Welcome to issue 51 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 3 March 2015.

Credit Insurance News and Reports
British Business Bank announces the withdrawal of the Trade Credit Enterprise Finance Guarantee pilot. The British Business Bank has published an evaluation and response on the Trade Credit Enterprise Finance Guarantee Pilot which indicates that levels of insured turnover have improved to levels commensurate with 2008 (data provided by the Association of British Insurers (ABI)) and a government sponsored product of this kind is not required. Chair of the ABI Trade Credit Committee, William Clark, commented to Credit Insurance News Digest: “It's welcome news that after launch and subsequent review and analysis that the British Business Bank has decided to withdraw this product. The ABI Trade Credit Insurance Committee has long put forward the point that this initiative was not required in a market that is well served by private capital. This does not mean however that our industry should rest on its laurels and the progress that has been made over recent years to develop new solutions and provide greater certainty to its clients I am sure will continue.” Mark Shepherd, General Insurance Manager at the ABI, said: "We are pleased that the Evaluation Report recognises that the Trade Credit insurance market is working well. The Report shows that there has been an increased range and availability of trade credit insurance in recent years." To view the ABI's news release go to https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-updates/2015/02/ABI-responds-to-British-Business-Bank-Trade-Credit-Enterprise-Finance-Guarantee-Article.
Note: The pilot, which ran from April 2013 to September 2014, was intended to unlock credit for sole traders and small businesses falling just outside trade credit providers’ existing credit criteria, and to facilitate higher credit limits for existing customers where appropriate. However, the results of the pilot show that the demand for this sort of support is now not particularly high and the decision has been taken not to continue it. To view the full report go to http://british-business-bank.co.uk/performance/evaluations-of-british-business-bank-programmes/trade-credit-enterprise-finance-guarantee-evaluation-and-response/.

The evolution of trade credit insurance in the US, its benefits and overcoming misconceptions. The Secured Lender has published an article, 'Trade Credit Insurance proves to be a useful financial tool', which provides an overview of trade credit insurance in the US (primarily) and Europe and explores some of the changes that the industry has seen. For example, in the US, increased exporting - and exporting by smaller countries - as well as the increasing prevalence of trading on open account has encouraged the use of credit insurance. Regulation, to some degree, is also driving the increasing use of credit insurance: " An overseas receivable that doesn’t have insurance is viewed negatively by a regulator.” However, Kick Baesjou, commercial director of Coface Global Solutions, reports that, once US companies become insured, they are quick to see the benefits: "Credit insurance is a product that we really have to knock on doors to explain its benefits, as companies did without it before; but, once our clients buy it, including banks that have to comply with capital allocation requirements, they see great value for the money." Baesjou added: “We need to have more noise around credit insurance in the US. We see a lot of potential to grow with very sophisticated companies.” To view the article on The Secured Lender's website go to http://www.thesecuredlender-digital.com/thesecuredlender/march_2015#pg1.

White Paper: Trade Credit Insurance Market Overview. The Russell Group has published a new White Paper, 'Trade Credit Insurance Market Overview', which explores the global trade credit picture in 2015 and examines what affects trade credit insurance price movements? Although the report advises that there are no clear answers, it does make it clear that we can no longer paint a broad brush picture of regions – or trade zones - any longer. "Each country and each vertical sector is a separate trading unit that can only be analysed at the most granular level." The Paper also reports that the trade credit insurance market is currently characterised by a challenging premium income environment, with average premium rates decreasing in many markets: "credit insurers are insuring more against less in many markets, particularly in continental Europe and also in the UK and the US." However, in a "comforting sign" that the financial crisis has ended, both the the claims picture and level of global insolvency have improved. To view the White Paper go to http://www.risklounge.co.uk/media/56077/icisa_whitepaper_final.pdf.

Propelling US exports through trade credit insurance. Global Trade has published an article, 'Propelling Exports Through Trade Credit Insurance', in which US companies Trilithic, Inc., an Indianapolis manufacturer of test and measurement equipment, and Air Tractor Inc., a Texan manufacturer of agriculture and firefighting airplanes, describe the advantages of their credit insurance with Ex-Im Bank. In Trilithic's case, although it is not dependent on insurance for financing, and has never experienced a financial loss, it continues to maintain a policy. “It is one of the lowest cost and most efficient products that we can use for risk management,” says Jeffrey Hale, president of Trilithic. “The cost of a loss for us would be dramatic and the ROI on the insurance policy is such that it makes good business sense to carry it. The other part is that we are in a cyclical business. Right now we are in a strong period and not borrowing on our line of credit. But when a downturn comes and we want to rely on our foreign receivables, we are ready to go when the bank tightens up." David Huey, president and regional director at Atradius, and Kerstin Braun, executive vice president at Coface North America are also quoted. To view the article on Global Trade's website go to http://www.globaltrademag.com/banking-on-global-trade/propelling-exports-through-trade-credit-insurance.

Credit Insurance rather than Funding for Lending would be of greater value to SMEs and the UK economy. Global Banking and Finance Review has published an article, 'Why funding for lending isn't solving the problem for SMEs', in which William Tebbitt, Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Trade Finance Partners, examines the Government's current Funding for Lending scheme and notes the ways in which the scheme is unlikely to address the needs of growing businesses. Instead, Mr Tebbitt advises that: "the creators of FLS should in my opinion have looked further into how businesses fund themselves right through the supply chain." If they had done so, "they would have understood the importance of credit insurance to SMEs" as well as the huge impact that the contraction of the credit insurance market and the lack of availability of insurance had had on risk for SME’s. Mr Tebbitt concludes: "Had some of the cheap money offered to banks been made available for credit insurance then it is highly likely this would have had a more immediate beneficial effect on economic activity." To view the article on Global Banking and Finance Review's website go to http://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/why-funding-for-lending-isnt-solving-the-problem-for-smes/.

The Credit Insurance revolution: competitive pricing and more availability. The Broker has published an article, 'The Credit Insurance revolution', which reports that the credit insurance market is expanding and is more buoyant than ever. However, the market is evolving and the old days of underwriting led by an assessment of the buyer's balance sheet are over. "In today's fast moving and potentially disruptive business environment reliance on historical account is dangerous." In addition, the introduction of more underwriters to the market has created more (and sometimes fierce) competition, as well as the innovation of new products to differentiate between the products and services offered by each company. This includes a move towards products which offer more certainty of cover, such as non- cancellable limits. To view the article go to https://view.publitas.com/biba/the-broker-issue-1-2015/page/12-13.

Euler Hermes France launches new product: EH Fraud Cover. Euler Hermes has launched a new insurance product, EH Fraud Cover, to offer fraud and cyberfraud insurance cover (up to £10 million) to small and intermediate sized companies in France. It covers three types of fraud: Internal fraud committed by an employee, such as breach of trust, embezzlement or product diversion; External fraud committed by a third party, such as scams and identity theft (which have exploded in recent years in France); Cyberfraud, which has become a growing threat, with 28% of French companies affected in 2014. “The number of fraud cases at French companies has nearly doubled since 2009, with 55% of companies victimized in the past 24 months. This new product line complements our existing credit insurance products.” says Nicolas Delzant, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Euler Hermes France. “It also offers our Group a truly new growth avenue to pursue its development.” This move is backed by the more than 30 years experience of this business line in Germany, where Euler Hermes already has a portfolio of more than 7,000 policies. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-France-launches-EH-Fraud-Cover.aspx.

Euler Hermes reveals the extent of bad export debts in Hong Kong. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article which reports that a new Survey by Euler Hermes has found that more than half of Hong Kong exporters have suffered bad debts over the past 12 months, losing tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, 70% of existing buyers pay late and 50% have requested more credit over the course of the past year. On average, those companies that are reporting bad debts lose HK$200,000 a year (about US$25,000) – a significant sum, considering the heavy concentration of SMEs in the special administrative region. The majority of respondents had turnover of between HK$10 million and HK$40 million (or in US dollar terms: up to US$5 million). “SMEs are vulnerable in this respect, since they usually have a limited financial base and liquidity,” commented Euler Hermes regional commercial director Anil Berry. “In these circumstances, an ‘accident’ in the shape of an unpaid account can have disastrous consequences.” To view the article on GTR's website go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2015/February/Extent-of-bad-export-debts-in-Hong-Kong-revealed-_12230.shtml.

Coface analyses current trends in French business insolvencies. Coface's latest Panorama reports that although the number of insolvencies experienced by French companies remains at historically high levels, after two consecutive years of increases the number of insolvencies decreased by 2.9% in 2014 (to 63,073). The report adds that among the 22 regions of metropolitan France, only four saw their business failures increase: Bretagne (+0.1%), Poitou-Charentes (+2.1%), Basse-Normandie (+7,2%) and Alsace (+15.2%). Against this, 13 of the 22 regions show falls in insolvency numbers of more than 2%. Notably, insolvencies in Ile-de-France, which accounts for 19.4% of total insolvencies, are down by 1.4%. Out of the 11 sectors analysed by Coface, none recorded an increase in insolvencies in 2014 and some sectors stand out for their improvement. This is particularly the case with chemicals which, with 575 failures, recorded a fall of -5.4% over the year. To view Coface's summary with a link to the full report go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/Publications/France-Trend-in-business-insolvencies.

Euler Hermes: First green shoots of recovery in Italian non-payments. Euler Hermes' first edition of its 2015 Non-Payments Report has advised that although average outstanding amounts in 2014 remained above pre-crisis levels by 63% domestically and 57% in export markets,  non-payment between Italian businesses decreased in frequency (-30%) and severity (-8%) compared to 2013. Similarly, in transactions between Italian and foreign businesses, non-payment frequency decreased by 16% - although severity remained almost unchanged.  The report also suggests that after three years of recession, Italy may now be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and will timidly return to higher growth of +0.3% and +0.8% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Slight improvements are also anticipated in Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) to around 111 days, and in non-payments and insolvencies (-2%). To view Euler Hermes' news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-italy-non-payment-report-240215.aspx.

Atradius advises that shaky foundations remain in the construction sector. Atradius' latest Market Monitor advises that in many markets public budget cuts, low investment, cautious and cash-strapped consumers and scarce bank loans are adding to the persistent problems in the building sector. Among the advanced economies covered in this report only Germany, Japan and the US show solid construction performance, but even there problems persist either for certain subsectors or small players in the market. In contrast, the outlook for France is now considered 'bleak' and both the number of construction insolvencies and payment delays is expected to remain high. In the emerging markets featured, only the United Arab Emirates shows performance still labelled “Fair”. Overall, the outlook for the sector globally is muted. To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/MM_Feb_2015_ENG.pdf.

AIB announces a partnership with Euler Hermes. Euler Hermes has announced an agreement with Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c, (AIB) which will enable SMEs who bank with AIB and who are exporting or considering exporting goods and services to use its 'Simplicity' product. Simplicity is an off the shelf credit insurance policy that aims to be simple to use and, for a fixed cost, offers a minimum of 60% immediate cover. Gerard van Kaathoven, CEO Euler Hermes UK & Ireland, commented: “Very few exporters cover their export sales risk due with credit insurance as they believe it is complex and involves red tape." Euler Hermes' news release also cites AIB IPSOS/ MRBI research conducted in 2014 highlighted that two of the key challenges for SME exporters were securing payment on time and minimising bad debts. These findings were supported by the Export Ireland Survey which found that in the area of “credit management and payment issues’’ only 28% of Irish exporters use credit insurance, while over 47% incurred bad debts in the previous year. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-AIB-announces-partnership-.aspx.

Equinox Global receives Lloyd’s approval for Dutch office. Equinox Global has announced that its office in the Netherlands has received official approval from Lloyd’s. Equinox Global started its Dutch operations in June 2014, issuing policies for Dutch insureds from its London office and now has a portfolio which has grown to €1.5 million premium income in less than a year. Frank Masteling, Head of Equinox Netherlands, commented: “We have identified significant demand in The Netherlands for the trade credit services and products that Equinox has built a strong reputation for. Receiving Lloyd’s approval consolidates our strategy and furthers our plans for growth in this important market.” To view Equinox Global's news release go to http://www.equinox-global.co/equinox-global-receives-lloyds-approval-dutch-office/.

Nexus CIFS' comments on the financing of Greek debt and its consequences. Nexus CIFS' Export Underwriting Manager, Tony Smith, has published an article which warns that whatever the outcome of the current negotiations surrounding the financing of Greek debt, the consequences will have a momentous and long-lasting impact across Europe – the UK's largest trading partner. The sheer scale of Greek debt – some 175% of GDP – means that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras needs to ask for assistance to comply with the country’s existing bail-out conditions, otherwise Greece stands to lose up to €7 billion of much needed external funding and run the risk of default. However, the alternative – a voluntary or imposed exit from the euro (and probably the EU) would be even more disastrous for Greece. "A new drachma would plummet in value – possibly by as much as 50% against the euro – while its debt would remain denominated in euros. Access to capital markets would be all but cut off." To view CIFS' article go to http://www.creditindemnity.com/news-and-comment/detail/grexit-who-will-blink-first.

AIG lists the tangible and quantifiable benefits of credit insurance. AIG has issued a brochure, 'Capture the tangible advantages of trade credit insurance', which describes the ways in which the benefits of Trade Credit Insurance are substantial — and quantifiable: "With some simple calculations, you can spotlight the tangible financial benefits that come from a smartly crafted program." Taking the example of a typical US based company, AIG examines how and the extent to which in financial terms benefits can accrue. This includes: increasing sales (and thereby profits) by increasing credit limits to major customers, supporting safe expansion into new countries and markets, attaining more attractive bank financing and increase working capital available. To view AIG's brochure go to https://www-111.aig.com/AIGValueOfTradeCreditInsurance.pdf.

France: A favourable country for the development of innovative 'start-ups'? Coface has published a Panorama report which advises that the democratisation of internet access in the 1990s, has led to the creation of many innovative (defined as companies who have filed a patent) 'start-up' French companies under 5 years old. The Panorama defines the framework within which the concept of this type of start-up has emerged, and examines their weight in France's economy as well as the evolution of their failures in order to assess the risks related to their very particular status. To view Coface's summary with a link to the full Panorama go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/Publications/France-a-favourable-country-for-the-development-of-start-ups.

Economic Research from Atradius. Atradius has two new additions to its series of brief Economic Research reports.
1. Most vulnerable countries to Chinese economic downturn.
A sharp Chinese economic slowdown will affect countries through their exports and commodity prices. Especially countries in Asia and Africa are vulnerable.
2. Impact of oil prices and sanctions on Russia growing.
Russia managed to avoid a recession in 2014 despite mounting economic woes but US and EU sanctions are taking their toll.
To view the reports please go to http://global.atradius.com/.

Congratulations to . . . 
Nexus CIFS has received the title Credit Insurer of the year at the 2015 Chartered Institute of Management Awards. A finalist on every occasion, it’s the second time in three years that Nexus CIFS has won the award and represents, says managing director Bob Lilley, recognition for a consistent track record of personal service and access to decision makers, product innovation and collaboration with industry partners. To view CIFS' news release and photos from the night go to http://www.creditindemnity.com/news-and-comment/detail/cifs-wins-credit-insurer-of-the-year-award.

EFCIS has received the title of Credit Insurance Broker of the year at the 2015 Chartered Institute of Management Awards. EFCIS's Managing Director, Andy Moylan, commented: "Being a finalist for this award for two consecutive years and winning this year reflects our ongoing commitment to provide consistent levels of service and product innovation for the benefit of credit control departments that really is second to none."

Global Finance has published its listing of the World’s Best Global Insurers of 2015. AIGwas selected as the Best Overall Insurer, Zurich was named Best Political Risk Insurer,Euler Hermes won the award for Best Trade Credit Insurer and Aon  was named Best Global Insurance Broker. To view Global Finance's complete listing of all winners go to https://www.gfmag.com/magazine/february-2015/worlds-best-insurers-2015.

Industry Events, Offers and Training
2nd Annual Australia Trade & Supply Chain Finance Conference, 2 - 4 March. Sydney, Australia.
Following 2014’s successful inaugural event, the conference will welcome Australia’s most influential leaders from across the trade finance industry to explore how best to increase the country’s export volumes. Discussions will also focus on developing and implementing successful supply chain finance structures. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15. Click here for more information.

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 to http://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 email events@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.

Coface Country Risk Conference 2015. Thursday 4 June, London.
Gathering economists, industry experts, companies and their business partners, this conference aims to help businesses trade safely by providing key information involved in making domestic and export trading decisions. This year’s event will be on the morning of Thursday 4th June, followed by a buffet lunch. To register your interest in attending please email crc_uk@coface.com.

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.

And Finally: A very special offer for readers . . .
We are delighted to bring you an exclusive and very generous offer to see the Olivier Award winning adaptation of E. Nesbit’s classic novel The Railway Children at London's Kings Cross Theatre. Set in a new, purpose built 1,000 seat venue complete with state of the art heating system, this breath-taking show features a stage built around a real train track, and a beautiful 60-tonne locomotive that steams into the theatre to delight all ages. This is a truly unique theatrical experience. You may even catch my daughter performing on some evenings!
Click here to view the trailer 
Top price tickets £49.50 reduced to £35 valid until 22nd May, Tue – Fri performances (Excluding 7th – 22nd Feb and 23rd Match – 19th April and Sat and Sun performances). Click here to book and quote KXOFFER. Alternatively book by phone on 0844 871 7604.

Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
Late payments puts many SMEs perilously close to bankruptcy. Latest research from Bacs has revealed that 76% of UK businesses are being forced to wait at least a month beyond their agreed contract terms before getting paid and that the total the amount owed in late payments stands at £41.5 billion. The Bacs figures also reveal that SMEs (companies employing fewer than 250 people) are owed £32.4 billion (down from £39.4 billion in January 2014), while Corporates (companies employing 250 or more people) on the other hand are owed around £9.1 billion (up from £6.7 billion in January 2014). The average late payment burden shouldered by SMEs now stands at £31,901, which the research warns: "puts many SMEs perilously close to bankruptcy with £50,000 being the maximum that SMEs in the survey say they could bear before going to the wall." 25% of SMEs state that £20,000 or less is enough to jeopardise their business prospects. To view the news release go to http://www.bacs.co.uk/Bacs/DocumentLibrary/PR_Late_payments_are_forcing_businesses_to_make_tough_decisions.pdf.

The CBI advises that UK growth continues to outshine its counterparts in Europe and "progress is 'steady as she goes". The CBI has advised that UK GDP growth is expected to remain steady throughout this year, rising by 0.7% each quarter. GDP is then forecast to grow strongly in 2016,  by 0.6% per quarter and 2.6% over the year as a whole. However, the UK's export performance has remained disappointing. Although the CBI expects some improvement ahead, with growth increasing from 2.9% this year to 5.5% in 2016, with import growth set to rise firmly due to strong domestic demand, the net trade contribution to GDP growth will be "small at best". Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director for Economics, said: “The UK is in good shape compared with other economies, with both investment and household spending underpinning economic growth. But there are still risks to exports from a shaky Eurozone." To view the CBI's news release go to http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/february-economic-forecast/.

Report finds that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are twice as likely as large corporates to report problems with late payment. A new report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has found that the culture of late payment among businesses inhibits the ability of the world's smallest organisations to take on more employees. Charlotte Chung, ACCA's senior policy adviser on SME issues said: “Microbusinesses and other small enterprises are less likely to increase headcount when faced with late payment. Compared to large corporates, we found that the effect of late payment on small businesses who want to expand was significantly greater, by 54% and 47% respectively.” The report found that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are typically twice as likely as large corporates to report problems with late payment. To view the report go to http://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/acca/global/PDF-technical/small-business/pol-tp-elp-1stock.pdf.

UK to fall out of the world’s top 10 largest economies by 2050. According to the latest in PwC’s series of reports on ‘The World in 2050’, the UK is predicted to drop to 11th place in the rankings of the world’s largest economies by 2050. However, the report also finds that the UK is doing well compared to its G7 peer group in terms of growth, which is projected to average around 2.4% per annum over the period to 2050. This is similar to the US and above growth rates in the major Eurozone economies, which are only projected to average around 1.5-2% per annum for the same period. John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, said: “Emerging economies like Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico have the potential to be larger than the UK and France by 2030. Indonesia could rise as high as 4th place in the world rankings by 2050 if it can sustain growth-friendly policies. . . But despite expecting the UK to drop out of the top 10 largest economies by 2050, the projected average UK growth rate to 2050 is stronger than other large Western European economies such as Germany, Italy and Spain”. To view PwC's news release with a link to the full report go to http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2015/02/uk-to-fall-out-of-the-worlds-top-10-largest-economies-by-2050.html.

UK mid-market outstrips the German Mittelstand. Mid-sized businesses in the UK have weathered the global downturn better than those in the renowned German Mittelstand, according to new figures released by BDO. The snapshot of the European mid-market (firms with turnover between £10 million - £300 million annually) released by BDO, shows that the turnover of the UK's mid-sized firms (€1.92 trillion) now exceeds that of the German Mittelstand (€1.78 trillion). Since 2009, the Mittelstand has grown by 12% compared to the mid-market by 33%. The UK has also overtaken Germany in terms of the number of people employed in their respective mid-markets – the UK employing 9.3 million people compared to Germany's 9.2 million. Mid-market growth in Italy and France has also surpassed that of Germany at 16% and 20%, respectively. To view BDO's news release go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/press/uk-mid-market-outstrips-the-german-mittelstand-says-bdo.

January sales prove a damp squib for the UK high street. Low consumer confidence and continued discounting has left high street retailers rueing a slow start to the new year, according to figures released in BDO's monthly High Street Sales Tracker. In January, the high street grew just 2% year-on-year, predominately held up by the post-Christmas sales. But while the first week of 2015 produced the strongest weekly like-for-like figures for nine months (up 10.3%), none of the following four weeks managed even 1% year-on-year growth. Sophie Bevan, Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, said: "The widespread discounting strategy that many retailers have adopted towards the latter part of 2014 has had a knock-on effect on the traditional January sales. Following tradition, shoppers flocked to the stores in that first week after Christmas, but after that they lost interest pretty quickly. This is a completely different picture to last year, when we saw like-for-like growth of over 17% in the third week of January." To view BDO's news release go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/press/january-sales-prove-damp-squib-for-high-street.

Up to 50 oil & gas businesses at risk of being pushed into administration. According to the latest Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert data for Q4 2014 the number of oil & gas businesses experiencing ‘Significant’ distress has increased by 69% to 486 compared to 288 in the equivalent period last year, or a rise of 17% in the last quarter alone (Q3 2014: 416). A further breakdown of the sector shows that the real victims of the oil price slump have been the businesses providing services to the oil and gas industry, with ‘Significant’ distress in companies more than doubling from 93 to 201; a massive 116% increase on a yearly basis and a 31% increase in the last quarter alone (Q3 2014: 154). Julie Palmer, Partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “We expect there to be a major wave of consolidation in the industry as businesses race against time to deliver cost synergies or face falling into greater distress. In the absence of successful consolidation, we expect that as many as 50 companies in the sector face administration in the next eighteen months.” To view Begbies Traynor's news release go to http://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/crude-awakening-for-oil-services-companies-as-significant-distress-doubles.

Small businesses in the US improve their risk and payment behaviour across the board. Experian has announced new insights from its Experian/Moody’s Analytics Small Business Credit Index that showed that credit conditions for small businesses in the US reached the highest level on record, improving for the third consecutive quarter. According to the most recent report, outstanding credit balances grew by 2.2% from a year ago, while delinquency rates declined to a cyclical low of 8.5% - both of which contributed to the improvement in the index. Findings from the report also showed that small businesses have improved their risk and payment behaviour across the board. Most notably, over the last year, small businesses have reduced the number of days they paid their bills beyond contacted terms by full a day, or more than 19%. Over the same time period, the average commercial risk score for a small business rose 3.1% to reach 61.6, while bankruptcy rates dropped significantly, with 10.9% fewer businesses filing. To view Experian's news release go to https://www.experianplc.com/media/news/2015/sbci-q4-2014/.

UK economy growing at a steady pace. Economic growth was slightly slower in the three months to February, but still maintained a strong pace, according to the latest CBI growth indicator. The survey of 842 respondents across manufacturing, retail and services showed continued solid growth in the private sector, with a balance of +19% in February. Whilst the pace of growth eased (from +23% in January), it remained in line with the average rate over the past four months. The overall outlook for the next quarter is positive, with growth expected to rise further (+26%). Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director of Economics, said: “The economy is heading steadily along the right track. The post-Christmas dip in retail sales was a surprise, but it’s encouraging that firms’ overall growth expectations are upbeat across all sectors." To view the CBI's news release go to http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/economy-growing-at-a-steady-pace/.

UK Exporter confidence is growing despite global uncertainty. The majority of British exporters (58%) believe their profitability will increase this year, despite ongoing political volatility in the eurozone and Ukraine, according to a report released by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL Express. The volume of trade documentation index issued by Accredited Chambers of Commerce increased to 117.43, demonstrating that UK businesses are growing internationally and breaking into new markets overseas. The report also found that manufacturing firms are more confident about improving their turnover than they were last quarter (66%, compared to 61% in Q3 2014) and a third of exporters (36%) reported increases in export sales compared with only 18% who said they fell. To view the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/uk-exporter-confidence-picks-up-despite-global-uncertainty,-says-bcc-and-dhl-report.html.

Forum welcomes much needed moves to provide greater teeth to the Prompt Payment Code. Major changes to the Prompt Payment Code have recently been announced to encourage large firms to commit to 30 day payment terms as standard with a 60 day maximum. Although the code remains voluntary, businesses will be actively encouraged to comply. In addition, a new Code Compliance Board, will investigate challenges made against signatories to the code. Phil Orford MBE, chief executive at the Forum of Private Business (FPB), commented: “We welcome that the Government recognises that more than 60 days is unreasonable in most circumstances . . . the government’s moves to provide much needed teeth to the Prompt Payment Code are what many small business suppliers have wanted to see." To view the FPB's news release go to https://www.fpb.org/press/february-2015/forum-welcomes-much-needed-moves-provide-greater-teeth-prompt-payment-code.

OECD GDP growth slows marginally to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014. According to provisional estimates, growth of quarterly GDP in the OECD area slowed marginally to 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 0.6% in the third quarter. Amongst the Major Seven economies, GDP growth slowed most in the US, easing to 0.7% compared with rates of 1.2% and 1.1% in the two previous quarters. Growth also slowed in the UK to 0.5%, compared with 0.7% in the previous quarter. On the other hand, in Japan, growth picked up strongly (to 0.6% following two quarters of contractions of minus 0.6% and minus 1.7%). Growth also picked up strongly in Germany (to 0.7% compared with the relatively flat two previous quarters), while in France growth slowed (to 0.1% compared with 0.3% in the previous quarter). Economic growth was flat in Italy. While reflecting a small improvement compared with the previous quarter, it marked the fourteenth consecutive quarter without expansion. Year-on-year GDP growth for the OECD area remained stable at 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Among the Major Seven economies, the UK recorded the highest annual growth rate (2.7%), followed by the US (2.5%). In Japan and Italy, GDP contracted by minus 0.4% and by minus 0.3% respectively. For 2014 as a whole, GDP rose by 1.9% in the OECD area, up from 1.4% in 2013. To view the OECD's news release go to http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/gdp-growth-fourth-quarter-2014-oecd.htm.
'GDP Growth - Fourth Quarter 2014, Quarterly National Accounts, OECD'. © OECD, 2015.http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/gdp-growth-fourth-quarter-2014-oecd.htm.

Career Opportunities:
Senior Credit Analyst – EMEA Corporates, London. £70,000-£90,000 + Bonus + Benefits.
This global organisation is seeking a Senior Credit Analyst to focus on EMEA Corporates, typically within the heavy industries segment, to join their team. You’ll be supporting a team of commercial individuals based in London and will work alongside global colleagues within the Credit Analysis function. Typically the corporates will be investment grade, however there will be some smaller entities as well. Geographies will be biased towards UK & Europe with a small exposure in the Middle East & Africa. Your role will be to prepare detailed credit files for lending values generally between $50m - $500m, therefore diligence is important. As well as company financials you’ll be expected to refer to non-financial, company rating and where applicable country rating tools to ensure that you are providing a holistic view of the client risk. These analyses will be prepared for both new business request and existing portfolio business with a view to ensuring exposure is monitored. Regular liaison with the offshore processing team and colleagues throughout the world will be required; in addition you will be expected to carry out occasional client meetings throughout EMEA. It’s crucial that you have experience of analysis of financials for UK and European major organisations with a view to providing insightful guidance on major lending decisions. Ideally you will also speak a Southern European language (Spanish / Portuguese / Italian) however this isn’t essential. Experience of Debt Restructuring / Workouts would also be highly regarded. This is a great opportunity to join a team who are firmly in growth mode, have an excellent work/life balance as well as team moral. You’ll also get opportunity to really take end-to-end ownership of your work and genuinely see the benefit of the work you carry out. Coupled with an attractive basic salary the company have a competitive benefits scheme including various bonuses and benefits. For further information and a confidential discussion, please contact kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com or call 0207 092 3283, (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Account Manager – Credit Insurance.
Credit & Business Finance Ltd, a highly respected Credit Insurance broker is looking to recruit an experienced Account Manager with at least 10 years’ experience specialising in credit insurance to join their expanding client servicing team in the South East. You will be responsible for renewing policies, dealing with clients senior management, processing client requests, arranging and attending regular client meetings as well as dealing with client claims issues and resolving all client queries efficiently and professionally for large mid corporates and multinational businesses. Developing and enhancing both client and underwriter relationships is key whilst growing the client portfolio to include other risk management services. A competitive salary including commission scheme is offered along with Health Insurance, Pension Scheme and Death in Service cover. If you are interested in this opportunity please send your CV and covering email to wendy@wpal.biz.

Business Development Manager / Trade Credit Insurance. AU Group - Dubai, UAE. (Ref: OP502-02).
The Role: Developing a portfolio of clients and achieving new business target in Trade Credit Insurance.
Key responsibilities include: Calling prospects from the CRM Database to establish levels of interest in Trade Credit Insurance and schedule meetings. Generating and converting leads. Meeting managers and educating businesses about Trade Credit Insurance. Negotiating with top management and decision makers, CFO or GM. Closing deals at the end of the sales cycle.
Applicants should be fluent in English and Arabic (French is optional, be energetic and tenacious (with charm), have a positive attitude with a high desire to succeed and the ability to work autonomously. A bachelor or Master degree is also required, together with experience in insurance or bank industry. Click here for more information and to apply. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Commercial Underwriting Officer. Salary £35,000 - £50,000.
One of the world's largest insurers is looking for a new Commercial Underwriting Officer to provide policy support to the underwriting manager. Specialising in corporate credit insurance, this exciting role will involve product development and policy wording for the large and international markets. Successful candidates should have: 3+ years' experience in credit insurance, underwriting expertise and a university degree (ideally Business, Finance, Insurance or Law). Product development and policy wording knowledge is also required. To apply, please contact Ben Wade (ben.wade@reedglobal.com) or call 0207 220 4777. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Trade Credit Broking, Client Service Executive, Reading. Salary Dependent on Experience.
We are seeking a Trade Credit Insurance Broker with a minimum 1 years’ experience for a client service role as an Account Handler (Client Service Executive) to support our Team in Reading. The successful individual will be assisting a small team of Account Executives (AE’s) and Account Directors (AD’s) in developing and servicing a varied client portfolio. The Willis Credit Risk team in Reading supports Willis’ UK Regional business and reports into the Willis Financial Solutions Division, the worlds’ largest combined global Political and Trade Credit broker, operating from London, New York, Singapore and 6 other cities.
Key responsibilities will include all the usual service needs for mainstream trade credit insurance policies and new business broking as well as providing an element of administrative back up. To be considered you must have some relevant experience working either within Credit Insurance broking / Credit Risk underwriting or a related field. Your key skills will include: understanding of trade credit, credit management or trade finance, excellent communication skills and client relationship experience, with the ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
Salary and terms are dependent on experience, with all the usual benefits of working for one of the world's largest insurance brokers.
Contact Christine Pringle (pringlecs@willis.com) on +44 113 283 2913 for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Analyst - UK Obligors - Great Development Potential (ref:26402966), London. £25,000 - £42,000 per annum, inc benefits.
This client, a world leader in the credit guarantee arena is seeking a Credit Analyst or Credit Underwriter to join their team in Canary Wharf. This is a large department who have a great social ethic and work environment coupled with excellent opportunities for training and development.
The role itself will see you carrying out analysis on UK Corporates by reviewing financial information (balance sheets, cashflows, P&L) and allocating a grading to these firms. You'll also be responsible for monitoring the credit-worthiness of a portfolio of companies who have already been graded. Its a challenging role which will require diligence and numeracy to be able to quickly and accurately identify any issues with the clients' financials and communicating these to interested parties. As you become accustomed to the role you'll also be responsible for meeting with the companies to discuss their financials, discuss the decision making with interested parties - justifying your decision making, and negotiating credit limits when required. Therefore you must be an excellent communicator both written and spoken.
The client is considering applicants who come with existing credit analysis experience, ideally of UK corporates, and the ability to understand and interpret financial statements. This could be in the role of Credit Underwriter, Credit Analyst, Mortgage or Loan underwriter (business not residential), or simiar role. Alternatively the client will consider graduates who have a numerate degree (economics, maths, etc) with some work experience (either paid work since University or internships) within a financial environment and some basic exposure to credit analysis. Get in touch: Kerren Leach | Senior Consultant | +44 207 092 3283 | kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Analyst, Lloyds insurer - Political and Credit Risk Underwriting team.£70,000 (negotiable, dependent on experience), and bonus and benefits.
Following continued growth, and significant capital injection, this Lloyds Insurer has identified the requirement for a permanent Credit Analyst to join their Political & Credit Risk Underwriting team. This is a fantastic opportunity to join the team in a growth phase which will see you establishing and growing the credit analysis function within the business. In addition you’ll gain exposure to a much wider array of transactions than you would within a traditional bank or ratings environment. Your key responsibility is to support the underwriters in making prudent and profitable underwriting decisions on a wide range of insurance policies. Typically these policies will be to support major banks’ and commodity trading houses’ transactions. The analysis required will include revolve around understanding the credit-worthiness of international obligors which could be public, private or financial institutions. Therefore you’ll need to review financials, country/sovereign risk, counterparty risk, deal structure, and various other categories on a worldwide basis. Although this role is within an insurer they are willing to consider candidates with financial / risk analytical skills specifically around company financials and complex financing structures from a banking environment or rating house an/or exposure to country / counterparty / sovereign risk analysis on financial transactions. The ability to read and understand foreign financials and excellent communication and relationship building skills is also required. Experience or understanding of credit / political risk insurance is desirable.
ESSENTIAL: It is key that you have experience of analysing medium to long term transactions and overseas obligors; the client is specifically not seeking individuals who have solely been involved in the P&L/Balance Sheet analysis of UK Domiciled organisations for a traditional credit insurer If the above describes you and you’re looking for a challenging, but rewarding career within the Lloyds Insurance Market then please don’t hesitate to apply. Salary of around £70,000 (negotiable, dependant on experience), bonus and benefits on offer. Get in touch: Kerren Leach | Senior Consultant | +44 207 092 3283 | kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

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 ben.wade@reedglobal.com for more details. (Please mention Credit 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 contact ben.wade@reedglobal.com for more information. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Insurance News Digests: Sponsorship
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