Month: May 2014

Asset Finance Benefits

There are many benefits that Asset Finance could have for any business in different industries. Many businesses now are turning to this type of lending due to the benefits and current state the financial markets are in.

The upfront cost of buying equipment, vehicles, and machinery can often seem daunting, especially when trying to maintain a healthy cashflow or grow your business. From modernising or upgrading, to replacing faulty or old fashioned assets, we know sometimes a little help wouldn’t go amiss – and Funding Options is here for exactly that reason.

There are 3 simple ways you can go about getting finance for your business assets; here’s our beginners guide to help you understand what’s out there.

1. Refinance

You can release cash into your business at any time for any purpose using assets you already own. This even includes assets with outstanding finance agreements.

2. Finance Lease

Purchase any business equipment now, without affecting your cashflow. Benefits include – no deposit, funds starting at £1000 +vat, and any equipment will be considered (including 100% software).

3. Sale & Lease Back

Equipment you have purchased in the past 3 months can be sold to a funder and leased back over 3 years. This will release cash you may have just spent, enabling you to use it elsewhere.

Asset Financing is more flexible than a business loan because it has tax and cash flow benefits for your business. Asset Finance is a loan that is used to obtain equipment for your business. When companies invest in tangible assets, anything from office equipment to manufacturing plants, cars to aircraft, they usually need a secure means of finance.

This makes Asset Finance is the third most common source of finance for businesses, after bank overdrafts and loans. It is a flexible alternative to a traditional bank loan, providing significant cash flow and tax benefits for businesses looking to purchase a new piece of equipment, a vehicle or other fixed assets.

With many years of experience, Richmond Asset Finance Ltd can help you to gain the important assets for your business to succeed

Lloyds: Scottish independence

Chairman of bank says it currently has no plans to move south but says independence is a potential ‘risk’

Lloyds Banking Group has warned that the consequences of Scottish independence are largely unknown, saying the bank has no plan for what would happen if the Scottish people vote to secede.

Lord Blackwell, the bank’s new chairman, said that “there are clearly some uncertainties in terms of what a vote for independence would mean” and that it is “impossible to speculate how compliance, regulation and governance would work”.

When questioned at Thursday’s annual general meeting in Edinburgh about Lloyds’ contingency planning in the event of a “yes” vote, Lord Blackwell said the bank does not have a strategy for what it would do. However, he said the situation was a potential “risk” for financial institutions.

“We are not at this point planning any moves. There are uncertainties created for everyone [and] uncertainties for banks create risk,” he said. “There’s no plan because we do not know what the result would be or what the [subsequent] discussions would be.”

Edinburgh-based financial institutions are grappling with the potential fall-out from a vote for secession in September’s referendum. Royal Bank of Scotland has referred to independence as a “risk factor” and Standard Life is preparing to shift some of its businesses south if Scottish citizens vote to leave the UK.

Lord Blackwell insisted that the vote was “clearly a matter for the Scottish electorate” and said Lloyds, which is 24.9pc owned by the taxpayer, does not have a view. He said the bank would have 12-18 months after the vote to work through the potential ramifications.

When asked if Lloyds would be able to protect jobs north of the border, he said: “We very much hope that any consequences wouldn’t have any negative effects for employment but I can’t answer that question.”

Manufacturing growth at highest for 15 years

Hopes of balanced recovery boosted by increased factory output and higher exports in March

Hopes for a balanced economic recovery driven by factory production and exports have been boosted by data showing the fastest growth in manufacturing output for 15 years.

Official statistics showed that the sector expanded by 1.4pc in the first quarter of the year, the best since 1999, while the gap between imports and exports narrowed in March.

The increase in manufacturing output was well in excess of total economic growth of 0.8pc in the quarter, suggesting the economy is becoming more dependent on factory production. Friday’s data for manufacturing in March, which rounded up the quarter, showed a 0.5pc increase in manufacturing output on the previous month.

“The ‘march of the makers’ continues,” said Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club. “And with April’s manufacturing PMI [survey] registering one of its best readings in the last three years, [the second quarter] seems set fair for further strong growth in the manufacturing sector.”

Separate figures indicated that Britain’s trade deficit improved in March, as foreign buyers purchased British-made jewellery and cars.

The deficit in trade of goods and services fell to £1.3bn in March, against £1.7bn in February and £2.5bn in March last year, although economists warned that the country still has a long way to go to improve the balance of imports and exports.

“While there are signs of a small improvement in the UK’s international trade performance over time, the pace of change is still painfully slow,” said David Kern, the British Chambers of Commerce’s chief economist. He said the trade deficit for the first three months of the year was only marginally narrower than that in 2013.

Exports of goods increased by 4.9pc between February and March, although imports also rose by 2.8pc. The deficit in goods narrowed to £8.5bn, while Britain’s surplus in services rose to £7.2bn.

While manufacturing improved, industrial production, which counts other areas such as water supply and mining, fell 0.1pc in March due to declining oil and gas extraction. Construction output fell for the second consecutive month, down 1pc on February.

Economists said the figures were unlikely to affect the official 0.8pc reading for economic growth in the first quarter of the year.

[Telegraph Finance]

Concern over Debt Collection Plans

An influential group of MPs has expressed alarm about plans for the taxman to be able to seize money direct from millions of personal bank accounts.

The cross-party Treasury Committee said it had “considerable concern” over Chancellor George Osborne’s debt collection proposals, and called for further scrutiny.

In their report on this year’s Budget, the MPs suggested the change could amount to a back-door reintroduction of the discredited Crown Preference rule – which gave HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) priority access to assets when firms went bust.

“The proposal to grant HMRC the power to recover money directly from taxpayers’ bank accounts is of considerable concern to the committee,” the report said. “The committee considers a lengthy and full consultation to be essential.

“Giving HMRC this power without some form of prior independent oversight -for example by a new ombudsman or tribunal, or through the courts – would be wholly unacceptable.”

The committee dismissed the Chancellor’s argument that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) already had similar powers to collect child maintenance.

The MPs said: “The parallel is not exact: in those cases, DWP is acting as an intermediary between two individuals.”

“HMRC would be acting not as an intermediary between two individuals but rather in pursuit of its own objective of bringing in revenue for the Exchequer.”

They also highlighted the potential for fraud and error if the taxman was given direct access to millions of accounts.

“This policy is highly dependent on HMRC’s ability accurately to determine which taxpayers owe money and what amounts they owe, an ability not always demonstrated in the past,” the report said.

“Incorrectly collecting money will result in serious detriment to taxpayers.

“The Government must consider safeguards, in addition to those set out in the consultation document, to ensure that HMRC cannot act erroneously with impunity.

“These might include the award of damages in addition to compensation, and disciplinary action in cases of abuse of the power.”

[MSN Money]

Bank of England warns on house price ‘correction’

The Bank of England has given a stark warning that the recent surge in house prices could end in a crash.

Sir Jon Cunliffe, one of the Bank’s deputy governors, said it would be “dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the housing market”. He also warned about a possible “sharp correction, with negative equity and an overhang of debt for many households”. His comments came amid reports that the UK’s most expensive flat ever has been sold for £140m.Sir Jon, who has responsibility for financial stability, predicted that house prices would continue to rise for some time.

Earlier this week the Nationwide Building Society said prices had grown by 10.9% over the past year, the highest inflation rate for seven years.


Sir Jon suggested that the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) may have to recommend action within the next couple of months.

“Whether and how to act further if, following the pause of the last couple of months, momentum continues to build, will be the most challenging judgement the FPC will have to take in the coming months,” he told an audience in London. He said the recent new rules on mortgage lending – known as the Mortgage Market Review- may help to constrain house prices, but “they have not yet been tested”.

Options the Bank could now consider include limiting borrowing ratios, or forcing banks to hold more capital as security against loans. Support for mortgages through the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) was already withdrawn in January.


The Bank’s warning came amid reports that the UK’s most expensive flat has just been sold in London. According to the Times, a flat at the Number One Hyde Park development has been bought by a Russian or Ukrainian buyer for £140m, a new record.

The apartment is a 16,000 square foot penthouse over two floors, with views over Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. The purchaser has bought it as a shell, and will have to spend millions more installing appliances and furnishings. The developers of the block, CPC Group, confirmed that the flat had been sold, but refused to say who had bought it, or how much they had paid.

“However, global professional valuation companies have valued the finished penthouse at circa £160m to £170m,” a spokeswoman said.

Housebuilding UK Construction

House building boosts UK construction industry. Housebuilding remained close to a ten-year high in April, providing a further boost for the economy as the construction sector expanded for a twelfth consecutive month.

While overall expansion slowed to a six-month low last month, a survey by Markit on Friday showed residential construction remained at robust levels in April, as housing starts grew at a rate of around 45,000 a quarter.

The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index PMI eased to 60.8 in April from 62.5 in March. While this was weaker than the reading of 62 expected by economists, activity remained well above the 50 level that divides growth from contraction, and has now expanded for a year.

The slowdown was primarily driven by a sharp fall in civil engineering work, according to Markit. It said some firms had reported a moderation in activity coming from flood relief work earlier in the year.

“Construction growth has started to moderate from the rapid pace seen over the winter, but strong rises in new work and payroll numbers provide ample optimism that output will expand strongly over the course of 2014,” said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit.

“Better economic conditions, a surge in house building, improved access to finance and greater investment spending are all important tailwinds for UK construction growth this year. Moreover, the latest survey is another indication that current UK construction trends are healthier than the relatively meagre official growth estimates so far this year.”

House prices have surged this year, as supply continues to lag behind demand. The Bank of England’s deputy governor warned on Thursday night that it would be “dangerous to ignore the momentum that has built up in the UK housing market”.

Markit said construction companies continued to take on staff at a strong pace, albeit easing back slightly from March.

A similar survey on Thursday showed surging output and an influx of orders helped British manufacturing activity grow last month at a much faster rate than expected, boding well for Britain’s economic recovery.