Welcome to issue 79 of Credit Insurance News Digest. This issue is kindly sponsored by Atradius.
Credit Insurance News
A widespread culture of late payment at global level. Atradius' latest Payment Practices Barometer has found that nearly 90% of survey respondents in Asia Pacific have  experienced late payment of invoices from their domestic and foreign B2B customers over the past year. These findings, which are consistent with observations in the Americas and in Europe, point to a widespread culture of late payment at a global level. Across most of the countries in the Asia Pacific region, the percentage of respondents by country reporting late payment does not vary significantly compared to the survey average (with the notable exceptions of Australia (81%) and Japan (57%)). The average total value of domestic past due invoices is the highest in India at 54.5% and the lowest in Japan at 25%. Late payment of foreign invoices occurs most often in Australia (57.6%) and least often in Japan (24.8%). To read Atradius' news release go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/payment-practices-barometer-asia-pacific-2016.html.
Country Specific Payment Practices Barometers are also available for the following: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan
High claims and decreasing premiums: latest statistics reflect an increasingly complex market for credit insurers. The Berne Union has published, 'The tipping point', an article by William Clark, head of UK trade credit at AIG, which remarks that the trade credit insurance industry reached an inflection point in 2015 when claims reached their highest level since the global financial crisis and total premiums declined for the first time in some years. Berne Union statistics show that short-term credit insurers paid $2.58 billion in claims in 2015, up from $2 billion in 2014, with significant increases in claims paid in markets such as Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Mexico. In addition, although the market experienced growth in the overall number of policyholders, there was a decrease in short-term global export credit insurance premiums to $1.6 trillion in 2015, down from $1.7 trillion in 2014. In order to move beyond the tipping point, Mr. Clark warns that in the current challenging operating environment, the pressure is on the insurers to add more capacity as well as to continue to innovate and attract new policyholders. To read the Berne Union's article go to http://www.berneunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BU-Yearbook-2016.pdf.
The political and economic consequences if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election. Global Trade has published an article, 'Rising political risks in developed countries, particularly in Europe', which reports that Coface has published a study on the economic effects of rising political risks in Europe. The study finds that over the past year, political risks have risen by an average of 13 points in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The report also warns that a further political shock on the same scale as Brexit would affect European growth by -0.5 points. For example, Coface predicts that if Donald Trump wins the US presidential elections, the economic shock could be more greatly felt in the EU than in the US. Europe would effectively lose around two growth points after one year, whereas the US would lose 1.5 points. To read Global Trade's article go to http://www.globaltrademag.com/eu-trade/rising-political-risks-developed-countries-particularly-europe?gtd=3850&scn=rising-political-risks-developed-countries-particularly-europe.
Annual trade volume growth to stay below 4%. According to a new report by Euler Hermes, 'Trade wars: the force weakens', global trade growth will weaken to +2.1% by volume in 2016, with a negligible acceleration of +3.1% in 2017. “Between 2014 and 2016, the world lost US$3129 billion in exchanged goods and services - nearly the GDP of Germany,” commented Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Euler Hermes. “And unfortunately, there is little hope that trade will recover fully to the pre-financial crisis tempo, even after 2017.” Looking ahead, Euler Hermes predicts that real global trade will likely grow below +4% per year, even in the medium term. To read Euler Hermes' news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-global-trade-10242016.aspx.
Customer service innovation is key for trade credit market. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Innovation key for trade credit market', in which Hugh Burke, Chief Commercial Officer of Coface Asia Pacific, said that while innovation will be important as the market develops, new products are not on the cards. Bhupesh Gupta, CEO of Coface in Asia Pacific, agreed that it will be unlikely to see trade credit insurers devise innovative ways to take on more risk. Instead, he noted that insurers in the space will look to work on customer experience as a market differentiator and noted that it will be important to define innovation. “We are going to try and make things faster, quicker and smarter for people and I think innovation is going to be around that.” To read Insurance Business' article go to http://www.insurancebusinessonline.com.au/au/news/breaking-news/innovation-key-for-trade-credit-market-225439.aspx.
Trade credit insurance is still in its infancy in Russia. Astreos Credit's latest Overview reported that trade credit insurance in the Russian Federation is still a relatively new type of business. The first contract was signed in the early 2000's, but it is only in the last five to six years that that there has been an active investment phase of international players and serious development in this direction. Despite this, the market penetration rate remains very low. The cumulative number of signed agreements is only slightly higher than 1200 policies and demonstrates the enormous potential for the development of this class in the coming years. Currently, the main users of trade credit insurance are subsidiaries of international companies operating in accordance with their own corporate standards. Astreos Credit estimates that the total premium in 2015 year was €45.7 million. To read Astreos Credit's Overview go to http://www.astreos-credit.com/single-post/2016/10/30/Overview-Of-Credit-Insurance-In-Russia.
Blockchain technology offers the opportunity to reinvent trade credit insurance. GTR (Global Trade Review) has published an article, 'Fluent teams up with Euler Hermes on trade platform', which reports that Blockchain solution provider, Fluent, has partnered with Euler Hermes to offer single transaction credit insurance on its Trade Asset Marketplace. Through the partnership, Fluent will use Euler Hermes’ application program interface (API)-based Single Invoice Cover. Fluent co-founder and Marketing Director Casey Lawlor told GTR: “With Euler Hermes’ credit solution, you can receive a quote for single coverage insurance in real time and then purchase the insurance. This enables our marketplace model, where a bank could purchase the insurance to keep the risk on their books or a non-bank lender could purchase it to cover a riskier receivables purchase.” Christophe Spoerry, co-founder of the Euler Hermes Digital Agency, commented: "Blockchain technology offers the opportunity to reinvent trade credit insurance and to grow safely.” To read GTR's article go to http://www.gtreview.com/news/americas/fluent-teams-up-with-euler-hermes-on-trade-asset-platform/.
Australia’s small business sector reports that late payments are causing headaches. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Here's the message from Australia's small business sector - please pay your bills', which reports that two separate surveys show that Australia’s small business sector is finding that late payments are causing headaches. The latest SME Snapshot from MYOB shows that 77% of respondents have been impacted by late payments and there is overwhelming support for a code of conduct for business payments. Separately, the results of Atradius' latest Payment Practices Barometer for Australia has found that 84% of respondents reported late payment of invoices by domestic and foreign B2B customers over the past year. On average, half of the total value of B2B receivables, remained unpaid after the due date. To read Insurance Business' article go to http://www.businessinsider.com.au/heres-the-message-from-australias-small-business-sector-please-pay-your-bills-2016-10.
Stability in developed countries and slight improvements in emerging economies. Global Trade has published an article, 'Coface Country Rating downgrades triggered by Brexit and falling oil revenues', which reports that a recent analysis by Coface has found that the high degree of uncertainty in the global economy is affecting the financial health of companies and weak global trade activity means that a strong growth recovery is unlikely. Among developed economies stable growth is forecast for the near-term at 1.6% in 2016 and 1.5% in 2017. An improvement is expected, however, among emerging economies, with an increase in GDP growth from 3.7% in 2016, to 4.2% in 2017. Financial indicators are also showing a reversal in Brazil and Russia, which are expected to exit their recessions in 2017. To read Global Trade's article go to http://www.globaltrademag.com/global-trade-daily/coface-country-rating-downgrades-triggered-brexit-falling-oil-revenues?gtd=3850&scn=coface-country-rating-downgrades-triggered-brexit-falling-oil-revenues.
40% of suppliers in Asia Pacific anticipate increasing the use of credit management tools. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Asia-Pac businesses worried over cash flow protection', which reports that a new Payment Practices Barometer from Atradius has found that more businesses in Asia Pacific are focusing on protecting their receivables’ portfolio from customers’ late payment. The Barometer showed that around 40% of the suppliers surveyed in the region anticipate increasing their use of credit management tools to protect against the late payments of B2B customers over the next year. About 50% plan to increasingly monitor their customers’ creditworthiness and payment history. To read the article go to http://www.insurancebusinessonline.com.au/au/news/breaking-news/asiapac-businesses-worried-over-cash-flow-protection-225542.aspx.
Credit Insurance market in Canada valued at C$200 million with significant potential for growth. Atradius, a member of the Receivables Insurance Association of Canada, has produced an overview of credit insurance for the Canadian market. This includes the types of credit insurance policies available, the revenue opportunities and competitive advantages that credit insurance provides. The video advises that although the Canadian market for credit insurance is currently valued at over $200 million - and has posted steady growth from $20 million in 1990 - with a realistic penetration rate the overall market size could be four times larger. Atradius also estimates that the median policy size in the Canadian market is currently C$35,000, the minimum is C$7,500 and some very large policies have premiums in the millions. The potential for Canadian brokers is significant. To watch the video go to http://www2.atradius.us/brokerresources.
Vast potential for trade credit insurance and political risk solutions in the US. Markel has published an article, 'It’s a big bad world out there...', which notes that credit and political risk insurance market penetration in the US is only a fraction of that in Europe. Markel suggests a number of reasons for this: historically, for example, US businesses have been willing to take on more risks than those in Europe and, traditionally, have protected themselves from exposure to credit risks by having broader developed credit management capabilities than would typically be found elsewhere. They have also been less exposed to credit risks by the fact that the US has been primarily a domestic market. However, in recent times, the increase of globalisation and the effects of the Basel III regulatory framework has resulted in more companies becoming exposed to credit risks outside the US economy. Banks are also increasingly requiring trade credit cover to support capital relief solutions and to protect financing they have arranged for their corporate clients. As a result, Markel advises the market potential for trade credit insurance solutions is now vast. To read Markel's article go to http://www.markelinternational.com/regions/london-market/Markel-news-Oct-16/going-global/?dm_i=19BZ,4KRGT,C20B4B,GZJW5,1.
European companies fear increase of high-risk customers. Atradius Collections has released the 10th edition of the Global Collections Review examining the collections behaviour of companies across 30 countries. The report also looks at potential future developments regarding the services offered by debt collection agencies while identifying the factors that influence the collection process. According to the Review, although the majority of European companies do not expect a significant change in the quality of their customers’ portfolios, they do expect an increase in payment delays, a deterioration of the credit risk situation and an increase in high-risk customers. In contrast, companies in the Americas and Asia Pacific appear to be more positive, expecting improvements in the ability of their customers to pay invoices on time due to expected improvements in the liquidity position of buyers. To read Atradius' news release with a link to the full report go to https://atradiuscollections.com/global/press/european-companies-fear-increase-of-high-risk-customers.html.
The credit insurance industry should look outside its usual insurance skill set. Insurance Business has published an article, 'Making the leap to Insurance' which describes how Bhupesh Gupta, the recently appointed CEO of Coface Asia Pacific, made his recent move from banking to credit insurance. As an insurance newcomer, Mr. Gupta stresses that the industry should do more to look outside its usual insurance skill set and suggests that while many companies look for industry experience when filling a junior or senior role, it will be important for the industry to look elsewhere. “To start doing that is a good thing but what it also does is bring in fresh blood, fresh thought and also a greater connectivity to different industries that we may not already have in the insurance industry.” To read the article on Insurance Business' website go to http://www.insurancebusinessonline.com.au/au/news/breaking-news/making-the-leap-to-insurance-225635.aspx.
The true implications of Brexit for UK automotive manufacturers remain to be seen. Atradius' latest Market Monitor report for the UK automotive industry has reported that the near-term outlook for the industry remains positive. Among the global manufacturers investing in UK production are Bentley, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover and MINI - all with new products due to roll-off production lines. Overseas demand for cars produced in the UK is also expected to remain robust in the coming months. Payments in the UK automotive industry take 60 days on average, protracted payments are rare and - compared to other UK industries - the sector’s default and insolvency rate is good. Despite this, Atradius warns that in the longer-term, it remains to be seen how Brexit will impact UK automotive manufacturers. Currently 57% of cars made in the UK are exported to EU countries; leaving the EU could mean that European export tariffs would make producing cars in the UK more expensive. To read Atradius' Market Monitor for the UK go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/market-monitor-automotive-united-kingdom-2016.html.
Individual Country specific reports on the automotive industry are also available for: the US, France, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey. 
A condensed view of country risk assessments published by Atradius, Coface, Credimundi and Euler Hermes. AU Group has released its latest AU G Grade for quarter 4 2016 to provide an at-a-glance picture of major trends and the levels of risk for 140 countries. The G Grade is based on the individual assessment of a country by each of the four main credit insurers, Atradius, Coface, Credimundi and Euler Hermes, but condensed and presented as a single score. In this report, 9 countries have seen their country risk evolve significantly this quarter, with positive trends for Portugal and Columbia and negative trends for Oman, Mongolia and the UK. To download a copy of the report go to http://www.au-group.com/how-to-monitor-country-risks.
Europe’s Chemical Sector: Low production costs and healthy profits challenged by global demand and US competition. Euler Hermes' latest report on the chemical's sector has warned that European chemical companies should not rest on their laurels. Marc Livinec, author of the report, commented: “It is definitely practical, and in some cases even crucial, to buy essential materials at much lower prices. But a short-term reliance on low energy costs offsetting the uncertainties around Brexit’s possible consequences for the sector, or weak global trade, could misfire in the long term. The bleak global trade outlook is squeezing growth in European production, which at +1.3% in 2016 and 1.1% in 2017 is not exactly rosy. Despite their size, even European chemical companies are not immune to slowdowns.” In contrast, chemical companies in the USA are still benefiting from a strong tailwind and the shale gas revolution (gas prices are twice as low as in Europe), is giving US companies a competitive edge. To read Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/press-release-chemical-industry-102716.aspx.
Trade Credit and Political Risk cover in a volatile world. Markel has published an article which warns that the global economic environment is increasingly impacted by political events, making political risk insurance more relevant than ever. In consequence, Markel reports that it is committed to developing its contract frustration book and also aims to take advantage of new opportunities that the uncertainty in the market has brought, in particular as new sovereigns, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, access the international capital markets. Markel has also been authorised to write financial guarantee non-trade business, a growing requirement for banks, through the Lloyd’s platform; a complement to similar developments including confiscation coverage, extended tenors and structured trade credit. To read Markel's article go to http://www.markelinternational.com/regions/london-market/Markel-news-Oct-16/political-risk/?dm_i=19BZ,4KRGT,C20B4B,GZJW5,1.
The Berne Union publishes its 2016 yearbook. The Berne Union has announced that it has published its annual publication for 2016. The new report provides up-to-date information about Berne Union members (including business covered, premium income and total exposure, with figures shown on a consolidated basis), as well as the current policies and strategies of international economic institutions. The publication also features topical articles on export credit and investment insurance issues by Berne Union members and leading international financial institutions. To read a copy go to http://www.berneunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BU-Yearbook-2016.pdf.
The top myth about trade credit insurance busted. Mark Jomaa, Trade Credit Insurance Advisor at Coface in Canada, has published an article on LinkedIn in which he describes how one of the chief misconceptions in the business community is that credit insurance is expensive. "Decision makers are either under the impression that it costs more than it actually does or do not appreciate the policy’s potential for making money, saving money and saving time for the business." He advises that the blame for this lies with the credit insurance sector which, "is doing itself a disservice by not raising enough awareness to correct this view." To read Mr Jomaa's LinkedIn article go to https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-myth-trade-credit-insurance-busted-mark-jomaa-mba.
Credendo Group's classification for Argentine commercial risk remains in the lowest category. Credendo Group's latest Country Risk Assessment reports that although Argentina experienced an economic boom in 2003 - 2011 (economic growth averaged 6%), with the end of the commodity boom the last few years have seen an economic downturn set in. According to the IMF, GDP shrank by 2.5% in 2014 before rebounding by 2.5% in 2015, while inflation amounted to well over 20%. Recession is also predicted in 2016 with real GDP growth of -1.8%, and a return to growth of 2.7% from 2017 onwards. For now, with the economy in recession and the depreciated currency rendering foreign-exchange-denominated liabilities more burdensome, the Credendo Group classification for Argentine commercial risk has remained in the lowest category, C. To read Credendo's detailed report go to http://cdn.flxml.eu/i-ec1559884413cf694c2013291c465d4607bac72fb412740b502c469f471a7295.
Organisations in Asia Pacific lose 50% of the total value of their trade receivables that aren’t paid within 90 days of the due date. Business Business Business has published an article, 'Five ways credit insurance can protect your cashflow', in which Mark Hoppe, Managing Director (Australia), describes five key ways in which trade credit insurance can protect cashflow: 1) loss recovery, 2) early warning, 3) fit for business cover, 4) enhanced credit management, 5) liquid funds. Mr. Hoppe also warns that organisations in Asia Pacific lose, on average, 50% of the total value of their trade receivables that aren’t paid within 90 days of the due date. “A credit insurance policy can cover for these losses and protect the cashflow.” To read Business Business Business' article go to https://www.businessbusinessbusiness.com.au/five-ways-credit-insurance-can-protect-cashflow/.
Trade successfully with China webinar. On 15 November 2016 at 10.00 CET, Atradius has announced that it will host a webinar that looks at the opportunities available for trade with China and how to safely transact business. A panel of experts will be led by the award winning financial journalist and broadcaster Adam Shaw. For more information and to register for the webinar go to https://group.atradius.com/publications/trade-successfully-with-china-webinar-2016.html.
Digitalisation and trade credit insurance. The Berne Union has published, 'Digitalisation: One aspect of the future of short term credit insurance', an article by Olaf Lipinski, Regional Director of Risk Management, Euler Hermes World Agency, which examines the impact of digitalisation on short-term credit insurance. This will include taking communication between insurer and policyholders to the next level; clients will expect more information about credit limits of buyers and on the markets of the buyers, while access to this information may be required at any time. Modes of payment may also change in the future, with initiatives such as blockchain technology as just one example of the array of emerging trends which the trade credit insurance market needs to understand. In addition, new sources of information will become available which will impact the way credit insurance assesses companies. To read the Berne Union's article go to http://www.berneunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BU-Yearbook-2016.pdf.
And Finally . . .
Over £58,000 raised for Royal Marsden Cancer Charity by the trade credit insurance community. The Nexus CIFS Trade Credit dinner took place at Old Billingsgate on 3 November in aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.  Over £58,000 was raised. Amanda Heaton from the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity commented: "This is a staggering total of money raised for us in one evening - everyone was so amazingly generous - and I was blown away with the amounts they were bidding in the auction! The money raised last night is a terrific morale booster to all our fundraising efforts which go to helping people during a very challenging time in their lives, so we are all extremely grateful.” Click here for more details and photos of the evening.
Business Information
European businesses are accepting longer payment terms. Intrum Justitia's 2016 edition of The European Payment Industry White Paper, indicates that in Europe as a whole 15% of those surveyed see an increasing risk from debtors, while almost three quarters expect their debtors to remain stable over the next 12 months. Most worries are found in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector - where 22% said they see an increased risk. The survey also finds that there is a disquieting trend for European businesses to accept longer payment terms, with, on average, 46% of businesses reporting having been asked to accept longer payment terms than they feel comfortable with and an equal number having accepted longer payment terms. To read Intrum Justitia's news release (which contains details on how to register for the full report) go to https://www.intrum.com/en/about-us/newsroom/european-payment-industry-white-paper-2016/.
The Implications of a 'Hard Brexit' to the UK Economy? D&B Has published an article, 'What are the Implications of a 'Hard Brexit' to the UK Economy?' which reports that it is becoming more and more evident that the British government is heading for what the media are calling a 'hard Brexit'. D&B warns that hard Brexit would have a significantly higher adverse business impact than a soft Brexit and, against the backdrop of elevated levels of political uncertainty, advises the British economy is likely to enter much choppier waters in the next few months. This will lead to a deceleration of growth, and the pound will remain weak for the foreseeable future. D&B previously lowered the UK’s risk rating by two notches from DB2a to DB2c immediately after the referendum, but, in light of more recent circumstances, there has been a further downgrade in UK’s risk rating to DB2d. This rating further maintains the country's deteriorating outlook, whilst also highlighting the risk of further downgrades in the months ahead. To read D&B's article go to https://www.dnb.co.uk/perspectives/economic-insights/implications-of-a-hard-brexit-on-the-uk-economy.html.
Uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU is slowing down export orders in the UK services sector. The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with DHL, has published its latest Quarterly International Trade Outlook, which indicates that uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU is slowing down export orders in the UK services sector. The services sector saw a slowdown in growth, with the balance of businesses in the sector expecting an improvement in sales and orders also falling to its lowest level in five years. In contrast, the report also shows that a greater proportion of manufacturers enjoyed an improved export performance compared with the second quarter, with some benefiting from sterling’s recent fall. Commenting on the findings, Adam Marshall, BCC Director General, said: “While factors including the weaker pound have benefited manufacturers when it comes to exporting, the services sector continues to face challenges. The slowing in export orders in the services sector is concerning considering the sector is by far the largest part of the economy." To read the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-boost-sme-export-support-to-navigate-uncertainty.html.
UK's economic forecast is unchanged for 2016, but slower growth is predicted over the next two years. The CBI has advised that its growth forecast in 2016 is unchanged at 2%, reflecting a stronger first half of the year and resilience in the months since the referendum, but has predicted weaker economic performance in 2017 - revising down its GDP growth forecast to 1.3%, from 2% in the previous forecast (May 2016). Economic uncertainty is expected to hit business investment, which accounts for a significant element of the downgrade. Furthermore, rising inflation is expected to affect household spending, further curbing economic growth. To read the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/news/economic-forecast-unchanged-for-2016-but-slower-growth-predicted-over-next-two-years/.
EU and UK business optimism sees a dramatic fall post-EU referendum. New research by Grant Thornton has identified a significant drop in UK business confidence following the UK's vote to leave the EU. The firm's International Business Report recorded a -19% drop in net business optimism in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, and a -46% drop from the same period last year. The survey of businesses in 36 economies, conducted in August and September, also identified a loss of confidence across the EU, with optimism dropping -7% in the quarter, with Ireland (-24%), France (-18%) and Spain (-19%) amongst some of the trading bloc's biggest drops. To read Grant Thornton's news release go to http://www.grantthornton.co.uk/en/news-centre/uk-business-optimism-sees-dramatic-fall-post-eu-referendum/.
Christmas/New Year period could turn out to be as risky as the carnage in 2008/09 for UK retailers. Opus Business Services has issued a news release which advises that new research by Kantar has revealed that UK shoppers spent £700 million less on clothing, shoes and accessories in the year to September 2016 and that the period ended with four successive months of falling sales - the sharpest decline since 2009. Opus adds that the UK retail sector is experiencing a pernicious pincer effect on its already vulnerable profitability as top line income falls and the weakness of sterling drives up the cost of the imported goods retailers sell. To make matters worse, a huge hike in business rates in high-density city centres and shopping malls comes into effect next April. In consequence, Opus warns that the forthcoming Christmas/New Year period could turn out to be as risky as the carnage in 2008/09. To read Opus Business Services' news release go to http://www.opusllp.com/theres-nothing-fashionable-about-the-uk-retail-sector-since-the-brexit-vote/.
Retailers closing 15 stores a day as the UK high street continues to reshape. In the first six months of 2016, 2,656 shops closed on Great Britain’s high streets - a rate of 15 stores a day, PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC) reveals. This is a slight increase on the 14 stores a day reported to have closed in the first six months of 2015. However, the number of new openings has also fallen, leading to a net 503 stores disappearing from high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in the first half of 2016 - the highest net decline since H1 2012 (when 953 more stores closed than opened). The data also reveals that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres, fashion shops, banks, mobile phone shops, and women’s clothing shops have been amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2016. To read PwC's news release go to http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2016/10/retailers-closing-15-stores-a-day-as-the-high-street-continues-to-reshape-says-pwc-and-the-local-data-company.html.
German SMEs most optimistic as the international economy responds to Brexit. Germany’s small businesses are the most optimistic about their own economy according to the inaugural Global Business Monitor report from Bibby Financial Services (BFS). 73% of German SMEs say their national economy is performing well in the global study that surveyed business owners in the US, Germany, UK, Poland, Hong Kong and Ireland. Irish SMEs came second, with 67% of SMEs confident about the local economy. Conversely, less than one in five businesses in Hong Kong (15%) say they are confident about their local economy, with less than a quarter (24%) expecting sales to increase in the next 12 months. To read BFS' news release go to https://www.bibbyfinancialservices.com/press/news/2016/global-business-monitor-2016.
New Zealand is first in ease of doing business among 190 economies. The latest analysis from the World Bank on the ease of doing business, Doing Business 2017, has advised that it has awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand. Singapore ranks second, followed by: Denmark; Hong Kong SAR, China; Republic of Korea; Norway; the UK; the US; Sweden and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are: Brunei Darussalam; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Belarus; Indonesia; Serbia; Georgia; Pakistan; United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Doing Business' data also points to continued successes in the ease of doing business worldwide; for example, starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days worldwide, compared with 46 days 10 years ago. To read the report go to http://www.doingbusiness.org/.
21% increase in Invoice Finance funds advanced to large Irish businesses during Q2 2016. Companies registering a turnover of between €10 million and €25 million increased their borrowing through invoice finance by 21% during the second quarter of 2016, according to new figures from the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). ABFA also found that larger companies were advanced €138 million during Q2 2016, compared to €114 million in Q1, making it the fastest growing size of companies in Ireland who utilised invoice finance during the period. To read ABFA's news release go to http://www.abfa.org.uk/news/127/21pc-increase-in-Invoice-Finance-funds-advanced-to-large-Irish-businesses-during-Q2-2016.
UK businesses across nearly every sector of the economy show positive signs of stability following the EU Referendum. According to Begbies Traynor's Red Flag Alert research for Q3 2016, in the three months following the EU Referendum levels of ‘Significant’ distress fell by 6% (to 248,916 companies). 92% of these companies were SMEs. Meanwhile, year-on-year, the number of UK businesses suffering ‘Significant’ financial distress fell 2% across the economy as a whole. According to the research, the most marked improvement in financial health during Q3 2016 was within the UK construction sector, where the number of companies experiencing ‘Significant’ distress fell by 11% to 28,917 (Q2 2016: 32,311 companies). To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to http://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/uk-businesses-remain-resilient-in-the-face-of-brexit.
Export prospects on the up for UK SMEs. Business optimism has edged higher for the UK’s SME manufacturers over the past quarter, and sentiment regarding export prospects for the year ahead has risen strongly, according to the latest CBI Quarterly SME trends survey. The survey reported that total new orders edged up slightly in the three months to October, output rose modestly and exports orders were flat on the quarter (although this marked the first time that they had not fallen since mid-2014). Looking ahead, robust growth in export orders is anticipated over the next three months, with expected growth the strongest since the data series began (in October 1988). To read the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/news/export-prospects-on-the-up-for-small-and-medium-companies/.
UK SMEs yet to see impact of Brexit vote. The latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of the attitudes and priorities of SMEs across the UK, reveals that 73% of firms have seen no effect at all on the performance of their businesses since the Brexit vote. SMEs also remain relatively sanguine about the referendum result; only 44% fear the referendum result may see them lose business in the months and years ahead, while 40% are actually anticipating an increase in business. David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance and Rentals commented that SMEs were taking their time to assess the longer term impact of Brexit and are considering all their options. “It’s clear that despite the pre-referendum warnings, there has not been any calamitous impact on SMEs from the UK’s vote to leave,” he said. “However, SMEs are not complacent and are acutely conscious of the need to monitor both threats and opportunities that may yet come from Brexit.” To read Close Brother's news release go to https://www.closeinvoice.co.uk/news-and-insights/smes-yet-see-impact-brexit-vote.
Brexit uncertainty puts the brake on London businesses. New research from Begbies Traynor reveals that British businesses have shown surprising resilience since the EU Referendum result was announced, with levels of financial distress falling across every region of the UK over the past three months. However, the research also shows that one of the slowest rates of improvement of any region has been within the capital’s business community, suggesting that London could be experiencing a period of stagnation while businesses await confirmation on whether the UK will choose a soft or hard Brexit. Julie Palmer, Partner at Begbies Traynor, commented: “Our data shows that the brakes are being gently applied to the London economy, while the rest of the country speeds ahead." To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to http://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/news/business-health-statistics/brexit-uncertainty-puts-the-brake-on-london-businesses.
Two-thirds of business rescues through Administration fail. Using the analytics function at financial evaluation experts Company Watch, Opus Restructuring has examined the outcomes of all Administration cases in England and Wales, which commenced in the past five years and confirmed that 70% of the attempted rescues failed to save the business on a long-term basis. Nick Hood, Business Risk Adviser at Opus Restructuring, said: “Our research shows that, at best, around only 30% of business rescue attempts through the Administration process are successful. It’s a disappointing result, which reflects the endemic, ostrich-like behaviour of struggling entrepreneurs who wait far too long before admitting they have problems." To read Opus Business Services' news release and access the report go to http://www.opusllp.com/two-thirds-of-business-rescues-through-administration-fail/.
UK SME manufacturing companies forced to hold onto nearly £5 billion in unsold stock. The value of the unsold stock held by SME manufacturing companies has risen to £4.94 billion, putting cash flow under greater strain, reveals research by the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). The ABFA notes that this figure is up from £4.87 billion last year, with the value tied up in unsold stock remaining stubbornly high over the last five years despite hopes that the fragile economic recovery would allow businesses to clear unsold stock. The value of this inventory currently amounts to 16% of the £81 billion annual turnover of SME manufacturers. To read ABFA's news release go to http://www.abfa.org.uk/news/129/SME-manufacturing-companies-forced-to-hold-onto-nearly-GBP5bn-in-unsold-stock.
Career Opportunities
Account Manager, London.
Be the lynch pin between underwriters and broker.
My client is seeking a well versed credit insurance candidate looking for a account manager role is a reputable and well know firm. The role will involve working with the under writing team and the brokers to ensure best resolutions are met in regards to arranging Credit Insurance and utilising the further products lines offered. You will need to have a great foundation and understanding of the credit market as well as being for approachable and a outstanding attention to detail. In return the offer a clear career path the will allow you to grow your own knowledge base as well as career goals in this buoyant market.
For more details please contact mark.keizner@reedglobal.com or call me on 020 7220 4774. 
(Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest in your application).
Client Manager – Aon Credit International (London, UK)
We’re hiring! Aon are currently recruiting a Client Manager to join our Credit International team in London. The Client manager will be primarily responsible for maximising profitable retention revenue through the delivery of top class effective client service and satisfaction.
Headquartered in London, Aon Plc is the leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage and a global leader in human capital and management consulting. Our key advantage is our broad view of the insurance industry. With an employee base of 66,000 people working in 500 offices in more than 120 countries, we can anticipate how changes in one sector affect another.
As a Client Manager some of your key responsibilities will involve: Contribute to developing and leading assigned new existing sales and supports client director with other new existing opportunities. Lead, develop and improve the day to day client relationship.  Manage and co-ordinate all activities. Responsible for “client profile” risks and needs analysis. Produce high quality insurable risks analysis, marketing strategy, market risk presentation, wordings and policy documentation on time. Co-ordination and effective delivery of global service.  Maintain and improve client satisfaction, retention revenue and profitability. Responsible for articulating the value delivered by Aon and supports Client Director with fee negotiation where appropriate.  Represent the whole of Aon and support the Client Director and develop new business in conjunction with other business units. Responsible for adherence to business processes, systems and procedures (including usage of e.g. applicable client service model, SFDC, GRIP, Ri3k/applicable trading platforms and application of Aon insurer security policies where relevant).  Build effective teams by effectively sharing information and communicating with direct reports. Be aware of regulatory requirements, share knowledge of requirements with team and promote compliance within the client team. Effectively manage the performance of direct reports by providing feedback and having monthly one to ones and coaching the client team. Responsible for working in accordance with the Aon UK Limited Risk Management Framework, and compliance with the Aon UK Limited policies, including participation in the management of risks (including completion of mandatory training) that may adversely affect the business, interests or reputation of any Group Company.
As a Client manager your skills and qualifications will ideally include: Proven Account Management skills. Trade credit experience preferred but not essential.   Insurance credit market knowledge preferred but not essential. Finance and/or Banking sector experience (ideally within Account Management).  Consultative sales, business development skills.  Client Relationship Management skills.  Strong Business Acumen.  Understanding of client and industry strategic and financial drivers Understanding of the client, their industry and their risks.  Ability to understand client needs.  Effective communication and presentation skills.  Effective negotiation skills.  Analytical skills.  Effective problem solving skills.  Project management skills.  Ability to use industry IT systems to efficiently deliver client service.  High level of IT proficiency – Word, Excel & PowerPoint.
This role offers a competitive salary and bonus, plus a comprehensive benefits package and 25 days holiday. Through our flexible benefits, you will also have the opportunity to choose additional benefits, including healthcare, childcare vouchers and additional holiday. For further information and to apply for this role, please email your CV and a covering letter to samantha.cook@aon.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest in your application).
New Appointments
Arthur J Gallagher has announced that Rupert Boyle and Nick Ollerenshaw have joined its structured credit and political risks insurance practice as executive directors. They are both based in London and report to Mark Gubbins, managing director of specialist structured credit and political risks.
Coface has announced that it has appointed Pierre Bevierre as Group Human Resources Director with effect from January 2017. Based in Paris, Mr. Bevierre will have overall responsibility for Coface’s key HR processes and policies. He joins Coface from MetLife, where he was Vice President, HR for Central and Eastern Europe, based in Warsaw.
Coface has announced that Franck Marzilli has been appointed as Group Compliance Director, effective in December 2016. Prior to Coface, Mr. Marzilli was Head of Risk Control at Emirates Islamic Bank in Dubai.
Forthcoming Events
Mauritius Trade Finance Conference 2016, 10 November, Port Louis, Mauritius.
Following the highly successful inaugural event which welcomed 220 delegates, GTR’s Mauritius Trade Finance Conference 2016 will return to Port Louis in November. Bringing together the local and international markets, the conference will explore the evolution of the business community in Mauritius, using its strategic location and rapid growth as key points for discussion. Topics will also focus on the role of the trade finance sector in developing the island into the primary trade and financing hub. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15).
Egypt Trade & Export Finance Conference 2016, 15 November. Cairo, Egypt.
Building on its long-standing presence in the Mena region, GTR will hold the Egypt Trade & Export Finance Conference 2016 in Cairo on November 15. Bringing together senior business representatives and trade finance professionals from Egypt and the wider Mena region, this gathering will provide a key platform for those looking to increase trade within the country. Featuring influential speakers from across the trade finance community, including local and international banks, financiers, leading corporates, lawyers, insurers and more, this should be a firm date in the diary for anyone looking to develop trade relationships in Egypt. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15)
BCR’s Alternative & Receivables Finance Forum 2016. 16 November, London.
Now in its 3rd successful year, BCR's Alternative Finance & Receivables Forum is a unique event for established receivables financiers, insurers, fintechs and new SME lending platforms to analyse the rapid evolution of working capital finance. This Forum takes a closer look at corporates' funding requirements and how the current lending landscape is catering to them. The event is also a showcase of the latest technology and how it is enabling access to non-bank sources of funding. Register now to find out how the competitive market for working capital finance is changing in the long term. Credit Insurance News readers qualify for a 10% discount when using the code: CIN10 at the time of booking via this link: http://arf16-tickets.bcrconferences.com/.
West Coast Trade & Working Capital Conference. 17 November, San Jose.
GTR will return to San Jose on November 17 for its West Coast Trade & Working Capital Conference 2016, a key networking forum for leading treasury, banking and trade finance specialists from across the United States. Experts from various trade finance sectors will gather once again to discuss how global markets have impacted trade for both corporates and banks, provide an update on current capital needs and availability, and discuss how the forthcoming elections are impacting exports and domestic trade. This year’s conference will highlight a number of fintech and trade finance product developments, with further discussions focusing on the future of domestic and international trade and the digital economy, showcasing tech talks amongst other panel sessions and interviews. 2016’s conference will build on GTR‘s respected format of networking sessions, providing delegates with an ideal platform for establishing new relationships with those keen to do business within the region. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15).
China Trade & Commodity Finance Conference. 22 November 2016, Shanghai.
Shanghai is the host city for GTR’s China Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2016, once again providing a key meeting point for business leaders and experts from the Chinese trade finance community. Exporters, importers, producers, financiers and service providers will all be in attendance, ready to engage in critical discussions focused on China’s trade landscape. Various networking breaks will provide unrivalled opportunities for delegates to establish new business contacts and become reacquainted with familiar faces, all with the prospect of developing growth in China and the wider region. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15).
Nordic Region Trade & Export Finance Conference. 29 November 2016, Stockholm.
Returning for its ninth year, the Nordic Region Trade & Export Finance Conference features as the only event of its kind in the Nordics, attracting a vast cross section of delegates and providing unrivalled networking opportunities for domestic, regional and international financial institutions, SMEs and MNCs, policy makers and trade finance specialists. The event will see high level delegates from across the trade finance community gather to discuss numerous external risks and opportunities faced by Nordic exporters in light of their activities across the globe. With over 400 of the trade finance community expected in attendance, 2016’s event looks set to eclipse the previous year’s delegate numbers once again, enhancing the quality of networking and business opportunities with the industry’s experts, making this an event not to be missed. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15).
Levant Region Trade & Export Finance Conference. 6 December 2016, Beirut.
Building on its established reputation in the Middle East, GTR is delighted to announce that the Levant Region Trade & Export Finance Conference will take place in Beirut on December 6, 2016. As the only dedicated trade and export finance event in the region, the conference will offer delegates the chance to gain valuable insight into the opportunities available in this exciting market. Industry specialists from across the trade finance community, including local and international banks, financiers, leading corporates, lawyers, insurers and more, will provide timely updates and guidance on how to successfully conduct trade in the Levant region, creating an ideal forum for the market’s key players to meet and discuss plans for the future. Click here for more information and to book (5% discount for Credit Insurance News Readers with CIN15).
Supply Chain Finance Summit. 1-2 February 2017, Frankfurt.
Brought to you by BCR, the leading publishers in receivables finance, the Supply Chain Finance Summit brings you the latest trends transforming supply chain finance. The supply chain finance environment is rapidly changing. A price slump has created new working capital issues for suppliers in commodity focussed regions. De-risking and stimulating institutional investor appetite is increasingly on the agenda of forward thinking banks. Find out how these market shifts as well as pressures in the EU political landscape are re-shaping the SCF climate and creating new challenges and opportunities. Not only does the Supply Chain Finance Summit offer valuable networking opportunities, it is a fantastic environment to share expertise with your counterparts and build business relationships. BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking in addition to the early bird booking discount which expires on 27th October 2016. Use code CIN17 and register now at www.bcrconferences.com.
Receivables Finance International Convention, 15 - 16 March, London.
Over 150 receivables finance industry experts, government agencies, financiers, ‘Fintechs’ and alternative platforms, banks, insurers and corporates gathered in Lisbon at the 2016 Receivables Finance International Convention (‘RFIx’). In 2017 RFIX will be celebrating its 17th year in London and will continue to introduce attendees to new entrants to the market, update them on the latest regulation and compliance issues, evaluate new financing structures and much more. “RFIX is an excellent forum for sharing developments in receivables finance. I was especially pleased with how much the debates focused on the future of the industry.” Duncan Stevenson, Head of Legal, Fraud & Business Intelligence, RBS “Great initiative towards addressing industry issues through sharing of best practise.” Arup Roy, Head of Global Transaction Banking, Saudi Arabia British Bank BCR are delighted to offer Credit Insurance News members a 10% discount on booking in addition to the early bird booking discount which expires on 30th December 2016. Use code CIN17 and register now at www.bcrconferences.com.
About this Issue's Sponsor: Atradius
As a trade credit insurer, Atradius’ primary role is to protect customers from the risk of non-payment. However, paying claims is only part of the story, with business intelligence on 200 million companies worldwide and with experts on the ground around the world, Atradius has unparalleled insight into international trade.
Atradius is well-versed in identifying trading risks and working with businesses to realise new opportunities both at home and abroad. An export expert, Atradius is the first port of call for businesses looking to trade overseas. With firmly established historical roots, Atradius was set up by government to help businesses export after WWI. More than 90 years on, as a private company, this legacy continues with thousands of new credit limits opened each and every day.
To find out more about Atradius and its export expertise, visit one of the Atradius’ stands or speaker sessions at the Going Global event at the London Olympia on November 17 and 18. You can also find out more information and access a suite of free economic reports, export guides and trading advice, at www.atradius.co.uk or via Twitter by following @AtradiusUK.
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