It’s silly season otherwise known as annual awards time

Silly season is back again with annual awards being dished out to all and sundry. It seems that the same small handful of companies share the awards around each year with the exception of the NACFB award for factoring and invoice discounting which seems to be won by Bibby every year.

I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that they have a Bibby representative on the NACFB board. 🙂

The latest shortlist to be published is probably the daftest one yet as the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) in their infinite wisdom have accepted nominations from the following three companies for their Commercial Finance Provider of the Year award.

Market Invoice
Bank of Valletta
Touch Financial

Touch Financial is of course not a commercial finance provider at all but is a broking outfit with a hardworking self promotions department whilst the other two I guess were nominated by someone with a sense of humour.

The blurb accompanying the press release contained the following masterpiece

“The outstanding quality of entries received for these brand new awards was extremely high and a reflection of the great achievements made in the industry.

The glittering award ceremony will be held at the prestigious Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London, and will provide the winners of the first ever ICM British Credit Awards with exceptional recognition before some of the industry’s most influential people.”

The Small Business Finance Directory

Small Business Finance Directory has been launched in an orgy of self promotion with almost every online magazine carrying stories about this joint venture between National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) and Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) and the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA)

It is supposedly “a brand new tool aimed at promoting access to vital funding” and it’s brief is to “help around 60,000 businesses find suitable commercial finance in its first year”

Having had a look at the directory it seems to be little more than a listing of all members of the three organizations with one or two non members added for good measure. Certainly in my own field most of the major factoring brokers that don’t happen to be members of NACFB aren’t listed and far from being designed to help business access suitable funding it seems designed more to make sure that they only find suitable funding via Association members.

NACFB dinner and awards 2011

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.

NACFB drop the ball

According to a recent press release the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) have dropped the ball by appointing Andrew Bullard of Cashflow UK to their board.

According to the blurb “In his new position on the board, Andrew will now be representing commercial finance brokers and promoting invoice finance as a viable source of income for members of the association”

It further goes on to say “Andrew says: “Companies in the UK continue to face the challenge of securing finance through traditional routes and I look forward to championing the benefits of invoice finance to commercial brokers within the association.”

Cashflow UK is then described as “a leading finance brokerage specialising in factoring and invoice discounting and its team of financial experts is able to offer impartial advice and find your client the best provider to match their individual business needs.”

What of course the NACFB have omitted to say is that Cashflow UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bibby Factors which makes Andrew’s role as an independent advisor somewhat moot.

Most of the truly independent factoring brokers have always had a sense of unease that one of the major players in the broking market is actually owned by a factoring company but surely this latest step is taking things a bit too far