Patrons Day 2017 – “An Association built by members, for members”

 

The second NAFCB Patrons Day took place in London on the 26th September. Following on from last week’s Members Day representatives from 50 NACFB Lenders joined chief executive Graham Toy, managing director Norman Chambers and members of the NACFB board at a forum designed to outline the Association’s progress and look ahead to future development.

 

The opening words of Chairman Paul Goodman outlined that such days are part of a journey the NACFB is taking in efforts to become “more transparent, inclusive and engaged”. This is a journey that the Association wants to take hand in hand with Members and Lenders alike, and the ideas and feedback received will help shape, steer and structure positive future changes.

 

Graham Toy used the forum as a platform to discuss key issues face-to-face, and in the Association’s 25th year, roadmap a plan for future growth with the support and understanding of the Lenders our Member brokers engage with.

 

Patrons collectively recognised the positive changes the NACFB has made in the last 18-months and looked forward to seeing a continuation on the same trajectory. As with the Members Day feedback the week before, Patrons also expressed their desire to have greater clarity of communication from the NACFB and more distinctly tailored messages to each sector. 

 

Engagement was the word on everyone’s lips, and Graham was eager to relay that improving engagement levels across all channels is top of his priority list. This will take consistent effort on the part of Association to deliver ongoing value and communicate more clearly the mission statement of the NACFB.

 

The open and frank discourse between the head office team, NACFB board and Patrons offered some lively debate and constructive feedback. When asked what Patrons viewed as a priority for the NACFB it was clear that compliance matters are very much on high on the agenda. Whilst Patrons conduct their own due diligence checks with the brokers they engage with there were further calls for the NACFB to encourage all its Members to be fully compliant ahead of upcoming regulatory changes.

 

Following roundtable discussions Patrons fed back to the room that there is still demand for more brokers and greater broker education. Educating brokers more thoroughly on the full spectrum of available Lenders and their products, as well as risk appetite awareness is an area where Patrons feel the NACFB can improve.  The commercial finance sector is changing rapidly whilst attracting new talent, it was suggested that the benefits of becoming a broker as a career option should also fall with the NACFB’s remit.

 

We view the NACFB as an Association built by members for members” offered one Patron echoing the same sentiments from last week’s broker session. But there are key areas where the NACFB can improve; namely in the variety of sponsorship opportunities available, the strategic use of survey data, and enhancing the visibility of the Association across the UK – further decentralising from London.

 

Vice-Chairman Adrian Coles spoke of the Association’s internal governance structure review. Adrian spoke of an ongoing process and the bid to gain a better grasp of what Patrons want to see from the Association in the future, as well as how board restructuring can benefit an NACFB that is growing in both scale and complexity. An area that was met with enthusiasm was the notion of having greater board diversity, one suggestion put forward by Patrons was to “taper in” specialist board members, creating an opportunity for legal and Patron board representation in the future.

 

This was only the second Patrons Day in 2017 but similar opportunities will form part of the NACFB’s events calendar in 2018. How can the NACFB work better to help our Patrons? Were you unable to attend and feel like offering your own perspective? Get in touch, the NACFB is not just receptive to feedback on Members and Patrons days – you can reach us any time by contacting any member of our team via phone or email.

When imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery

 

Upon hearing of a spate of fraudulent impersonation attempts in the sector, Norman Chambers, Managing Director at the NACFB examines this rising imitation game and advises on how to protect your business

 

Last month the fraud prevention body Cifas warned that identity fraud has now reached “epidemic” levels – with almost 500 cases reported every single day in the UK alone.

The first six months of this year saw a record 89,000 cases of identity fraud, which typically involved impersonation in order to steal people’s money, buy items or take out loans or auto insurance in their name.

In the pre-artificial intelligence era, the bread and butter of our businesses relies on people interacting and sharing sensitive information daily. In our world of Commercial Finance Brokering these relationships are nurtured and built over many years, but how can you be sure the person you just received an email from is the same one you saw the day before?

Sadly, cyber-criminals are relentlessly targeting consumers and businesses, and the vast amounts of personal data that is available either online or through data breaches is only making it easier for fraudsters. Financial fraud losses in the UK totalled £768.8m in 2016, up 2% on 2015, according to Financial Fraud Action UK.

Fraudsters need just three pieces of information to steal your identity – and most can be found on Facebook and other social media websites – we must all be alert to this threat and do more to protect personal and business information.

To this end, we have highlighted common scams we think our Commercial Finance Broker members should be mindful of:

  1. Sometimes fraudsters will pose as a boss of a company instructing staff to make a wire transfer into the fraudster’s account. These attempts will often happen on a Friday afternoon pressuring staff to make a quick decision before the weekend begins.
  2. Fraudsters can also pose as the IT services department of a Lender saying they want to make a test transfer – but it is rarely a test. If Lenders ask for such information speak with your familiar contact first before issuing any funds.
  3. Fraudsters claim to be a supplier and ask for outstanding invoices to be paid into a new bank account. If it’s a new bank account that funds will be transferred to, a combination of due diligence and common sense can prevent costly errors.
  4. You and your employees should always be aware of clicking on links within emails. Such phishing scams often containing malware which authorises many small payments to the fraudster’s account.

The NACFB encourages all of its member Brokers to remain vigilant, only issue payments to trusted sources, and if you have even the remotest element of doubt – trust your instincts.

Your NACFB is listening – London Members Day 2017

The first of three NAFCB Members Days took place in London on the 19th September. Representatives from 40 NACFB member firms joined chief executive Graham Toy, managing director Norman Chambers and members of the NACFB board at a forum designed to outline the Association’s progress and look ahead to future development.

This was only the second Members Day in 2017 and precedes similar forums taking place in Birmingham and Manchester in October. These events form part of a journey that the NACFB is taking in efforts to become “more transparent, inclusive and engaged” Chairman Paul Goodman outlined.

The London Members Day therefore provided a platform to discuss key issues face-to-face, and in the Association’s 25th year, roadmap a plan for future growth with the support and understanding of the membership.

The open and frank discourse between the head office team, NACFB board and members provided lively debate and constructive feedback. Some matters could be quickly addressed, such as offering more time at the end of the annual AGM for members to ask questions. Other matters that arose are in the process of being addressed; Members expressed their desire to have a greater clarity of communications from the NACFB and more distinctly tailored messages to each broker sector. To this, the NACFB have brought in a new communications manager who is tasked with helping narrow any messaging gap between the NACFB and its Members whilst increasing engagement levels.

The event provided an opportunity for members to express how they saw the role of the NACFB in relation to their businesses. “The most important thing for me is that the NACFB helps us not to screw up” proposed one member, another saw the role of the Association as “…protecting the broker market, and speaking clearly on behalf of broker members.” The team and board acknowledged that the NACFB needs to more clearly communicate how it benefits brokers whilst rethinking the tone of voice used in correspondence – a kindly reminder that we are, and will remain, a member-driven Association.

With GDPR on the regulatory horizon, compliance matters prompted much discussion among the members. Members agreed that an increasing FCA squeeze is a genuine cause for concern. Norman Chambers addressed these concerns and directed members to the NACFB Compliance Services team and their workshops, specifically designed to help support and advise our broker membership. There are a further ten such NACFB Compliance Services workshops scheduled in 2017, be sure to register your attendance and stay ahead of the regulatory curve.

Vice-Chairman Adrian Coles further developed on the announcement at this year’s CFE that the Association has completed a review of its internal governance structure. Adrian spoke of this ongoing process and the bid to gain a better grasp of what Members would want to see from the Association in the future, as well as how board restructuring can benefit an NACFB that is growing in both scale and complexity. The board is enthusiastic to implement the review findings to form part of a succession plan, new blood and fresh faces bring new ideas and insight to the Association.

How can the NACFB work better to help your business? The team are listening and would welcome your thoughts and feedback at the next Members Day in Birmingham (9th October) and Manchester (24th October). The events are free and you can register online via www.nacfb.org/events