Culture shifts and funding boosts – March industry news
Up until now, finance companies have typically been viewed as dull and corporate, but we’re pleased to see that this perspective is changing. Technology has sparked a culture shift within financial services, bringing enthusiasm, passion and fun back into the workplace. As our co-founder James Meekings says, “When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy.” Fostering an empowering culture and staying true to a set of values is key to a successful business, and is something we are firm believers in at Funding Circle.
Talking about the FinTech sector more broadly, the chancellor Philip Hammond recently told an industry conference that the UK was the “global capital of FinTech” and that the emerging industry contributes £7 billion to the economy. Mr Ramsden of the Bank of England added “The UK can’t afford to be complacent even with London’s pre-eminent position, commercial advantage must be constantly worked for and renewed.” As well as boosting the economy, FinTech companies are creating new opportunities for investors, consumers and businesses. Whether you want to transfer money overseas, get a faster loan or a better return on your investment, these platforms are making such services quicker and easier to use.
As well as changes in technology, trade partnerships play a crucial role in creating opportunities for businesses. Looking ahead to a post-Brexit world, there will be a lot of excitement about new global partnerships we can build in distant lands. In the long-term these could be very beneficial, but for small businesses who depend on exporting, their greatest opportunities in the short term will continue to lie with our European neighbours. Small businesses do not typically have the time or resources to form long-distance trading partnerships. Consequently, access to fast, fair and affordable finance will be critical to taking advantage of the opportunities exporting can bring.
Another shift we’re seeing across the UK is the number of businesses that are turning away from banks for financial support. Research suggests that only one in three businesses indicated a willingness to borrow finance in 2017, down from almost half in 2015. However, it’s hugely positive to see the increased amount of innovation and choice being brought to the market thanks to the emergence of online lending. These platforms are helping small businesses seize growth opportunities, hire more staff and go even further.
Finally, we’re really excited to announce that the Funding Circle ISA is now available to all investors. This will allow investors to make the same attractive returns tax-free, helping them better provide for their future while helping businesses get the funds to thrive. As with the Classic account, there are two investment options to choose from: ‘Balanced’, for a projected return of 7.2 per cent; and the lower-risk ‘Conservative’, for a projected return of 4.8 per cent. For more information on the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) check out this article in The Times or visit our ISA page.