Market update – Specialist & Asset Finance Practice

Simon RoderickMarket updates

asset finance - specialist lending

Circa 18 months ago Fram decided to build a practice to support firms hiring in the Specialist & Asset Finance sectors. We’ve built great relationships with clients and candidates across the UK who focus on bridging & development finance, asset finance, and invoice finance, and we’ve loved working with this vibrant and innovative sector, which keeps so many parts of the UK economy functioning. We felt it was under-served by recruiters with specialist knowledge and it ties in well with our other work, and we were very happy with our progress in this sector. It’s therefore sad to see the impact COVID initially had on the industry. It’s very much a people industry with professionals meeting in person regularly, sites being visited, and trusted relationships being built, and COVID brought this to an abrupt end. As in any crisis, risk appetite changes quickly, funding lines can dry up, there’s huge pressure for forbearance, and from our perspective the sector came to a halt.

“The darkest hour is just before Dawn”

However, in any crisis there will always be strong firms looking to grab market share, new entrants not weighed down with the legacy issues challenging the status quo, and as lockdown eases we’ve seen a quite significant upturn in fortunes and recruitment activity. A CEO of a wealth management firm (a sector we also support) made the very good point that when fishermen can’t fish, they mend their nets. That’s what leaders in the Specialist & Asset Finance sectors have been doing, and I suspect they’ve been building boats and better engines too.

The period away from the office, and the respite from the frantic growth the industry has seen of late, has given management teams time to reflect and to accelerate their strategic plans to emerge with stronger, 2.0 versions of their firms. Can they do things more efficiently? Are there new sectors they can enter? Unfortunately, we have seen some redundancies being made and whilst nobody thinks UK Plc is going to have a good autumn, you can see an argument for certain parts of the economy to come back quickly. There has been an enormous amount of stimulus that was delivered quickly, huge amounts of support for the ever important building industry, and a stamp duty holiday. Our hope is that the redundancies in this sector are short lived. Many firms are part of the recovery story now that they are accredited BBL and CBIL providers. The industry has again shown how dynamic and customer centric it is. We feel that people can’t wait to get going and we’ve started to see some firms open their offices, albeit with precautions being taken.

We hope it’s not too long before we too can start meeting with our clients, and we look forward to continuing to work with clients and candidates in this fast moving sector.

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