We sat down with the Chairman of Clifton Asset Management — here’s what he had to say about Alternative Finance
During an informal conversation, the Business Funding Show had the chance to interview and discuss with Adam Tavener, Chairman of Clifton Asset Management who also runs their Alternative Business Funding Portal, the new growing trend of funding: Alternative Finance.
The question everyone wants to ask is: How and why does alternative finance help business get funding?
The short answers are choice and suitability. Most business owners are aware of the more traditional forms of finance available to them, and where they can source them. The problem has been that until recently only a relatively small number of providers existed, delivery very similar products. These have included the vanilla basics, such as overdrafts, loans and various forms of asset finance, either based around physical kit or receivables. Any business that didn’t fit (and many didn’t) the box tick criteria set out by the product providers inevitably struggled.
The financial crisis spawned a whole new generation of small, independently-minded niche players in the SME finance market, the ‘alternative’ funders. From Pension-led funding, peer to peer, invoice trading and performance bond guarantee providers, over 100 new propositions suddenly appeared, giving the business owner and his advisers far more choice, but an even bigger headache in researching the whole market and establishing appropriateness, cost effectiveness and reputation solidity. Truthfully, there are quite a number of poor value products out there looking to exploit the desperate or careless.
Everyone, both industry and government, recognised that this was a problem and it became clear that if alternative business funding was going to be able to make a real impact, one or more central resource points needed to be established where a business owner could enter some basic information, and by a process of criteria matching and some sophisticated software intervention, be introduced to a small number of alternative funders that closely match their requirements and funder appetite. Thus, the aggregate platform Alternative Business Funding came into being, the UK’s largest and most successful SME funding resource, with over 90 funders listed and hundreds of businesses visiting the site every week.
Clearly, trying to choose between 95 funders without such a resource would be a daunting taste for even an experienced professional, which is why in the future, most SMEs will acquire the financial support they need through these type of aggregator sites. It just makes sense.
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About Adam Tavener
Adam is founder and chairman of Clifton Asset Management Plc, the innovators behind the pension-led funding brand, providing high quality non-bank finance to SME’s across the UK. Clifton employs approximately one hundred staff in their headquarters near Bristol.