Welcome to issue 53 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 7 April 2015. This issue is kindly sponsored by XS Reserve.

Credit Insurance News and Reports
The global credit insurance market covers approximately $3 trillion or 15% of trade at any one time. GR Magazine has published the second part of Russell Group's current series of papers on the global trade credit insurance market, 'Sovereign Debt, the spectre of default and the wider credit insurance environment', in which Rob Nijhout, Executive Director of the International Credit Insurance and Surety Association (ICISA), explains that he expects credit insurers premium income to rise due to increased take-up and higher premium rates - especially in Germany, Spain, the Nordic countries and parts of Latin America. He also comments that currently: "ICISA members represent 95% of global trade credit insurance marketshare with $8 billion in insurance premiums while claims represent about $4 billion of that total. The underlying exposures - or the outstanding risks at any time - we estimate to be around $3 trillion - approximately 15% of global trade." To view the second part of the report go to http://www.globalreinsurance.com/gr-trade-credit-series-pt-2/1413203.article. (Note: Part 1 of this series was covered in Credit Insurance News Digest - 3 March 2015).

Loss of credit insurance cited as one of the reasons for the failure of Paperlink UK. ProPrint has published an article, 'Why Paperlinx UK collapsed and what is next', in which Paperlinx's chief executive, Andy Preece, says the company had little choice but to stop propping up the failing business and put it into administration, as it had reached a "critical and unrecoverable cash position" with no prospect of improvement. Mr Preece says the collapse of the UK business is due to multiple factors including, "the recent withdrawal of trade credit insurance by one of the industry’s major insurers, resulting in some mills demanding upfront payments – squeezing cashflow to the brink." Mr Preece also acknowledged the havoc the collapse of Britain’s biggest paper merchant will have on the local printing industry. To view ProPrint's article go to http://www.proprint.com.au/News/389419,why-paperlinx-uk-collapsed-and-what-is-next.aspx.

Accounting irregularities within well known Western companies are causing the credit insurance industry its biggest problems. The February/March issue of the Chartered Insurance Institute's magazine, The Journal, has published a number of interviews with CEOs, including Equinox Global's Chief Executive, Mike Holley, to find out what keeps them awake at night. Mr Holley comments that although the political situation in Russia and the Ukraine unsurprisingly keeps him awake, "it seems to be ‘accounting irregularities’ within well known Western companies that are causing our industry bigger problems, while Ukrainian and Russian buyers are, so far, paying on time." He cites Tesco and OW Bunker as examples, but suggests that there are countless others and concludes: “in the past five years, the majority of big credit insurance losses have resulted from accounting irregularities which, by their nature, could not have been predicted by credit agencies and we can’t predict where they will strike next." To view the article go to http://www.cii.co.uk/search-results/?q=journal&filter13=on&sort=1. (Subscription required).

Decreasing claims in Europe support a stable industry outlook according to ICISA members. Following, the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association's (ICISA) recent Spring Meeting 2015 in Athens, members of the (ICISA) have advised that, with the exception of China, they are positive about the current market conditions and global outlook and note a stable claims environment and growth in demand. Robert Nijhout, executive director of ICISA, commented: "In Europe a decrease in claims and an increase in growth are noted. Growth is expected especially in Asia and the MENA region. Africa is also emerging as a growth region in particular for single risk transactions." He concluded: "Healthy growth is expected on all continents which confirm the ongoing demand for trade credit insurance cover across the world." To view ICISA's news release go to http://www.icisa.org/press-releases/1561/.

OpCapita advises that credit insurance providers' decision to withdraw cover "dealt an extremely damaging blow to Comet." Retail Week has published an article, 'Investigation into Comet's collapse concludes, government mulls next steps', which reports that, following the collapse of electricals retailer Comet, the Insolvency Service has concluded a two-year investigation into its former management. A spokeswoman for OpCapita commented to Retail Week: “We installed a new management team at Comet led by John Clare, the former chief executive of Dixons, who did their utmost to stem the very significant losses and drive operational improvements. In the early months this succeeded in stabilising the financial performance of the business but their efforts were subsequently undermined by the loss of credit insurance." She concluded: “By the summer, without credit insurance in place, we were struggling to get enough stock from suppliers to trade through Christmas. At that point there was little choice but to call in the administrators." To view the article on Retail Week's website go to http://www.retail-week.com/topics/policy/investigation-into-comets-collapse-concludes-government-mulls-next-steps/5073430.article.

Increasingly global markets call for the UK to embrace trade credit insurance.Financial Director's Forum has published an article by URICA Limited which notes the UK's current unimpressive figures for exporting to emerging markets and stresses the opportunities that new markets can offer. In China, for example, where UK imports (just 1%) lag significantly behind Germany, "If the £3 trillion-by-2020 prediction for Chinese imports is realised, and if the UK can close the gap on its European peers in terms of its share of that, its exports to China could be almost £60 billion by 2020." However, URICA stresses that to maximise opportunities, companies need to have the right financing and insurance in place before they export and advises that credit insurance can be an useful tool which UK businesses should 'embrace'. To view the article go to http://www.financialdirectorsforum.com/guest-blogs/increasingly-global-markets-call-for-the-uk-to-embrace-trade-credit-insurance.

Atradius believes that Asian businesses' awareness of credit insurance and its benefits is increasing. SMB World Asia has published an article, 'Tough times ahead for Asian businesses', which reports that Atradius has stressed that as a result of ongoing global economic turmoil, businesses in Asia need to equip themselves with the right skills and knowledge to navigate the uncertainties of 2015. Albirich Tang, Head of Risk North Asia, Atradius Credit Insurance N.V., commented: “We have seen increased notifications from our customers citing deterioration in payment promptness from their trading partners. In view of these developments, we have become more prudent in risk underwriting, from customer evaluation, understanding of trade transaction, the products involved, buyer’s creditworthiness as well as the payment ability of their end customers.” To view the article on SMB World Asia's website go to http://enterpriseinnovation.net/article/tough-times-ahead-asian-businesses-935023724.

Euler Hermes identifies 3 reasons for the protracted slowdown in trade. CFO Innovation has published an article in which Wilfried Verstraete, chairman of the Board of Euler Hermes, identifies three key reasons for the protracted slowdown in trade: austerity programs have globally shrunk public spending, global export and import volumes have declined, growth in private consumption and investment is modest at best. In consequence, Euler Hermes forecasts that nominal international trade will grow by a mere 1.8% this year and just 4.5% in 2016 – a fraction of the +12% global trade expansion seen annually between 2001 and 2008. The article also advises that Euler Hermes' predicts that corporate non-payment is set to become a greater issue as the time spent waiting for payments is increasing globally. To view the article on CFO Innovation's website go to http://www.cfoinnovation.com/story/9607/euler-hermes-identifies-3-key-reasons-protracted-slowdown-trade.

RMBSI and CIS to combine in order to become a more substantial player in the South African credit insurance market. RMB Structured Insurance (RMBSI) and Credit Insurance Solutions (CIS) have announced that they will combine in order to become a more substantial player in the South African credit insurance market. CIS chairman Mike Truter believes that the timing is ideal for RMBSI to capture a sizeable portion of this market, as well as to expand the South African marketplace for trade credit insurance. CIS chairman Mike Truter will join the main board of the RMBSI group and its insurance subsidiaries. The CIS division will continue to be led by Johan Schnetler. To view the full article go to http://www.insurancegateway.co.za/ShorttermProfessionals/PressRoom/ViewPress/Irn=9923&URL=RMB+Structured+Insurance+announces+significant+entry+into+Trade+Credit+Insurance+market+1#.VRWivvmsV8F.

Atradius describes the impact of the weakening euro on the UK market. Atradius has advised that a side effect of the UK's strong economic performance has been a rise in the value of the pound by about 20.4% relative to the euro. As a result, Atradius warns that British exports have become less attractive to eurozone buyers, resulting in reduced competitiveness and a drag on economic growth in the UK, and suggests that to rebalance the economy towards export-led growth businesses in the UK should diversify their export destinations. Currently, apart from the US, all other top UK export markets are in Western Europe. Simon Rockett, Senior Manager of UK Underwriting at Atradius, commented: "Businesses throughout the UK really need to look outside the eurozone for growth." To view Atradius' Economic Research go to http://global.atradius.com/creditmanagementknowledge/publications/economic-research.html.

Spanish companies with credit insurance double the destinations of their exports. In a presentation, 'Objective Export: A strategy for growth', Felipe Buhigas, Solunion Group commercial and marketing director at Euler Hermes, highlighted a distinctive features of Spanish exports, which reached €240 billion in 2014 despite a 0.5% year-on-year decline. “Companies with credit insurance export to twice as many countries as those that are not covered,” said Buhigas. “And insured companies are also more innovative: 64% of them launch new products, compared to 57% of those without insurance.” His speech also noted that 50% of Spanish exports are concentrated in three sectors: capital goods, food and automotive. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-Spain-Companies-credit-insurance-double-destinations-exports.aspx.

Coface starts credit insurance in Israel as part of its on-going expansion into new markets. Coface has announced that it has been granted a license from the local regulatory authority to operate as credit insurer in Israel. Jean-Marc Pillu, Coface CEO, commented: "Israeli businesses have been skilled at coping with fluctuations in the economic cycle and have today a healthy financial position. Coface's payment experience for the country is positive." Last year Coface obtained credit insurance licenses in Columbia (January 2014) and Morocco (December 2014). The Group also opened commercial offices in the Philippines and Kazakhstan, and signed a commercial partnership in Serbia. To view Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Holding-a-leading-position-in-business-information-Coface-starts-credit-insurance-in-Israel.

Atradius predicts varying performance outlooks for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia and Peru. Atradius' latest Country Report on South America forecasts varying performance outlooks for countries in the region. In Argentina, for example, the increasing shortage of foreign exchange for Argentine importers has already led to increased payment delays and defaults and caution is advised for exporters to Argentina. Similarly, the Brazilian economy is expected to grow by only 0.3% in 2015 and high inflation is expected to persist. In contrast, Chile is expected to remain resilient to economic downturns and growth is expected to pick up again in 2015 (up 2.7%). Colombia is also expected to perform strongly, and growth is predicted to pick up in Peru. To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/SouthAmerica_March_2015_ENG.pdf.

Five advanced economies will avoid the risk of 'secular stagnation' within the next decade. Coface has warned that more than three years after the official recovery, advanced economies are struggling to return to a path of sustained growth. Some are even forecasting stagnant growth, a situation sometimes seen as irreversible. But not all advanced economies are in the same position when it comes to this risk of long-term stagnation and some exceptions stand out in what is a fragile global landscape. To identify those advanced economies at the least risk, Coface economists have analysed a sample of 23 countries and concluded that the top 5 most solid countries are: Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. To view Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Five-advanced-economies-will-avoid-the-risk-of-secular-stagnation-within-the-next-decade. An infographic of results and a link to Coface's full Panorama report is also given.

Nexus CIFS has published an article, 'City Link – And the winner is . . .', which reports that the collapse of courier firm City Link on Christmas Day has left unsecured creditors with no prospect of recouping any of the funds owed to them. Although owners Better Capital's attitude to the problems now being experienced by creditors is that City Link’s problems were in the public domain, Nexus CIFS counters that creditors would understandably have taken security from Better Capital's statement - published just 4 months ago - that it would support City Link for the next 12 months. CIFS advises that City Link’s creditors include leading businesses –  Virgin Media, Royal Mail, Vodafone and BT – which are owed six-figure sums - but many smaller companies will also be impacted, among them Barcode Warehouse, a 20 year-old Nottingham-based family firm, which is owed £2.2 million. To view Nexus CIFS' article go to http://www.creditindemnity.com/news-and-comment/detail/citylink-and-the-winner-is.

Smaller and mid-sized consumer durables retailers’ margins remain tight. Atradius' latest Market Monitor on consumer durables retail performance and outlook advises that when looking (solely) at 2014 turnover and sales figures, the performance of consumer durables retailers seems to be satisfying. Sales increased in most countries discussed in the issue, and are expected to do so again in 2015. However, although it seems that the worst is over for the retail industry, Atradius warns that many smaller and mid-sized consumer durables retailers’ margins remain tight or are even decreasing further. Competition between brick-and-mortar shops also remains fierce, and is exacerbated by the challenge online retailers pose to the traditional high street. The situation in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and US is examined in detail, snapshot reports are available for Canada, China and Sweden. To view the Market Monitor go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/MM_April_2015_ENG.pdf.

Euler Hermes redesigns its group website. Euler Hermes has redesigned its group website, with the most notable changes in layout on its homepage which now features an information-rich block-style layout. To view the changes go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/Pages/default.aspx.

A message from this issue's sponsor: 
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Industry Events, Offers and Training
Latin America Trade Finance Conference 2015, 14-15 April. Sao Paulo, Brazil.
GTR returns to São Paulo for its fifth year on April 14-15, providing the key discussion forum for high-level business leaders from across Latin America and beyond. Domestic, regional and international financial institutions; local SMEs and global agribusiness companies; policy makers; lawyers, and specialist trade finance risk analysts will be in attendance, keen to discuss the abundance of opportunities and challenges this exciting region holds. With its status as the most comprehensive gathering of trade finance professionals in the region, networking will be a key feature throughout, proving ample opportunity for anyone serious about doing business in Latin America to create new business contacts and build relationships with the market’s main players. Click here for more information.

Indonesia Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2015, 23 April 2015. Jakarta, Indonesia.
GTR’s Indonesia Trade and Commodity Finance Conference will return to Jakarta for its fifth year, providing the key discussion forum for trade finance specialists across Indonesia and beyond. Dedicated discussions and case studies will bring together the decision makers within the market to explore new strategies and address concerns, with the aim to create an action plan that can be used to assist growth and development. Networking will provide an integral aspect of the event, ensuring delegates are able to establish new relationships with those serious about doing business in Indonesia. Click here for more information.

4th Annual Insurance Underwriters Event: Underwriting Risk in Time of Change – 28th April 2015. London.
During this complimentary seminar for insurance underwriters, brokers and risk management professionals, speakers from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, and Platts will discuss macroeconomic issues that could potentially impact the lending and underwriting exposure of insurance companies. Presentations will include: “Stars Aligning for a Stronger Economic Outlook” - Jean-Michel Six, European Chief Economist, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services; “Beyond Oil Prices: How are global commodities performing, and the impact on different sectors” - Jorge Montepeque, Global Director, Market Reporting, Platts; “Underwriting Risk Challenges in the Current Economic and Political Climate” - Panel Discussion. For more information and to register visit www.spcapitaliq-credit.com/insurance-underwriters-event-2015 or e-mail emea-marketing@spcapitaliq.com.

GTR Europe Trade & Export Finance Conference, 5-6 May. Hamburg, Germany.
GTR Supply Chain Masterclass, Tuesday 5 May.
These initiatives take place at a number of GTR events worldwide, providing highly specialised training sessions whereby participants make strategic decisions in the simulated management of a fictional, failing, manufacturing company.
GTR Europe Trade & Export Finance Conference 2015, Wednesday, 6 May.
Recognised as the continent’s leading gathering for European trade, export and supply chain finance professionals, this is the central part of the event. With over 200 senior decision makers expected in attendance, representing Europe’s top corporates, financial service organisations, policy makers and more, networking will form an essential part of proceedings. Click here for more information.

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.

East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2015, 14-15 May. Nairobi, Kenya.
GTR is delighted to announce its return to Nairobi for the East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2015, forming the largest gathering of trade finance specialists in the region. Over 200 business leaders are expected to attend to explore key issues, challenges and the latest developments facing East Africa and beyond. Networking will form a fundamental aspect of the event where delegates can form new relationships and renew old contacts before the conference; through the GTR online networking site, during the conference through the dedicated networking sessions and finally the drinks reception. Click here for more information.

Natural Resources & Commodities Finance 2015, 20-21 May, De La Mar Theatre, Amsterdam.
Returning for its second year, Natural Resources and Commodities Finance 2015 will take TXF's dynamic approach to the standard conference format a step further. Incorporating capped-attendance idea labs, small workshop groups, games, panel sessions and the TXF duels, the event looks to address the following questions: Is traditional commodity finance dying? The Big Energy Debate: How do we find a way out of the current market volatility? What are traders’ treasury strategies for the next few years? What is behind the increasing number of prepayment arrangements and where have all the PXFs gone?
TXF will be joined by a global range of traders, producers, financiers, investors, economists, academics and consultants to discuss these issues. Please use promo code ‘C-insure’ to qualify for a 10% discount when booking. For more information or to book please click here.

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 contact STECIS by sending an e-mail to info@stecis.org or call +31 20 528 5170.

Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
UK businesses reveal the scope of late payment problems. According to Hilton Baird's latest Late Payment Survey, almost a third of the time (31%) British businesses spend on credit control is spent chasing overdue debt and 30% now classify more than 10% of their debtor book as over 90 days old. In addition, as a direct result of poor payment practices, almost one in three (30%) have had to increase borrowing, nearly one in five (19%) had to delay payments to HM Revenue & Customs, while one in ten were forced to turn away new business. And, it appears that the problem is worsening. The annual survey showed that the average invoice is now paid 22.5 days beyond agreed credit terms - the longest recorded delay since the survey began in 2011. To view Hilton Baird's news release go to http://www.hiltonbaird.co.uk/Business-Finance-Blog/416/Businesses-reveal-scope-of-late-payment-problems/. A link to the full report is given. A handy videographic which highlights some of the headline stats is also available at http://www.hiltonbaird.co.uk/Business-Finance-Blog/417/Videographic-Late-Payment-Survey-at-a-glance/.

Top 10 global retailers show modest growth in 2014. According to the Global Powers of Retailing report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited in conjunction with STORES Media, revenues for the world’s top 10 largest retailers reached $1.3 trillion in the last fiscal year. This is a 2.9% increase from the prior year indicating modest growth. The report also found that the average size of the top 10 retailers exceeded $129 billion and half of top 10 retailers are US-based companies. Walmart remained the world's largest retailer, with retail revenue totaling 4.5 times that of its nearest competitor. Costco moved into second place in 2013 from third in 2012, continuing its ascent up the ranking. Carrefour, Schwarz Group, Tesco and Kroger then ranked in marginal descending order. To view Deloitte's news release go to http://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/about-deloitte-uk/articles/consumerbusiness.html.

UK SMEs issue call to arms against big business bullies. A major new poll from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has revealed that the growth of UK SMEs is being undermined by spiralling costs of doing business, suffocating red tape and bullying tactics from big businesses. 70% of respondents stated that behavioural late payment had been a problem in the last 12 months. The poll also revealed a major crisis of trust in big business amongst British SMEs, with utilities companies (79%) and banks (69%) singled out as the least likely to take responsibility for their actions by small and medium sized business owners. By contrast, the majority of SMEs (80%) believe that the UK’s larger private family-owned firms are the most trustworthy enterprises. To view the FPB's news release go to https://www.fpb.org/press/march-2015/uk-smes-issue-call-arms-against-big-business-bullies.

Small firms have little confidence in the Prompt Payment Code, says FSB. New research published from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests that only one in five (21%) FSB members are confident that the Prompt Payment code will be enough to address the UK's poor payment culture. Two fifths (39%) of businesses questioned were on average offered terms longer than 30 days for payment, and 43% said they have waited over 90 days beyond the agreed payment date before they got the money they are owed. In December 2014, the FSB also revealed that almost one in five small businesses had been subject to some form of supply chain bulling and 5% had experienced the so called ‘pay to stay' practice used by Premier Foods, who asked suppliers to pay a flat fee in order to be considered for future contracts. To view the FSB's news release go to http://www.fsb.org.uk/News.aspx?loc=pressroom&rec=8933.

New Prompt Payment Code website and principles launched. The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) has advised that signatories of the UK's Prompt Payment Code (PPC) will have received a letter announcing the formal launch of the new PPC website and confirming that, in addition to existing Prompt Payment Code principles, the Code will also now promote 30-day payment terms as the norm and include a maximum 60-day payment term (defined as paying 95% of invoices within 60 days, unless there are exceptional circumstances). In addition, signatories will be required to avoid any payment practices that are grossly unfair and adversely affect their suppliers, and to report on payment performance annually for small and medium sized signatories, (on a comply or explain basis), and half-yearly (for large signatories). A new Compliance Board has also been appointed with a monitoring and enforcement role. To view the CICM's news release go to http://www.cicm.com/joint-bis-cicm-prompt-payment-code-news/.

The outlook for UK retailers is looking brighter. According to the latest CBI monthly Distributive Trades survey, UK retail sales recovered in the year to March after last month’s disappointing figures. The survey of 126 firms showed that after sales growth ground to a near halt in February, volumes grew solidly in March and are expected to grow at a broadly similar pace in April. Sales growth for chemists reached a near 17-year high, while furniture and carpets businesses also reported decent growth. In contrast, sales were flat among grocers and fell in footwear & leather.  Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Director for Economics, said: “The outlook ahead is looking bright. . . However, the retail sector isn’t in the clear yet, with some companies, especially food retailers, still feeling the heat from stiff price competition.” To view the CBI's news release go to http://news.cbi.org.uk/news/retail-growth-bounces-back-cbi/.

Late Payment bullies liable for compensation claims in £millions. Lovetts is warning major businesses who have consistently paid their suppliers late that they could be liable for compensation claims amounting to millions of pounds. The warning comes as the Groceries Code Adjudicator launches an investigation into Tesco and its late payment practices to its suppliers, and the government announces plans to bring in tough new laws and bulk up existing codes of practice to tackle the issues of late payment. Lovetts has calculated that businesses that consistently pay their suppliers late, in particular large businesses with a significant number of suppliers such as Tesco, could face compensation claims amounting to over £60 million should their agreements be subject to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. To view Lovetts's news release go to https://www.lovetts.co.uk/news/Late-Payment-Bullies-liable-for-Compensation-Claims-in-millions.aspx.

Positive UK GDP figures mean the UK's GDP is now 3.7% above its pre-crisis peak.The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has advised that it has revised UK GDP growth in Q4 2014 up from 0.5% to 0.6%. Annual GDP for 2014 as a whole is now estimated to have grown by 2.8%, revised up 0.2%. This mean Britain's GDP is now 3.7% above its pre-crisis peak. To view the ONS' latest figures go to http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/naa2/quarterly-national-accounts/q4-2014/index.html.
Adapted from data from the Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0.

New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore remain the four leading global financial centres. The latest Global Financial Centers Index (by the Z/Yen Group) has shown that New York continues to be the leading global financial centre, with London - which is only one point behind on the 1,000 point scale - in second place. Hong Kong and Singapore are in 3rd and 4th place respectively. Tokyo, in fifth place, is 32 points behind the leaders, while Zurich is the next European centre in sixth place. Overall, 43 financial centres climbed in the ranks, 30 centres declined and 8 centres experienced no change. Dublin climbed furthest, up 18 places to 52nd. To view the Z/Yen Group's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.zyen.com/research/gfci.html.

Career Opportunities:
Senior Political Risk Underwriter, London. Salary to £90,000.
Well recognised market in London is seeking an outgoing and knowledgeable individual to join their established team. The role will see you writing a variety of risks across banks, traders and corporates. The client are keen to grow their exposure to Corporate (CEN/CCP/CR) and Trader (CF/CR) business therefore knowledge of the products written for these would be preferential to exclusively Bank experience. This sits within a global team who can offer both local career progression as well as international opportunity. Its key that you bring a strong network of contacts within the London Market and experience of the risks placed therein. Candidates who are presently broking within the London market will also be considered. Contact Kerren Leach on 0207 092 3283 or email kerren.leach@eamesconsulting.com for a confidential discussion.

Senior Underwriter, Credit and Political Risk team. London. Salary @£50,000 - £80,00 with full benefits package
Large international insurer is currently looking for a new Senior Underwriter to join its Credit and Political Risk team. The role will include underwriting complex insurance within Political Risk and Trade Credit, implementing Underwriting strategy and assisting development of account and managing customer and broker relationships. Some overseas travel will be required. To be considered, you will have several years' experience underwriting, specifically in credit and political risk. A Knowledge of UK, international and emerging markets and strong numerical and communication skills is necessary. To apply, please contact Ben Wade (ben.wade@reedglobal.com) or call 0207 220 4777. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

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).

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. It's 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 similar 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).

New Appointments
CIFS has announced that it has a new managing director. Richard Marriage was a co-founder of CIFS in 2000 and is one of the formative influences in its early development. Richard describes his management style as: “sleeves rolled up, lead from the front, and direct engagement with all members of the team – I’ve learned that you can’t manage by email.”

AIG Trade Credit London has announced 5 new additions to its team. Terri-Louise Osborn and Tom Bryant have joined AIG as a Corporate Manager and Senior Underwriter respectively. Terri has 8 years experience in credit insurance after starting her career on the Graduate Scheme at Euler Hermes in 2007, while Tom most recently worked for QBE and Stemcor as a credit analyst. Other joiners include: Duarte Pedreira, who has joined AIG as a Corporate Manager following a career in corparate financing, Gearóid Finnerty who joins as an Underwriter from Atradius Re within the eBonded Team and Michel Meylacq who has recently graduated from Manchester Business School.

AIG has announced that Christian Guhl has joined their German team as Head of Risk. Before joining AIG, Mr Guhl worked for 6 years at GE Capital where he was Head of Enterprise Risk Management. At AIG Trade Credit he will oversee the portfolio development in Germany, Switzerland and Austria and a growing team of specialised underwriters. The Frankfurt Trade Credit underwriting team also welcomes Patrick Lang, who is going to commence shortly in his role as Senior Risk Underwriter. Patrick was previously an underwriter at Aspen Re in the trade credit, surety and political risk lines sector.

Solunion has appointed Laurent Treilhes to the position of Country Manager of Solunion Spain, effective 1 April 2015. Mr Treilhes will report to Fernando Pérez-Serrabona, CEO of Solunion for Spain and Latin America.

About this issue's sponsor: XS Reserve
XS Reserve is a new approach to credit risk funding.XS Reserve is a new approach to credit risk funding.
XS Reserve is an innovative and flexible new product designed to support Treasurers/senior financial managers seeking to stabilize cash flow and reduce operating costs. By cash funding receivables volatility, XSR avoids the need for expensive standby liquidity facilities to cover bad debt losses. The insurance cover responds to losses as they arise up to the full contract value from day one, but importantly allows reserves to be developed without incurring the ‘sunk cost’ of ground up credit insurance cover, and so compliments AIG’s XOL cover.

The basic structure
  • Agreed level of reserve funded by monthly increments over a period of up to 3 years
    - Full loss payable from outset irrespective of funding to that date
    - Reserve assignable to third party (including bank/trade financier)
    - Reserve remains an asset in insured’s accounts (with lien to underwriter in        event of loss)
    - Cumulative balance reverts to insured subject loss experience over period
  • New approach to funding deductibles can also be applied to cover captive programme ‘risk gap’
  • Acts as alternative to standby LoCs
  • Enables enhanced advance rates on funding programs

  • Businesses can access a more cost effective XOL trade credit solution rather than pay away for the sunk cost of ground up cover, while still benefitting from immediate credit risk mitigation
  • Businesses don’t have to worry about finding emergency cash funds if they face unexpected losses falling within the deductible
  • Trade Credit XS Reserve can support businesses’ bank funding by providing banks with immediate cash collateral
  • Once the reserve has been built up it can be used to establish a captive for the business to serve other lines of insurance business

The product was designed by Alastair Malcolm who had previously created the concept of XoL credit onsurance. He and David McKibbin developed the idea to meet the growing gap created by the withdrawal of banks from lending and the provision of credit following the financial crisis.

For further information: www.xsreserve.com

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If you are interested in sponsoring an issue in 2015 see our sponsorship page for further information.
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