own back with the bulk of the “winners” coming away with Aldermore Goody Bags and fixed smiles.
Once again many thanks to mine hosts for an entertaining evening.