Our MD, Joe Barbera talks to Inspire Magazine...
Liquid Corporate Finance Managing Director, Joe Barbera talks to Inspire, Herts Chamber’s official magazine about his career journey so far and how his business can help SME’s raise much needed funds during the current COVID crisis.
Q Tell us a bit about your career path to date?
A I’m an experienced asset finance specialist with a history of working in the financial services industry – twelve years as a broker and five years as a partner in a principal lender called Amicus Asset Finance. I work with direct clients, equipment suppliers, intermediaries such as accountants, insolvency practitioners and commercial finance brokers. I have a strong track record of delivering traditional and non-traditional finance solutions including hire purchase, finance lease, refinance and secured loans to SME's throughout the UK. Prior to establishing Liquid Corporate Finance in December 2019, I was part of the senior management team at Amicus and my responsibilities included overseeing the sales operation with direct involvement in the funding of over £45m of facilities.
Q What does your business do and how does it work?
A Essentially, we provide traditional and non-traditional finance solutions to ambitious start-ups and SMEs. We help these companies fund a wide range of assets, from dump trucks, cranes, manufacturing equipment and haulage fleets to prestige or classic cars. We deal with a broad cross-section of industry sectors including agriculture, construction, haulage and transport, vehicle hire, manufacturing and luxury
vehicles, and provide access to business loans, bridging finance, invoice finance, hire purchase and other finance products– each one tailored to companies’ individual requirements.
Q How is the business adapting in the current climate?
A We got off to a great start, funding over £2.5m since the beginning of January. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as continuing to facilitate transactions, we have also started to market the business as a valuable resource for SMEs needing advice on the financial support that’s available. For example, we’ve helped companies understand the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – whether they’re eligible, how much they can access and how they should apply. I’m keeping the lines of communication open with both funders and my clients; it’s important for them to know I’m still here and thinking about them.
Q What sort of financial products would be suitable for businesses in this climate?
A It is likely that cash retention and raising working capital to get through this difficult period will be paramount to most, if not all, businesses. There are many asset finance facilities available to businesses that want to position themselves for future growth but it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all; what works for one company may not be suitable for another. The CBILS scheme has been brought in to assist with getting capital to businesses. However, traditional asset finance products like Hire Purchase, Finance Lease are also still available should a business need to purchase assets. Refinance of assets to raise much needed working capital to cover
operational costs is also available from most of our funders. Some are also still offering secured loans, albeit on lower LTV’s but it’s another option.
Q Has the current climate created more competition in the financial services market?
A In short, yes. It has highlighted the value of independent financial services firms that can help businesses access deals they might not be able to get from mainstream banks. Asset Finance contributed £37.5bn of lending to businesses in 2019 so it has a huge part to play in the recovery of our economy coming out of this pandemic. It’s also taking time for government grants and loans to reach SMEs whereas asset finance can often be arranged relatively quickly. Liquid Corporate Finance is a full member of industry trade body, National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB). We are subject to the strictest Code of Practise so our clients can be confident they are dealing with a reputable broker that understands how to deliver the right solution for their business.
Q How important is it that businesses get access to finance options now so they can build and grow once the coronavirus is over?
A It is absolutely vital that funding is made available to viable businesses that have a future. There is a misconception that if the banks decline you, it will be difficult to secure funding. Subject to criteria, our wide ranging panel of funders, including those accredited to offer CBILS, will fund transactions for most types of businesses. Criteria may tighten in the short term. However, our business will use its knowledge and experience to help ensure proposals are concise and with a clear, viable rationale.
Liquid Corporate Finance are absolutely committed to helping our friends in business through this very difficult period.
If you would like to discuss how we can help your business, please call us on 0333 772 1782 or email email@example.com