Enable Finance works with business owners and brokers to help them access the UK commercial finance market.
25th September 2013
UK broker Enable Finance is seeking to expand its operations - with technology at the centre of its goal.
Not only is it aiming to expand its panel of funders more especially those funders able to link into the broker's recently-installed technology system but also to increase partnership with lenders and clients who are equally interested in placing technology at the heart of the process of arranging commercial and asset finance. Phillip Evans, Enable Finance's proprietor, told Asset Finance International that he views the new technology as a -bedrock for growth as well as a probable recruitment platform for additional staff. The brokerage's newly-developed website is also testament to Evans' ambitions. Brokers investing their hard-earned funds in new technology are still not a common event in the UK and it is worthwhile to examine the precise reasoning behind the commitment. Evans established the brokerage (albeit with a different trading style) back in 2002 specializing in commercial mortgages. -Later when the credit crunch hit, he explained, -both the demand and supply of funds for mortgages dried up and we took the decision to become a broker which lent to businesses for asset acquisition. The immediate challenge was finding new sources of funding for the asset sectors in which Evans would be working. -It certainly was a challenge, he laughed, -but I kept knocking on doors and I never was one to take no for an answer! Paying tribute Being a long-time member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) was a help, especially in assisting in identifying potential new funders. Indeed Evans pays tribute to the association's chief executive Adam Tyler who -made the association more commercially aware and far more focused on brokers' needs. Enable's move into asset finance (it also offers other asset-based loans as well as property development finance and mortgages) had the effect of making the company ever more customer centric. -We have a range of vendor relationships, Evans said, -and our vendors are important to us but not as important as our end customers. -Our aim is always to tailor the best funding strategy for the customer be it for heavy plant, vending machines, used ground-care equipment or vehicles. We also do re-financing including sale and leaseback arrangements. -The formula is straightforward, he added. -Know your customer, find out the facts and tailor a suitable funding arrangement. Enable Finance's new technology links it to its various source of origination dealers and vendors. Evans explains that, at present, no funder on the broker's panel has the necessary compatible technology to join seamlessly with that of Enable Finance. -I have no doubt, he stressed, -that our future lies in developing our technology especially with our funding partners. Looking to the future, Evans predicts challenges ahead when the recently-formed Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) gets into its regulatory stride. -There will be the necessity for brokers and funders to be far more transparent than at present. Asset lenders will probably be required to issue Key Fact Illustrations in the way that mortgage lenders already have to. The intended requirement for brokers to disclose commissions and fees holds no terrors for Evans. -We are already transparent in this respect and disclose any fees we earn, he said. -While we are not yet sure exactly what the FCA will require of the industry, we are trying to anticipate their aims and become compliant in anticipation. There is much discussion about possible new responsibilities and empowerments that UK brokers may have in their relationships with funding sources as the recession recedes. Evans believes that with many brokers having quitted the market during the recession a greater demand for the services of those that are left will become evident as lenders seek to grow their books. As a consequence those brokers with forward-planning technology systems are likely to experience a vigorous in-flow of new business. At present, although Enable Finance is currently Sheffield-based, Evans stressed that he is able to deal satisfactorily across most of the UK. He is experimenting with innovative type of finance including packages for peer-to-peer lending and crowd source funding. -It's all about being customer centric, he says, -not just lending for the same old purposes but listening to what your customer needs and devising the appropriate financial package no matter how unusual or different that may be. Once his technology system is fully operational across his funding panel then, and only then, will he contemplate writing his own book. For more information on Enable Finance please visit www.enablefinance.com or call 0114 2945046