QBE advises that 54% of businesses have gained exposure to ‘completely new’ risks in the last two years. QBE has published its latest Business Risk Sentiment report which advises that although the economic climate in the UK continues to how steady signs of progress, there are clear dangers for businesses that assume that the overall level of risk they face will necessarily follow a similar trajectory. 54% of businesses have gained exposure to ‘completely new’ risks in the last two years, and nearly three in ten (29%) businesses feel that the overall level of risk they are facing has increased over the last six months. There is an interesting breakdown of the most perceived risks to businesses on page 8 which includes Trade Credit Risk and a look at this by sector and region. To view the full report go to http://www.qbeeurope.com/documents/research/Measuring%20risk%20-%20a%20key%20priority%20for%20business.pdf.

Pace of UK retailers shutting up shop reduces in first half of 2014 – but gulf between openings and closures nearly doubles. According to PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC), from a peak of more than 20 store closures a day in the first six months of 2012 to 18 per day in the same period in 2013, the rate of store closures has fallen again to 16 per day in the first half of 2014. At first sight this appears positive, but deeper analysis reveals that year-on-year, the gulf between openings and closures has widened as withdrawal levels remain high alongside significantly fewer debuts. The study of 500 town centres across Great Britain shows that 3,003 outlets closed in a six-month period compared to 2,597 openings, a net reduction of 406 shops. This is almost twice as high as the net reduction in H1 2013 (209) when 3,157 stores opened and 3,366 stores closed. The H1 2014 gulf is also larger than the net closure rate of 371 for the whole of 2013 (6,033 closures vs 5,662 openings). To view PWC's news release go to http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2014/10/pace-of-retailers-shutting-up-shop-reduces-in-first-half-of-2014but-gulf-between-openings-and-closures-nearly-doubles-sa.html.

Experian’s SME Reputation Index reveals that the UK’s smallest firms are the most exposed to risk out of the UK business population. According to new research by Experian, more than half of SMEs are putting themselves at extra and unnecessary risk of cash-flow problems and insolvency by failing to run credit checks on customers or suppliers. By far the most common reason businesses run credit checks on their business customers is to ensure that they are dealing with firms that are financially secure, so they can be sure that they will be paid. Yet the latest research from Experian reveals that only 34% of SMEs currently run a credit check on new business customers before taking them on. Findings also show that microbusinesses (those with between one and nine employees and making up 88% of the UK’s business population) are the most exposed. To view Experian's news release go to http://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/more-than-half-of-uk-smes-are-exposing-themselves-to-unnecessary-risk-by-not-running-credit-checks.aspx.

Does the EU directive on late commercial payments matter? Trade Financing Mattershas published an article which examines the impact of the EU Late Payment Directive and considers whether member countries are following the directive that all EU transactions must be paid within 60 days. Various member counties (including, France, Spain, the UK and Germany) are briefly reviewed. According to the National Association of Credit Managers: “the directive, by almost all admissions among credit professionals and economists polled, is having a minimal impact on B2B credit and collections. Minimal application of the directive could be traced, perhaps, to the slow implementation by the standard-bearing economy of Germany.” To view Trade Financing Matter's article go to http://spendmatters.com/tfmatters/does-the-eu-directive-on-late-commercial-payments-matter/.

Late payment of bills by Europe’s public sector is hurting the construction, healthcare and education sectors. According to a new industry white paper focusing on Europe-wide payment indicators sector by sector by Intrum Justitia, construction businesses suffer most from late and non-payments, with some 53% of construction-related credit managers reporting that late payments have a high impact on their company’s business risks. A staggeringly-high 64% said that late and non-payments prohibit growth of their company. The average payment duration from public sector clients is 58 days, while private businesses pay after 47 days on average. Utilities, manufacturing and transport businesses are the industries suffering least from late payments and bad debt losses. The written off percentages vary between 2.1 and 2.3%, compared to 4% in the construction industry. To view Intrum Justitia's news release go to http://www.intrum.com/Templates/Default/Pages/PressReleaseReport.aspx?ID=32CB14BE5794353D.

D&B advises that the recovery from the 2008-09 recession remains the most challenging in the past century. D&B has published the mid-year update to its Global Economic Outlook to 2018 and has advised that although the recovery from the 2008-09 recession remains the most challenging in the past century, the global economy has now healed many of its wounds since the crisis. "As a result we are better positioned than at any point since 2009." However, the report also cautions that growth remains below long-term trend levels, with global growth in the period 2000-07 averaging 3.7% per year, compared with an average 2.2% per year in the period 2009-2014. D&B advises that in order to put this into context, of the 132 countries it assesses, 94 are rated worse than at the start of 2008, of which 56 are rated at least three quartiles lower. In contrast, only 16 economies have seen their rankings improve over this period, and only two are rated more than two quartiles better. To view D&B's report go to http://www.dnb.co.uk/dnb_files/Reports/DB_Global_Economic_Outlook_0714_FINAL.pdf.

UK export and manufacturing growth slows. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has published the results of its Quarterly Economic Survey for Q3 2014, which shows that whilst the economy is still growing, it slowed in Q3. Balances for both manufacturing and service sector exports were down on the quarter, highlighting the challenges facing UK exporters. Commenting on the results, John Longworth, Director General of the BCC, said: “As we predicted in our economic forecast, the strong upsurge in UK manufacturing at the start of the year appears to have run its course. We may be hearing the first alarm bell for the UK economy, but this need not be the case." To view the BCC's news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/quarterly-economic-survey-%E2%80%98no-time-to-waste%E2%80%99-as-export-and-manufacturing-growth-slows.html.

UK businesses' costs continue to rise. According to new research from the Forum of Private Business, despite the continued fall in inflation over the past year small business costs have continued to rise during 2014 - with energy costs still the most commonly seen increase. The results showed that 63% of businesses have seen an overall increase in their business costs. The report also identified that 38% of small business owners admitted to being unable to pass any rising costs onto customers, forcing them to cut their own costs to keep prices static. Just 3% were able to pass on costs in full. 81% of firms indicated that rising business costs have been detrimental to their business, with 73% experiencing cash flow issues as a result. To view the FPB's news release go to https://www.fpb.org/press/october-2014/forum-research-suggests-business-costs-rising-31-ahead-inflation.

Central London boroughs top index as the toughest London boroughs for small businesses. A new index released by the Federation of Small Businesses and KPMG in the UK has identified the best and worst places for small business owners in London. Kensington & Chelsea Borough tops the index as the hardest place to run a small business in London, due to higher costs and greater local administrative burdens. The index also found Bromley, Barking and Dagenham stand out as the most attractive boroughs in the Capital for small business owners to operate in, by providing the least burdensome environment. In addition, Havering borough has the greatest infrastructure challenges, while small businesses in Westminster enjoy the most beneficial infrastructure. To view KPMG's news release go to http://www.kpmg.com/UK/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/NewsReleases/Pages/Central-London-Boroughs-top-index-as-the-toughest-London-boroughs-for-small-businesses.aspx.

Construction is brighter than other UK sectors according to latest data. According to research from Bibby Financial Services, SMEs in the UK construction industry are the most confident about sales growth in the three months leading up to October. Statistics suggest that two thirds (61%) of construction companies expect sales to rise in the third quarter, up from 53% just three months ago. The sector bucks the trend as other SMEs have indicated a slight dip in sales confidence and differs from the Office for National Statistic’s first GDP estimate for Q2, which suggests construction growth fell-back 0.5% throughout the period. To view Bibby Financial Services' news release go to http://www.bibbyfinancialservices.com/meta/press/news/2014/9/Two%20-thirds-of-construction-SMEs-expect-Q3-growth.

About this issue's sponsor: PurplePatch.
First-ever Broker Service launched for the Credit and Risk Industry. Price transparency and independent product selection comes to market.
PurplePatch, the first-ever broker service for the credit and risk information market has been launched – to help credit and risk managers find the most suitable products on the market, for the best price.

Replicating the credit insurance industry, the new independent service will act as a broker between those that use information and the credit and information providers themselves. PurplePatch will provide a ‘no cost’ consultancy and unbiased advice on products and services from across the whole of the market, and has already picked up a number of new clients.

PurplePatch has been launched by Nick Frazer and Nick Green who between them have over 50 years’ experience in the credit risk information industry with Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian.

Nick Frazer, director of PurplePatch, said: “It is about time our industry called for better price transparency and have the advantage of a service that goes beyond just comparing credit risk information products and providers.

“Today risk managers have many providers and products to choose from but little time to consider the whole market. There is also doubt that the price offered to the customer is not as keen as that offered to others using the same products and volumes. It’s a common problem and not surprising that the service is being received really well.”

Katie Woodiss-Field, Credit Manager, Amari Plastics Plc., commented: “Having just completed a review with PurplePatch, I can highly recommend this excellent service. Time saving, unbiased and a great idea – can’t believe no one has come up with it before!"

“We recently worked with PurplePatch to review our credit agency suppliers. Using our ‘wish list’ they were able to give us insight into the current market options available as well as considering new opportunities that we hadn't previously considered – saving us a considerable amount of our own time and effort to narrow down our selection.” Bryony Pettifor, Credit Manager, Anixter Ltd.

Nick Frazer has served over 30 years’ in the credit risk information industry working from sales management to board positions at Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian. Together with Nick Green, a credit risk specialist with over 20 years’ experience, including leadership positions with both Equifax and Experian, they have launched PurplePatch to ensure that the credit and risk industry has access to the best advice on products and services available across the credit risk information marketplace.

For more information about PurplePatch please contact Nick Frazer, n.frazer@purplepatchuk.com Telephone 01564 792956.

About PurplePatch - www.purplepatchuk.com.
PurplePatch offers independent, genuinely impartial and unbiased advice in the credit risk information marketplace. Its risk information model provides choice that goes beyond product comparison and offers a smarter alternative to dealing direct, where the holistic view is missing and there is no incentive for best pricing.

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