By Robin Gaines and Richard Osgood, Ultimate Finance Underwriters

Many lenders will say that they are unique in some way and that they will put their customers first. At Ultimate Finance we truly believe that. We are fortunate to be part of the Tavistock Group. Tavistock was formed 40 years ago with a simple philosophy: to strive for excellence in everything they do and build long-term relationships with customers and partners.

Tavistock has a portfolio of over 200 businesses across the world, including: real estate, hotels, restaurants, retail, biotechnology, sports, and financial services. Here at Ultimate Finance we tap into this vast experience, providing us with a real insight into the issues, challenges and ambitions of those businesses approaching us for finance solutions.

Our sole focus is on providing specialist asset-based finance solutions to SMEs. The management of these SMEs are facing truly challenging times in the current climate and do not want to spend time going backwards and forwards with their funder. They are looking for a prompt response to their application and the funds to support their business aspirations in a timescale that suits them.

At Ultimate Finance we pride ourselves on our speed – a quick yes (or no) decision – and we seek to provide quick responses to our prospective borrower’s request for facilities by adopting a “one team” approach. Too often a credit process is opaque and shrouded in mystery. In order to speed up the decision process, as underwriters we often leave our darkened rooms and attend joint visits to prospects with the sales team. This allows us to gain a fuller understanding of the prospect’s business, rather than reading it second hand via the words and figures contained within a new business report.

To add to the one team ethos, we often have the proposed Relationship Manager, if looking at cash-flow facilities such as Invoice Finance, attending that first meeting. We feel this provides the prospect with the opportunity to speak directly with one of the decision makers in the credit application, and an opportunity to meet with their prospective Relationship Manager, who will be their point of contact, if they come on board as a client.

We believe that this unique approach provides us with a deep insight into a client’s business, a chance for the Directors/Managers of the prospect to speak directly with the funding decision makers, meet their Relationship Manager and for us to gain a greater understanding of the prospects key challenges and requirements. These meetings often include the introducing broker which allows them to meet with the underwriters and for them to provide more granular information on the requirements.

We’re real people lending to real business owners and entrepreneurs, so establishing that personal connection is important to us. If it’s not an application that we are able to support, we will provide transparent and direct feedback in a timely manner too.

Ultimately, we believe our approach offers transparency, speed and flexibility, and most importantly, a funding solution that meets the need of the client whilst being genuinely focused on building a partnership from day one. As with the Tavistock ethos, we at Ultimate Finance strive for excellence in everything we do and place great value in building long-term relationships with our customers.

About the authors

Robin Gaines has worked in Invoice Finance for 35 years after directly experiencing the benefits of invoice discounting as group FC of a business. Throughout his career, Robin has utilised his various roles as Client Manager, Broker, Financial analyst, International Liaison and Underwriter to gain insights into the challenges faced by businesses and the risks associated with distribution, manufacturing, investment and trading around the world.

Richard Osgood has over 35 years of experience within the Financial Services sector, both in consumer and business lending, and including 22 years in Receivables Finance. Richard has worked for the Invoice Finance divisions of major banks and challenger banks across a variety of roles within Collections, Sales, Relationship Management, Risk and Credit, enabling him to build a thorough understanding of the variety of financial needs businesses have and the solutions available to them.