Welcome to issue 48 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 9 December 2014.
This issue is kindly sponsored by Credendo Group.

Credit Insurance News and Reports
The credit insurance industry needs to differentiate itself from the events of 2008-09 and highlight recent innovations. AIG has published an article, 'The trade credit market - starting to innovate?' which advises that the trade credit insurance (TCI) industry has responded to the events of 2008-09 by beginning to provide more innovative products, such as excess of loss and non-cancellable cover, that offer greater certainty. Will Clark, Head of Trade Credit at AIG in the UK, commented: “The non-cancellable aspect stops credit insurers from reining back or withdrawing their credit limits, actions that earned our industry a bad reputation in some quarters five or six years ago.” As a result higher-risk markets such as Argentina, Russia and Ukraine have seen their credit limits kept in place for 12 months after inception or renewal. However, although global macro-and-micro-trends call for credit protection as an essential trading tool, a recent AIG survey found that only 37% of respondents had purchased TCI products in 2014, down from 40% in 2013; and 53% in 2012. To view AIG's article go to http://www.aig.co.uk/chartis/internet/uk/eni/AIG_ITS_Article_1-Credit_Insurance-FINAL_tcm2538-650312.pdf.

GAME reports that the return of credit insurance has helped improve its working capital position. In a recent article in MCV, GAME has outlined its turnaround over the last two years and described some of the initiatives on its horizon. The retailer's annual report also confirmed the importance that credit insurance has played in entrenching its relationship with suppliers and ameliorating its overall financial standing: “We typically seek to purchase products from our suppliers on credit terms to manage our working capital position, and while we have benefited from only minimal credit insurance in the last two years, following the IPO we are starting to see the return of credit insurance which has helped improve our working capital position.” To view the article on MCV's website go to http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/game-plans-gametronics-bays-and-game-marketplace-for-2015/0141789.

Equinox Global advises that technology is driving credit insurance into new spaces.Equinox Global has advised that the rapid pace of information technology development is beginning to drive new changes in the trade credit insurance industry, in particular an ability to mine and deeply analyse data in ways that can more fully inform underwriters’ perceptions of risk. At a recent event entitled ‘Underwriting the Future’, Antje Seiffert-Murphy, Equinox Global’s head of USA and Canada, suggested that instant, global access to ever increasing volumes of data is providing a greater capacity to anticipate business failures, or even to adjust risk pricing downwards in real time for products which sell at especially high speed. “As databases accumulate more knowledge of business logistics, sales and payments, credit management will continue its evolution from an art to a science.” To view Equinox Global's article go to http://www.equinox-global.co/189technology-driving-credit-insurance/.

Euler Hermes describes 2014 as a year of "disappointment, disruption and divergence". According to Euler Hermes latest Economic Outlook caution is in order as the world continues to suffer from subdued growth and trade prospects. Euler Hermes’ Global Insolvency Index remains 12% above pre-crisis levels with timid macro developments weighing on companies’ income statements and financing restraints in several countries. The threat of non-payments is also set to increase by over 23% by the end of 2014, largely due to difficulties in the Chinese and Russian economies - with the former’s relatively low growth becoming a new ‘norm’. Also the average days sales outstanding is increasing by one day every year since the onset of the crisis, reaching 73 days in 2014. Out of the 80 major economies covered by Euler Hermes, only Spain and India outperformed – modestly – below consensus expectations. To view Euler Hermes news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-Euler-Hermes-analysis-2014.aspx.

Trade credit insurance members of ICISA are positive about Greece. Andreas Tesch, President of the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) advocates: "Given the current state of Greece's economy and considerable growth of private trade credit insurance capacity, Greece should be included again on the list of marketable risk countries per 01.01.2015."  Private credit insurance capacity from the Members of ICISA for exports to Greece increased in 2013 and has grown considerably during 2014. Internal credit ratings for Greece remained stable in 2013 and have become more positive overall in 2014. Around 7,000 credit limits are currently in force, an increase of approx. 90% compared to 2013, while insured turnover has increased nearly threefold to approx. €3,700 million from 2013. Click here to view the press statement on ICISA's website.

AIG cautions that exporting risks are becoming more complex. According to the International Trade Survey 2014, sponsored by AIG, although exporters’ confidence has improved this year (with further improvements predicted), the macro environment remains loaded with political risk and able to generate potentially unknowable economic consequences which can manifest quickly. “Who would have forecast the current situation in Russia and Ukraine 18 months ago? The bottom line is that you can create plans but predict little,” says Will Clark, Head of Trade Credit at AIG in the UK. Ray Antes, AIG’s Regional Manager, EMEA Political Risk, believes the environment may now be even more risk-laden than for some time. “Everybody has seen the shocking events in the Crimea, and the political tensions in the South China Sea, and some analysts have indicated that there may be a new downturn in the credit cycle over the next 12-24 months, given the state of the global economic fundamentals . . . Moreover, the Ebola virus has cut back trade and investment flows in West Africa, and remains a very large unknown." To view AIG's article go to http://www.aig.co.uk/chartis/internet/uk/eni/AIG_ITS_Article_2-Exporting_Risk-FINAL_tcm2538-651589.pdf.

Atradius expects insolvencies to remain high despite improving economic growth.According to Atradius' latest Economic Outlook, insolvencies in many European economies are expected to remain well above 2007 levels in 2014 and 2015. Despite some improvements in 2014, bankruptcies rose in France, Italy, and Greece, and the average insolvency rate for the eurozone remains twice as high as the 2007 rate. In the periphery, that figure remains over 3.5 times 2007 levels. Similarly, while the US is experiencing a broad-based economic recovery with falling levels of annual business failures, further improvement in the insolvency rate is not expected in 2015. The UK’s recovery is also gaining ground but, like the US, the level of insolvencies are expected to plateau in 2015. Insolvency rates in the US and UK remain 5% and 16% higher than in 2007. To view Atradius' news release go to http://global.atradius.com/corporate/pressreleases/economic-outlook-december-2014-risk-to-global-economic-outlook-for-2015-increasing.html.

Euler Hermes advises that business failures in France are set to remain at record highs. Euler Hermes has published an analysis which advises that France's anticipated growth rate (+0.4% in 2014), has remained under 1% for the third year running - a situation not encountered since World War II. Although some improvement (+0.8% growth) is expected in 2015, this will not be enough to stem the rise of business failures which will reach 63,400 in 2014 and 2015 - the highest recorded numbers since 2000. SMEs (with turnover of between €250,000 and €2 million) are and will be worst affected and currently represent 21% of all business failures in France. Furthermore, almost all sectors are impacted, with the retail sector, hotels, restaurants, and the construction sector showing the most notable levels of business failure. Euler Hermes reports that its observations over a long period show that an average of +1.7% growth in GDP is needed to set in motion a real ebbing of business failures. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-insolvencies-Euler-Hermes-Business-failures-in-France.aspx.

Asia Pacific: Atradius finds that more businesses than a year ago report that maintaining sufficient cash flow is the biggest challenge to profitability. The latest edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Asia Pacific reveals that more businesses in the Asia Pacific region than last year feel pressured by the stresses of maintaining sufficient cash flow. This reflects growing concern about a deterioration of the credit quality in several countries in the region. On average, Atradius found that 36.2% of the total value of B2B receivables in the region remained unpaid when due (average for the Americas and for Europe: 38.4% and 36.4% respectively), while 4.4% of receivables remain unpaid after 90 days overdue with half of this value written off as uncollectable. Against this backdrop, it comes as no surprise that there is growing concern about cash flow levels across several countries in the region. To download the Barometer go to http://global.atradius.com/creditmanagementknowledge/publications/atradius-payment-practices-barometer-asia-pacific-november2014.html.

Credendo Group advises that Malaysia’s macroeconomic forecasts are auspicious and the business environment friendly. Credendo Group has published its latest detailed report on Malaysia which advises that Malaysia is no longer the tiger economy it was prior to the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. However, it has continued to record strong performances and enjoys the benefits accumulated over time. In addition, although Malaysia is still very export-oriented, the share of external trade in total economic activity, with China as first trading partner, has constantly decreased since 2006. However, in spite of a clear downward trend in its reliance on external markets, exports of goods still account for 70% of Malaysia’s GDP and thus strongly influence economic developments. To view Credendo Group report, which includes sections on Malaysia's risk drivers and outlook, facts & figures / pros and cons as well as a full country risk assessment, go to https://www.flexmail.eu/i-50d8523c44f69e0d022816eff9b5d0943afd4dd6c6dfa4c28f28970c35fdb9e5.

European pharmaceutical companies: Coface asks if austerity is fatal? Coface's last Panorama of the year focuses on the pharmaceuticals sector in Western Europe, which is experiencing a constraint in drug sales. The report advises that the pharmaceutical sector’s dependence on the economic situation of European countries proved to be crippling for the industry during the 2008-09 crisis, and once again during the sovereign debt crisis of 2011-12. Now, although weakened by reduced health expenditure in Europe, and with many hurdles (economic and regulatory) to overcome pharmaceutical companies are looking to revive, expand into new markets and invest in niche markets to break the deadlock. However, has austerity proved lethal for this sector? To view the full Panorama (which also includes a risk assessment of 14 sectors in three regions) go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/Publications/Panorama-sector-European-pharmaceutical-companies-is-austerity-fatal.

Atradius advises that competition in the food industry has become increasingly cut-throat. Atradius' latest Market Monitor focuses on the food industry and advises that competition in the industry is becoming increasingly cut-throat. Indeed price wars pervade every country reviewed in the Monitor due to increasing price sensitivity of consumers. Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands are all examples. In addition, the impact of Russia's ban on imports of food from the EU is currently difficult to quantify and differs from country to country, depending on the extent of their dependence on the Russian market. However it is not all bad news. In Belgium for instance, while as elsewhere margins are under pressure, a reputation for quality and safety standards has boosted food exports. To view the full report go tohttp://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/2014/MM_December_2014_ENG.pdf.

Euler Hermes forecasts that Turkish GDP should grow by +3.1% in 2014 supported by exports. Euler Hermes recently presented the findings of its second International Trade Observatory at a conference in Istanbul and forecasted that Turkey should experience GDP growth of +3.1% in 2014 and +3.8% in 2015. Euler Hermes also expects Turkish companies to capture $13 billion of additional exports in 2015 ($11 billion of which will be generated outside the eurozone), to a total of $180 billion.  Emphasising that Turkey has attained achievements of solid merit in foreign trade, Turkish Exports Assembly President Mehmet Büyükekşi said: “Turkey performed better than countries like the US and China, having increased its foreign trade six-fold in recent years. . . With our 2023 export goal of $500 billion, we aim to rank among the world’s top 10 largest economies, with a 1.5% share of the global economy.” To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-Euler-Hermes-Turkish-GDP-growth.aspx.

Atradius advises that global economic growth was weaker than expected over the past six months, but is forecast to regain some strength next year. Atradius' latest Economic Outlook advises that global economic growth has weakened over the past six months and that consequently both its 2014 and 2015 forecasts have been revised downwards. Atradius now forecasts that the global economy will expand by 2.7% this year and by 3.2% in 2015. The US will see economic growth of 3.0% in 2015, while the eurozone is forecast to expand by a modest 0.8% this year and 1.2% in 2015. Latin America and Eastern Europe are expected to experience slower growth this year – at 1.2% and 1.5% respectively – before picking up pace next year. Growth in Asia is forecast to remain high at 6.1% in 2015. To view Atradius' Economic Outlook go tohttp://global.atradius.com/images/stories/economic%20research/Economic_Outlook_December_2014_tcm908-168740.pdf.

Beazley opens an office in Dubai to underwrite political and trade credit risk. Beazley has announced that it has opened an office in the Dubai International Financial Centre to underwrite political risk, trade credit, terrorism, political violence, and contingency insurance. Adrian Lewers, Beazley's global head of political risks and contingency, said: "The Middle East possesses tremendous potential. Not only is it a region of healthy economic growth but much of this growth tends to be re-invested domestically - which in turn is driving increasing demand for insurance in the region. Having a presence on the ground will allow us to target markets across both the Middle East and North Africa." To view Beazley's news release go to https://www.beazley.com/news/news/beazley_opens_middle_east_office.html.

Atradius expects a soft landing in China. Atradius' latest Country Report on China reports that China’s economic growth continues to slow as the efforts of the authorities to curb credit and investment growth begin to take effect. In Q3 of 2014, GDP growth slowed to 7.3 % from 7.5 % in Q2, while the average growth rate in Q1-Q3 has been 7.4 %. For the whole year, GDP is expected to grow 7.3 % - the slowest annual growth rate since 1999 - meaning that the overnment would marginally miss its target of 7.5 %. Mainly because of lower investment growth, the Chinese economy is expected to grow by ‘just’ 7.0 % in 2015. However, although economic growth is slowing, Atradius finds that the Chinese business environment remains generally stable. To view the Country Report go to http://global.atradius.com/creditmanagementknowledge/china/china-overview.html.

Congratulations to . . .
We are delighted to announce that many of our readers are finalists in the ICM British Credit Awards. This includes: CoCredo in the' Credit Information provider of the Year' category; Credit Indemnity & Financial Services (CIFS) and HCC International in the 'Credit Insurer of the Year' category; EFCIS, First Ram Credit Insurance Brokers and RKH Insurance Services - UK Trade Credit & Bonds in the 'Credit Insurance Broker of the Year' category. Nick Frazer - PurplePatch Broking is also a finalist in the 'Risk Management Achievement of the Year' category. For a full list of all finalists go to http://www.icmbritishcreditawards.com/static/shortlist-1.

GTR has announced the winners of its Leaders in Trade awards for 2014. Congratulations to BPL Global and Arthur J Gallagher winner and runner-up respectively in the 'Best trade credit and political risk insurance broker' category and to Euler Hermes and AIG who were in joint first place in the 'Best trade credit insurance underwriter' category. In addition, ACE was named 'Best political risk insurance underwriter'. For a full list of the winners go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2014/December/GTR-reveals-Leaders-in-Trade-2014_12101.shtml.

And Finally . . . Thank you so much to everyone who has supplied photos so far for our new gallery page. Please keep them coming! We can't wait to see your Christmas party photos and will continue to post our contributions over Christmas and New Year.

Industry Events, Offers and Training
The future of the UK insurance sector - growth, competitiveness and regulation. 22 January 2015. Central London.
Attendees at this conference will consider the future of the UK's insurance industry, and key challenges ahead for developing growth, stability and competitiveness across the sector. The discussion is timed to consider next steps for implementing Government's UK insurance growth action plan - which sets out wide-ranging proposals to develop the sector's contribution to the UK economy - and will also bring out latest thinking on the industry’s regulatory framework in light of forthcoming developments, particularly preparation for the implementation of Solvency II. Guests of Honour include Paul Fisher, Acting Executive Director of Insurance, Prudential Regulation Authority and Frank Carson, Head of Insurance and Savings, HM Treasury. Click here for more information, and to book your place use the following link.

The 19th Coface Country Risk Conference. 27 January 2015. Carrousel du Louvre, Paris.
Every year in January Coface organises a conference on the worldwide evolution of Country risk gathering more than 1,200 participants. Its ambition is to help those involved in international trade -whether they are CEOs, commercial directors or credit managers- to make informed business or investment decisions. It can also help businesses refine their strategies to address promising new markets while better understanding the related risks. For its 19th conference, Coface is bringing together leading specialists from the world of finance, research and business to review the past year, debate the major trends shaping the world´s economy and shed light on the main economic issues for 2015. For more information and to register go tohttps://countryriskconference.com/.

6th Annual West Africa Trade & Export Finance Conference, 4 - 5 February 2015. Lagos, Nigeria.
This two-day event will bring together delegates from corporate, banking and financial services organisations to discuss key market issues within agribusiness, hard commodities, risk mitigation and infrastructural development. Specialist speakers will engage with high level delegates through specific transaction case studies, roundtable discussions, onstage interviews, and live question and answer sessions. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15. Click here for more information.

The ICM British Credit Awards 2014, 11 February 2015 at The Brewery, London.
ICM British Credit Awards, the recognised standard in the credit and collections industry, take place on 11 February 2015 at the Brewery in London. The Awards bring a focus to the credit industry with awards covering the different aspects of credit from consumer and commercial lending to credit insurance, use of technology and business information. To book your place at this most prestigious event or to find out more, visitwww.ICMBritishCreditAwards.com.

11th Annual India Trade & Export Finance Conference, 12 February 2015. Mumbai, India.
Now in its 11th year and recognised as the conference of choice for the region’s trade finance community, the conference looks set to welcome over 250 high-level business leaders keen to discuss the most relevant issues affecting both domestic and international players. The conference format will allow for open discussion between delegates and speakers, panel debates, in depth case studies, live interviews and ample networking opportunities throughout. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15. Click here for more information.

8th Annual Russia & CIS Trade & Export Finance Conference, 17 February 2015. Moscow, Russia.
As one of GTR’s most rapidly growing conferences, the event is now established as the largest of its kind and the only place to meet with the region’s primary business leaders and trade finance specialists. With recent sanctions raising many questions over future trade and exports flowing in and out of Russia, this will be the prime opportunity to obtain an up to date assessment of the current climate, while building key connections with those high level decision makers currently operating in the region. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15. Click here for more information.

25th Anniversary Insuring Export Credit & Political Risk, 24-25 February 2015. Millennium Hotel London Mayfair.
View the latest agenda. Insuring Export Credit and Political Risk is the leading event for the global political risk & export credit industry, attracting 300+ attendees from 35+ countries year after year. This year’s 25th Anniversary Convention will see 70+ industry leading speakers and panellists providing unique insight via 21 sessions on everything from current market developments to the macroeconomic and geopolitical risk climate, including concurrent streams on Insurance, Finance & Regulation and Managing Emerging Markets Risk. Other 25th Anniversary highlights include a Keynote Panel on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis, featuring a panel of former UK Ambassadors, and a Keynote Address on ISIS & Middle East Security from the BBC. 10% Discount available with VIP Code FKW52849CRN– Register here.

15th Annual Global Receivables, Factoring & Supply Chain Finance Convention, 25-26 March 2015. Madrid.
The current receivables finance market is one of rapid development and change with new players, new product mixes and emerging secondary markets. Banks, factors and supply chain financiers that have flexible structural mechanisms and are able to respond quickly to new ideas, breakthroughs and newer demands, are more successful in competitive environments. In addition, the agile receivables finance player must be able to nimbly adjust to take advantage of emerging opportunities using strategic policy-making, intervention and market-friendly instruments. ‘RFIx Madrid 2015’ looks at how banks and independent factors, supply chain finance companies and other receivables financiers are responding to this challenge and what more they can do to successfully compete in an increasingly charged, expanding and integrated environment. Please contact: Malou Lindholm, Head of Events, BCR Publishing for more information E: ml@bcrpub.com - T: +44 (0)20 8466 6987 or go tohttp://www.rfixmadrid.com/.

The Credit Summit 2015, 26 March 2015. QEII Conference Centre, London.
The Credit Summit returns on 26 March 2015 to the QEII Conference Centre with more networking, more sessions, more delegates, more speakers and even more conference streams. We’re expanding - now with a total of 10 conferences, significant new audiences will be welcomed into the largest daytime credit industry event. With so many elements to the show the summit can be tailored to specific roles and sectors which means there is something at the event for everyone.  For more information and to register visit www.creditsummit.co.uk, call 020 7940 4835 or emailevents@credittoday.co.uk.

The Credit Today Awards 2015, 14 May 2015. Grosvenor House, London.
It is time to put forward your entries for the most prestigious credit industry awards scheme. Whether you work within the sphere of trade credit, or your organisation offers credit to businesses or consumers, there will be at least one category for you! So if you are looking for a promotion and want to demonstrate your achievements to senior management, your firm has made significant strides in the treatment of customers or your team has surpassed all expectations and deserve a public pat on the back, enter the Credit Today Awards, sponsored by Qualco. The event returns for its 16th year on 14 May 2015 and there is no hall of fame better to join than the most recognised and established industry awards. Our winners go on to reach even better heights once they take home a trophy. Make sure it’s you in 2015. View the categories and submit your entries by 6 February by visiting www.credittodayawards.co.uk. For more information call 020 7940 4835 or email events@credittoday.co.uk.

Understanding International Credit Reports: New training course. Various dates throughout 2014.
Graydon has announced that it is introducing a new training course, Understanding International Credit Reports. The one-day course will examine: report content by region (MENA, North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Far East & 'Tax Havens'), sources of data (Credit Agencies, Public Registries, Local Agent in undeveloped markets & Law Firms), credit scoring/ratings and pricing. The course costs £599 + VAT (a 10% discount is offered to Credit Insurance News Digest readers) and will be held on various dates throughout the year. For more information, please go to https://www.graydon.co.uk/understanding-international-credit-reports-CIN-members.

STECIS - The Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Academy has announced the dates for its training seminars in 2015.
The STECIS training seminars are two-day events and are highly interactive. They cover technical and practical knowledge on respectively Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds, the theory of underwriting, in-depth analysis of industry developments, the terminology and the current market. In addition, participants are asked to review case studies. The BASIC training seminars are on 23 and 24 April 2015 and are open to participants with up to 3 years of work experience. The ADVANCED training seminars are set for 9 and 10 July 2015 and are suited to participants who have attended the basic training seminars and/or have at least 4 years of work experience. All training seminars will take place in The Hague, The Netherlands.

As the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) strongly endorses the STECIS training seminar programme, ICISA member companies receive a 5% discount on the total seminar fee. Companies (ICISA members and non-ICISA members) registering three or more participants to one training seminar, receive a 10% discount on the total seminar fee. For more information, please visit the website http://www.stecis.org or contact STECIS by sending an e-mail to info@stecis.org or call+31 20 528 5170.

Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
World Economic Forum quantifies the causal impact of Letters of Credit on US exports. Recent research by the World Economic Forum has found that changes in supply of letters of credit (LC) by US banks have a causal effect on US export growth. If the supply of LCs to a destination declines by 17% (one standard deviation) from the previous quarter, US exports to that country fall on average by 1.5%. Effects double in times of financial distress and are stronger for exports to small and poor countries. Furthermore during a crisis episode, the same decline in LC supply reduces US exports to small and poor countries by 5.8%. This is probably because firms are less willing to trade without an LC when shipping to high risk destinations and when uncertainty in the economy is high. To view the article go to http://forumblog.org/2014/11/how-do-bank-guarantees-affect-trade/.

ICM says new payment reporting proposals will protect small businesses and their cashflow. New proposals in the Small Business Bill to oblige large companies to publish detailed information about their payment practices and performance will enable small businesses to enter into trade relationships with their ‘eyes wide open’ according to the Institute of Credit Management (ICM). The proposed changes will oblige larger companies to report: their average payment time; the proportion of invoices paid beyond terms; and the proportion of invoices paid within 30 days, over 30 days, over 60 days and over 120 days. Reporting on a quarterly basis will be a mandatory requirement for all large and quoted companies. Business Minister Matthew Hancock said that tackling late payment is at the heart of the Government’s drive to help small businesses. To view the ICM's news release go to http://www.icm.org.uk/icm-says-new-payment-reporting-proposals-will-protect-small-businesses-cashflow/.

UK exporters remain steadfast despite a slowdown in global growth. The BCC and DHL Express have published new research which looks at the health of the UK’s export market and finds that in the latest quarter (Q3), fewer exporters reported increased sales, with almost a third (29%) of exporting businesses reporting that their export sales increased in Q3, compared to 47% in Q2 2014. The highest increase in exporting activity was seen in Wales, followed by Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber. To view the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/exporters-remain-steadfast-despite-slowdown-in-global-growth,-says-bcc-and-dhl-report.html.

EEF finds that Britain's manufacturers have enjoyed a solid end to the year. Britain's manufacturers have enjoyed a solid end to the year with positive figures on output and orders according to the Q4 Manufacturing Outlook survey released by EEF. A buoyant domestic market has helped to secure the strongest annual growth rate across the sector this year since 2010. Commenting, EEF Chief Economist, Ms Lee Hopley, said: "2014 has proved to be a solid year for manufacturers with growth on track to exceed that for the economy overall. There have been some notable areas of strength this year, especially among sectors which rely on demand in the home market. Overall we should see a good balance of sectors and sizes delivering positive news." Overall growth prospects for this year have come in more or less in line with EEF's forecasts throughout the year at 3.5%, while 2015 will see a moderate deceleration in the annual rate of manufacturing growth to 2%. To view EEF's news release go to http://www.eef.org.uk/about-eef/media-news-and-insights/media-releases/2014/dec/industry-ends-year-on-a-high.

Tax professionals rank UK as the second most attractive European economy. A report by Deloitte has found that over 800 European tax professionals rank the UK and the Netherlands as the most attractive economies to operate in from a tax perspective. Respondents praised the UK’s competitive tax regime and the UK’s tax authority for its transparency and ease of compliance. They commended the Dutch tax authorities for their responsiveness, ease of communication, accessibility of information and clear and simple procedures which respondents feel favours entrepreneurs and economic growth. To view Deloitte's news release go to 

The number of UK ‘Debut Directors’ hits an all-time high. The number of first-time business directors in the UK is at an all-time high, according to Experian data. Alongside a lower level of business experience, these ‘Debut Directors’ start-up with less investment than ever before and an increasing proportion come from backgrounds with lower than average levels of affluence. More than half a million businesses were created in the UK last year (515,000 in 2013, up 8.9% from 473,000 in 2012), with the proportion of first-time directors rising by 12.6% (304,000 in 2013 compared to 270,000 in 2012). Experian also found that business survival rates (businesses still trading two years after start-up) are also on the up year-on-year, from 76% in 2009, to 87% in 2011. Overall, 'Debut Directors' have a slightly lower chance of survival (84% compared to 87% survival rate in 2011). To view Experian's news release go tohttp://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/number-of-uk-debut-directors-hits-all-time-high.aspx.

Use of invoice finance reaches all-time high in the UK. The third quarter of 2014 was the biggest ever for asset based finance, with a record £19.3 billion of funding provided to businesses, according to the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). This is a 12% increase on the £17.2 billion in use a year earlier. Businesses are now accessing 37% more in funding through asset based finance than the £14.1 billion they were at the height of the recession in December 2009. Evette Orams, Managing Director of Hilton-Baird Financial Solutions said: “The constantly changing funding landscape is prompting more businesses to recognise that cash is tied up in unpaid invoices and the assets held by their business." To view Hilton Baird's news release go to http://www.hiltonbaird.co.uk/Business-Finance-Blog/369/Use-of-invoice-finance-reaches-all-time-high/.

Retail sales remain resilient in run-up to Christmas - CBI survey. Retail sales remained resilient in the year to November, with the pace of growth expected to accelerate once again in the crucial Christmas run up, according to the CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey. Most sub-sectors saw growth in sales volumes, with grocers (+67%), furniture & carpets (+74%), and hardware & DIY (+54%) leading the way. Specialist food and drink saw sales fall on a year ago (-34%), as did clothing (-39%). Retailers expect their overall business situation to improve over the next three months (+6%), with the same balance of firms intending to raise investment in the year ahead (+6%). To view the CBI's news release go to http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/retail-sales-resilient-in-run-up-to-christmas-cbi-survey/.

D&B reports that the aggregate number of failures in the past four quarters is 16% lower than the previous four quarters. D&B has produced its latest quarterly industry report containing an overview of the key trends, industry failure rates, and payment information taken from D&B's knowledge of the UK trading universe and beyond. The report advises that D&B's data from Q3 shows a slight increase of 3.5% in the number of corporate insolvencies compared to Q2. However, this is still 26% lower then the corresponding quarter of 2013, a promising increasing trend. The aggregate number of failures in the past four quarters is also 16% lower than the previous four quarters (Q4 2012- Q3 2013) and 19% lower than the preceding quarters (Q4 2011 - Q3 2012). However, D&B caution that 'zombie companies' remain at risk if the benign and supportive business climate (notably low interest rates and creditor forbearance) changes, while an increase in failures is typically seen in the period after Christmas. To see D&B's full report go to http://www.dnb.co.uk/dnb_files/Reports/RMS/UK_Report_Q3_2014_FINAL2.pdf.

UK business demography 2013. The Office for National Statistics has released the following headline data (see http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/2013/index.html):
  • The number of UK business births increased by 28.5% from 270,000 to 346,000 between 2012 and 2013.
  • The number of UK business deaths decreased by 6% from 253,000 to 238,000 between 2012 and 2013.
  • The total UK business birth rate was 14.1% and the death rate was 9.7%. London was the region with the highest birth rate at 17.9% and the highest death rate at 10.6%.
  • In broad industry terms, business administration and support services had the highest business birth rate at 20.7% and finance and insurance had the highest death rate at 13.1%.
Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0.

Career Opportunities:
Partnership Expert - Account Manager.
If you have a background in working with large financial institutions and selling products/partnership deals to the banking world then this might be a great opportunity for you. One of the UK's biggest trade credit insurers is looking for a talented financial sales individual to come on board as part of the global growth footprint. Your main role will be sourcing and targeting clients to set up partnerships for them to up-sale your products and name in the market place. With a market place competitive base and commission structure this is a great opportunity for someone looking for a new challenge. Contact Mark.Keizner@reedglobal.com for more details. (Please mentionCredit Insurance News Digest when applying)

Account Manager, London.
An opportunity has arisen within a global trade credit insurer within their London office. You will be responsible for being the linchpin between the external brokers and internal underwriting team with a focus on the global client base. This is a great role that will suit looking to expand there knowledge of the global market and work for one of the leading names. Paying a market place competitive salary, please contactmarkkeizner@reedglobal.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying)

Trade Credit Account Handler / Executive, Leeds. £30,000.
Our client has an exciting new opportunity for an ambitious individual seeking a career in the Trade Credit sector, based in Leeds. Your role will be to manage and prioritise sales activities in accordance with Group policy to achieve targets, develop the business and deliver an excellent and comprehensive service.
Specific Responsibilities include: Develop strong relationships with prospects; Ensure transactions are conducted with full transparency; Meet agreed sales targets; Maintain an appropriate group of preferred markets in each area of activity; Develop strong relationships with markets; Negotiate with markets to provide best balance of quality, service and price; Maintain any ongoing delegated authority contracts appropriately and cost effectively; Assist in the creation of comprehensive sales document; Plan the most appropriate insurance programme for the prospects demands and needs; Ensure correct authorisation is obtained and processes followed when required by the Group policies and procedures; Maintain accurate records and deal with correspondence appropriately; Provide relevant management information to senior management.
The successful candidate will have a minimum of 3 years trade credit or credit control experience; and will be accurate, reliable and self-motivated with the willingness to learn and develop their skills. Successful candidates will receive an excellent salary and a wide range of benefits within an expanding and well respected company. If you have the relevant experience or know someone that does please contact us now on 0203 727 2318 or email us at maisie@lawesgroup.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Trade Credit Specialist, Singapore. Salary Dependent on Experience.
An international insurer is looking for a trade credit insurance specialist to support the development of their trade credit business in the region. You will be involved in market development, product innovation, policy wording and contract negotiations and will work very closely with underwriters in various markets to do so. An understanding of the financial markets and credit/surety insurance is essential, with legal experience also being highly advantageous. Contact: Guy.Turton@ipsgroupasia.com. Ref: IT488956GT. (EA Personnel Reg. no. R1435644). (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Risk Underwriter. London. Salary up to £40,000 with excellent benefits.
Looking to work for one of the worlds biggest organisation with-in credit risk? My client is seeking a Risk Underwriter to join the ever growing team. You should have a previous background with-in trade credit be a strong communicator and have the ability to build long lasting customer relationships. The role will involve: Monitoring risk exposure; Supporting commercial in steering customer loss ratio: Supporting the greater scope of projects and managers you will be interacting with on a daily basis. For more information or to apply please contact mark.keizner@reedglobal.com or call +44 (0) 207 220 4774. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Trade Credit Account Executive. City of London. £35,000 - £70,000 per annum, negotiable.
An opportunity which now exists within the growing Trade Credit team of a major UK broker. You will have specialised in the field of Trade Credit insurance and have a broker based client facing/servicing background. You might also have experience/knowledge of Political Risks business although this is by no means essential. Our client's accounts are corporate although they will also consider individuals with SME Trade Credit account experience. If you have a client following, this will always be an advantage and obviously, our client will respect your restrictive covenant. Prospects and training with this key player are second to none. Salary will be dependent upon experience and what you have to "bring to the party". Apply today for immediate consideration.
We would strongly suggest that if your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call us directly to highlight your application. To apply, please email David Leslie at david.leslie@leslie-james.co.uk or call 020 7873 2271. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Trade Credit Account Handler, Thames Valley. Reading, Berkshire. £30,000 - £35,000 per annum, negotiable.
Our client is a leading insurance broker with a world class reputation. This is an opportunity to join as an International Trade Credit Account Handler, dealing with a wide range of international, corporate Trade Credit clients. Given the international nature of our client's business, you will need to be fluent in at least one other European language (in addition to English). You will have experience dealing with international Trade Credit clients, gained either with a broker or insurer. Alternatively, you may be considered without Trade Credit experience if your background is within Finance or Economics.
We would strongly suggest that if your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call us directly to highlight your application. To apply, please email David Leslie at david.leslie@leslie-james.co.uk or call 020 7873 2271. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Political & Credit Risk Underwriter.
This major insurer who has operations in all of the key global hubs is looking to recruit an additional underwriter into its London operation. Due to the dynamic within the team and present skill-set they would like to recruit someone who is presently working within the London market in either an Underwriting or Broking capacity and is already known to the local market. You’ll be working as part of a small team of Underwriters who are responsible for writing a profitable book of business across all key sectors with emphasis on bank led business, although traders and corporates do play their part too. Typically the bulk of risks written are CF/CR with some CEN/CCP. As the team is fairly well established and very technically capable, they can be fairly flexible as to the level of individual brought in, this could range from Assistant Underwriter through to Underwriter or even an experienced and technically capable broker. Regardless of level, its key that you bring an outgoing and social personality as you’ll be expected to network heavily with brokers and clients and represent the organisation at events (formal and informal). This is an excellent opportunity to work in a team who can offer excellent training and development, good exposure to a wide variety of trade related and non-trade products, outstanding risk support in-house and the ability to really develop your market profile. To be considered you should have previous experience within an underwriting team (e.g 3-5yrs) even if your scratch is relatively recent, or at least 5 - 10 years broking these risks with a solid technical understanding. Please don’t hesitate to apply as this opportunity is available immediately. Please contact Kerren Leach on +44 207 092 3283 or email kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

New Appointments
Nexus Group has announced the promotion of Bob Lilley to Executive Chairman and the appointment of Richard Marriage as Managing Director of Nexus CIFS Limited. It is anticipated that Richard Marriage will take up his new role in March 2015 when he will assume full operational responsibility for the CIFS business. Mr Marriage previously worked for CIFS when it was founded in 2000, where he was underwriting manager for the business with a main focus on new business, risk and system administration, until 2010 when he left to join Euler Hermes World Agency (EHWA). At EHWA he was responsible for teams based in the UK, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia covering the Multinational/Global business division, servicing clients based anywhere in the world.

About this issue's sponsor: A HOUSE OF SPECIALISMS: CREDENDO GROUP.
Uncertainties can be transformed into opportunities through effective credit insurance. This common principle federates all business units in Credendo Group. Each has its specialist strengths, but all are committed to providing European exporters with the risk protection and service support they need to grow their trade activities around the world.

The parent company Delcredere | Ducroire was founded as a Belgian autonomous body in 1939, with roots back to 1921. But over the past decade Delcredere | Ducroire has developed into a group present in 13 European countries.

Medium- and long-term trade credit insurance cover is the metier of Delcredere | Ducroire, the official Belgian export credit agency. With its cover capacity of EUR 30 billion and its AA rating from Standard & Poor’s, it underwrites major projects worldwide and capital goods sales, to a wide range of markets, largely outside OECD.

Besides trade credit and foreign direct investment insurance, Delcredere | Ducroire also offers direct financing for limited amounts and financial guarantees.

Short-term trade credit insurance, underwritten on a commercial market basis, is provided by Credimundi, KUPEG and INGO-ONDD. Their on-the-spot presence in key exporting markets ensures that they are close to their clients and able to tailor solutions to their local needs.
  • >Credimundi, headquartered in Brussels, has branches in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy and underwrites trade activities worldwide. This business is noted for its expertise in emerging and developing market risk. Credimundi has a strong capacity for political as well as commercial exposures. It also issues surety contracts for bonds and guarantees.
  • KUPEG is based in Prague, with a presence in Slovakia. Its expert focus is on the increasingly important Central and East European economies.
  • INGO-ONDD, in Moscow, is the specialist underwriter in the Russian and CIS markets, a fast evolving region where credit insurance plays a growing role.
Bespoke single-risk cover is required for some individual transactions; the specialist underwriter Garant, located in Vienna and Geneva, structures insurance to meet the specific circumstances of an individual deal. Its experience in this specialist field is reflected in the independent A- ratings from Fitch and AM Best.

Certain exporters develop strong risk management structures of their own. However, they still require excess-of-loss insurance or top-up cover to ensure an adequately high level of protection against unexpected risks. This is provided by Trade Credit. Trade Credit has its head office in Brussels and subsidiaries in seven countries: France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

All businesses across Credendo Group are committed to customer focus and risk appetite. Credendo Group tailors solutions to the needs of each client and the challenges they face.


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