SMEs in cashflow black hole as they wait for £24bn in late payments

Late payments up more than £10bn in a year

15% of British freelancers spend 4 hours and above a week chasing invoices

CEO of ETZ Payments, Nick Woodward, provides commentary on how late and inconsistent payments are hurting businesses and freelancers alike

Today, new research showed that Small and medium-sized companies are waiting to receive £23.4billion, up from £13billion in 2018. More than half of businesses are chasing money owed, with the bill for trying to collect it hitting £4.4billion, says retail payment authority Pay UK. This comes as ETZ Payments reveals startling national representative research that shows that nearly a sixth of freelance and contract workers spend over 10% of their working week chasing invoices and payments. The new research from PayUK showed that the average amount owed to each firm had risen from £17,000 last year to £25,000 today. This demonstrates that across the board, self-employed contractors, freelancers, and small businesses are under strain. As we near the general election and with almost guaranteed further Brexit uncertainty, SMEs and workers are going through one of the most turbulent periods of their existence.

Nick Woodward, CEO of ETZ Payments, a back-office solution provider for the recruitment sector, offers the following commentary:

“This year and next year will undoubtedly be a turbulent period for small businesses and workers alike with myriad political and economic issues and an increasing amount of late payments. This issue is seriously harming cash flow, investment and growth across the UK economy. There are over 2 million freelancers and 5.7 million SMEs today, and with financial constraints such as chasing invoices, this will harm productivity and profit, and more needs to be done by the next government to ensure that these entrepreneurs, business owners, managers and workers, are paid justly and on time to keep the economy moving.”

Three reasons why Corbyn’s Labour manifesto will bring economic chaos

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party’s radical Marxist manifesto will bring far-reaching economic chaos for Brexit-battered Britain, affirms the boss of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The founder and CEO of deVere Group, Nigel Green, is speaking out as the Labour leader unveils his party’s manifesto on Thursday ahead of next month’s general election.

Mr Green says: “Labour’s Marxist manifesto is the most radical and dangerous in decades.

“It would bring far-reaching economic chaos for a Brexit-battered Britain already on the brink.

“Corbyn and McDonnell’s agenda would create a nightmarish scenario that would hit those very people the most that it is proclaiming to try and support and protect.”

He continues: “There are three fundamental reasons why the Corbyn-led Labour manifesto would damage the UK economy.

“First, it would drive down already stagnate business investment in the UK. 

“The mammoth nationalisation programme will leave companies thinking ‘who’s next?’ Plus, the snatching of 10 per cent of the shares in every big company and a significant increase in trade union power, including a return to collective bargaining, will leave UK and international investors justifiably concerned that their investments will not be safe under Labour.

“This will seriously erode any attempts to generate long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “Second, it would trigger an exodus of some of the most successful and wealthiest individuals.

“This would likely be due to concerns regarding Labour’s stance on inheritance tax, income tax, stamp duty and capital gains tax, potentially even capital controls, and the slashing of pensions tax relief.

“Typically, these people have the resources to move to safe lower tax jurisdictions if the tax burden in Britain becomes too great. 

“Should these largely job and wealth-creating, tax-paying individuals quit Britain, the government’s finances will suffer significantly because they contribute a disproportionately large amount to the state’s coffers. Indeed, they prop-up the system.

“And third, a renegotiation of the Brexit deal, which would be put to a second referendum, would create many more months of uncertainty for businesses.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Labour’s economic agenda is a risky gamble. Its potential for serious adverse consequences is massive. 

“And whilst the radical plans are already far-reaching, this might be just the beginning, with more misguided policies to come.”

Atos and Fintech Circeo develop innovative loan management solution for major worldwide retailer

A solution to help run Loan Management from a hybrid cloud leveraging Google Cloud Platform

November 20, 2019 Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, and Circeo, a leading Fintech in developing next-generation retail loans software, today announce the development of an innovative loan management solution built with Google Cloud Platform. Developed initially for the bank subsidiary of a major worldwide retailer, Atos and Circeo will soon begin bringing the solution to market for other customers.

This offering is based on a hybrid cloud solution which combines Google Cloud Platform (GCP) together with Atos’ expertise in end-to-end cloud orchestration and management, and infrastructure services and support. It enables users to benefit from the advantages of a fully-managed and secure cloud service which is seamlessly integrated with Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

With this joint solution, clients can run Fintech software built on Oracle technologies on hybrid cloud infrastructures, and thereby benefit from elasticity, resilience, innovation and pay-per-use models – without the need to redevelop their existing systems. The Google Cloud Atos partnership ensures that the client benefits from direct, secure and high-performance network connectivity, for faster and optimised access to Google Cloud resources.

This new solution from Atos and Circeo will help the end-customer manage peaks of activity in Loans, particularly during sales and specific events such as black Friday thanks to the elasticity and resilience of GCP.

Circeo is an innovative Fintech delivering a next generation flexible digital lending platform, based in the Cloud, which enables tailor-made financial products to be made within just a few days. It is part of Atos’ FinTech Partner Program and one of Atos’ most dynamic Fintech partners.

“This solution demonstrates the unique value we deliver to our customers thanks to our ambitious Fintech Engagement program which aims to bridge the gap between banks and Fintech.” says Wim Los, SVP, global Head of Atos and Google Cloud enhanced Alliance at Atos. “Developed by Atos and Circeo, it is a framework which will be replicated for other clients, on other markets”.

“We are glad for this unique opportunity leverage our global partnership with Atos to promote and implement the Atos-Circeo Retail Lending Factory platform” says Laurent Clerc, Founder and CEO at Circeo“By delivering unique value with Atos, we expand existing client portfolios and onboard new clients into production.”

We’re delighted that Atos and Circeo chose to develop this solution with Google Cloud Platform,” said Rayn Veerubhotla, Director, Partnerships at Google Cloud. “With this solution, customers can modernise their existing infrastructure and begin to take advantage of the core capabilities of Google Cloud.”

Atos was recently recognised as ‘Global breakthrough partner of the year’ by Google Cloud.

About Atos

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with over 110,000 employees in 73 countries and annual revenue of over € 11 billion. European number one in Cloud, Cybersecurity and High-Performance Computing, the Group provides end-to-end Orchestrated Hybrid Cloud, Big Data, Business Applications and Digital Workplace solutions. The group is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games and operates under the brands Atos, Atos Syntel, and Unify. Atos is a SE (Societas Europaea), listed on the CAC40 Paris stock index.

The purpose of Atos is to help design the future of the information technology space. Its expertise and services support the development of knowledge, education as well as multicultural and pluralistic approaches to research that contribute to scientific and technological excellence. Across the world, the group enables its customers, employees and collaborators, and members of societies at large to live, work and develop sustainably and confidently in the information technology space.

CitySprint recruiting over 500 couriers across the UK for peak season

London, UK, 19th November 2019: CitySprint — the UK’s largest same day distribution company — has announced that 500 additional couriers are required across the UK ahead of the Christmas rush.

Christmas can often be a make-or-break time for many businesses — especially those who operate online and rely on an efficient delivery service to get their goods to their consumers. Peak season traditionally runs from the end of October until the New Year — with CitySprint completing an incredible 600,000+ deliveries during this time lastyear.

New couriers will add to the 5,000-strong fleet to support with seasonal demand — with the business focusing primarily on van couriers to cover increased delivery volume. These couriers are needed across the UK, with a specific focus across the following cities:

  • Central London
  • Manchester
  • Bristol
  • Birmingham
  • Nottingham
  • Leeds
  • Telford
  • Letchworth
  • Cambridge
  • Reading

Speaking about the benefits of delivery work, Stephen Gray, a courier in Wales says: “A friend recommended I apply to be a courier with CitySprint sixteen years ago, so I bought a van, tried it out and I haven’t looked back since. I love the freedom of being a self-employed courier; I meet different people, travel across the country and experience different situations every day — it keeps things exciting! Plus, the team at CitySprint are fantastic. Honestly, if you’re looking for a satisfying job which gives you choice, flexibility and financial security then I suggest you give CitySprint a call!”

Bristol-based courier, Filip Boshnakov, adds: “Before joining CitySprint in 2017 I’d been considering working as a courier for a while. Ultimately, I chose CitySprint because I wanted to work as a self-employed person and valued the freedom attached to the role. The flexible hours, opportunity to meet different people, and the ability to visit different places mean that I can combine work and family commitments whilst also still enjoying the work that I do. Working with CitySprint makes you realise that your job isn’t just a job; you can relish your work and the experiences you face every day here. I would highly recommend joining our team to all of my friends.”

Paul Gisbourne, Chief Operating Officer at CitySprint, commented:With just 36 days to go until Christmas, businesses are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. Bolstering fleet numbers will allow us to continue to deliver a first-class service and ensures we stay ahead of our competitors. We know that the Christmas season brings increased pressure, demand and competition for our customers, which is why we are committed to going the extra mile at a time when it matters most.”

For more information on becoming a CitySprint courier, visit and apply today: www.citysprint.co.uk/couriers/christmas-jobs

About CitySprint

  • CitySprint is the UK’s largest privately-owned same day distribution company and is one of the top five same day distribution companies in the world.
  • CitySprint supports businesses across the UK with a range of delivery solutions, including same day, UK overnight and international delivery, bespoke logistics design and specialist services for key sectors such as retail and healthcare.
  • CitySprint has several brands under the CitySprint name, supporting their specialist services. These include CitySprint Health, CitySprint Office, On the dot and Transworld.
  • CitySprint has a regional network of 30+ service centres across the UK with a fleet of over 5,000 vehicles.
  • CitySprint is backed by leading, independent equity house, Dunedin, and private equity specialists, LDC.
  • CitySprint’s unique national same day delivery network can reach over 88% of mainland UK within 60 minutes (source: Crimson & Co.)
  • Download CitySprint’s free app and quote, book and track your courier from the palm of your hand: Google Play / iTunes
  • Website: citysprint.co.uk

Sickness absence is severely impacting UK business – yet take up of key protection benefits is low

Long-term sickness absence is a serious issue with over two-fifths (44%) of UK SMEs reporting at least one employee absent for four weeks or more in the last twelve months, according to research from leading employee benefits provider, Unum.

The majority of SME bosses also said that long-term sickness (absence over six months) of a key employee would have a significant (44%), or even critical (24%), impact on the future success of the business. More than half (55%) said they would do everything they could to aid a member of staff back to work after a period of illness.

Despite the business impact of long-term absence and the employer’s desire to help employees back to work, another recent study by Unum and the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), found uptake of core protection benefits to be very low.

According to the Unum and BCC study, only 8% of UK businesses surveyed offered income protection, one of the core products to help businesses and their employees through sickness absence with financial assistance and rehabilitation support. 22% surveyed said they offered Life Insurance, just 9% offered Critical Illness Insurance, while 22% said that they provide nothing at all in the form of financial protection benefits.

Alongside financial protection and rehabilitation support, fast access to early clinical help can be invaluable to employers and their employees. With that in mind, Unum has launched a new easy to use app ‘[email protected]’ as part of its Group Income Protection product to give employees and their families fast access to remote GPs, second medical opinions, physiotherapy and mental health services.

Peter O’Donnell, Chief Executive Officer, Unum UK, said: Illness and long-term sickness absence can have a serious impact on individuals and their families as well as to businesses of all sizes and across every sector. At Unum, we want to help businesses of all sizes put in place the necessary services and products to enable them to manage this effectively.

“As evidenced in the recent Government consultation – ‘Health is everyone’s business’ – the government is also placing greater importance on the role of employers in keeping people in work. Good employers want to support employees when they are unwell as our research shows, and making our services more modern and helping them better understand how products like Group income protection can help, is an important place to start.”

About Unum

Unum is a leading employee benefits provider offering financial protection through the workplace including: Income Protection, Life insurance, Critical Illness, and Dental cover.

Our Income Protection customers have access to medical and vocational rehabilitation expertise designed to help people stay in work and return to work following illness and injury.

Unum LifeWorks, our Employee Assistance Programme, provides help and advice on a range of work/life issues.

Our Critical Illness customers can access our Cancer Support Service, providing personalised support for employees with a cancer diagnosis.

We are committed to workplace wellbeing for both employees and employers. We have a wide range of tools designed to help businesses create or enhance their employee wellbeing strategy, including our Mental Health Pathway and Wellbeing Calendar.

At the end of 2018, Unum protected 1.4 million people in the UK and paid claims of £314 million – representing in excess of £6 million a week in benefits to our customers – providing security and peace of mind to individuals and their families.

Our parent company, Unum Group, is a provider of employee benefits products and services in the United States, including group and individual disability insurance. Premium income for Unum Group and its subsidiaries totalled $9.0bn in the year ended 31 December 2018, with reported revenues for the group totalling $11.6bn and total assets of $61.9bn.

A.M Best has given all rated Unum Group companies an Excellent rating for Financial Strength, with a stable outlook.

For more information please visit http://www.unum.co.uk.

Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Unum Dental is a trading name of Unum Limited. Registered in England 983768.

About the British Chambers of Commerce

The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 1,000 business leaders online between 29 April and 16 May 2019. Around 91% of participants were SMEs.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 53 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. Our Global Business Network connects exporters with over 50 markets around the world. For more information, visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Helsinki, World’s First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities

Helsinki, World's First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities
Helsinki, World’s First City as a Service Is Not Just a Joke – Attracts Over 6500 applications from +100 cities

 Helsinki and some of Finland’s most renowned tech companies launched a talent attraction campaign in September branding Helsinki as the world’s first City as a Service (CaaS). The campaign reframed the value that Helsinki offers to its “users” (current citizens) and potential “demo users” (tech professionals looking to relocate) using familiar vocabulary and tone of voice for international tech professionals. The campaign received close to 7,000 applications of tech professionals interested to relocate to Helsinki.

Now Helsinki is bringing its potential tech professionals to visit the city. Tech talent from Tel Aviv to New York will experience their potential new hometown Helsinki and its work-life balance during one of the world’s largest startup events, Slush, on 19–22 November. The visit is hosted by City of Helsinki along with Supercell, Smartly, Slush, Relex, and MaaS Global (Whim). 

“Finding the best talent in the world is critical for us and other tech companies in Helsinki. It is a great place to live and work, with the best education system, best healthcare, opportunities to families, amazing international companies and happiest people in the world! It is easy to demonstrate that when we bring people here,” says Kristo Ovaska, CEO of Smartly.

Clever and engaging campaign noticed by the global tech community

The campaign turned city into a digital product of this decade and pitched Helsinki as a Service, highlighting its multiple perks: Helsinki’s 640,000 daily active users, key features such as free world-class education and healthcare. Helsinki’s bugs – darkness, snow and the flat skyline – were mentioned as carefully considered features. The city’s Mayor Jan Vapaavuori was recruited to act as the CEO of CaaS, encouraging potential demo users to apply for a free demo trip to Helsinki during Europe’s leading startup event Slush. 

The stunt was described as clever and engaging by Trendwatching and chosen as their Innovation of the Day. The results speak for themselves. In less than a month Helsinki received close to 7,000 applications from the wished target group of professionals in tech from software engineers, developers, AI researchers etc. 

“Helsinki has all it takes to make you feel like home but the problem was, not too many knew about its beautiful features. To make the world aware of what Helsinki has to offer, the city just needed a little repackaging.” says Alexander Pihlainen, CEO of brand company Bou behind the creative concept. 

Helsinki steps up efforts to attract international talent

This year the Finnish growth companies attracted the most venture capital investments to GDP in Europe, and hundreds of millions of euros in foreign capital have been invested in startups here. With a new approach to branding Helsinki, the city wants to improve the city’s image as a place to live. 

“Helsinki is located in one of the world’s most secure countries and inhabited by the world’s happiest people. The majority of foreign experts who have settled in Helsinki are satisfied with the quality of life here. The experience of a happy, good life is a combination of tangible – like housing, transportation, jobs and infrastructure – and intangible things. The intangibles – sense of trust and community, equality, closeness to nature – are essential values in building the quality of life”, says Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.

Campaign site: www.myhelsinki.fi/caas

For more information, please contact:

Laura Aalto
CEO
Helsinki Marketing (Helsinki)
+358 40 507 9660
[email protected] 

Helsinki Marketing is a company owned by the City of Helsinki. It is responsible for operative city marketing and business partnerships for Helsinki. Helsinki Marketing interacts with local residents, visitors, decision-makers and experts. 

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development open for business

The Hague, November 15, 2019 – The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) has officially been launched in the presence of government officials, NGOs, investors, politicians and other interested parties. In May of this year, the DFCD was awarded to the consortium of Dutch development bank FMO, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL) and Climate Fund Managers (CFM). “Today’s launch means that the DFCD is officially open for business,” said Linda Broekhuizen, Chief Investment Officer at FMO. “The consortium is keen to connect with innovative entrepreneurs with climate-related businesses and with private investors keen to mobilize much-needed funding from the private sector to join us in our mission to create a more climate-resilient world.”

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face today. It is already affecting people and nature across the globe, with developing countries being most impacted. “The poorest communities are the most vulnerable to climate change. Poor farmers and others at the bottom of the pyramid suffer and lose their livelihoods even with small changes in rainfall patterns or temperature”, as Meike van Ginneken, Chief Executive Officer at SNV explained.

There is an urgent need for investment to enable vulnerable communities and ecosystems to adapt to climate change. Carola van Rijnsoever, Director of Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: „The challenge we face to help communities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change is enormous, and the case for action is incredibly clear. We cannot do this with governments alone. We need all stakeholders to be strong enough to confront this challenge. The set-up of this consortium in which finance and NGOs come together, is unique and uniquely positioned to do this.“ The government of The Netherlands has committed to addressing this need through the DFCD, making EUR 160 million available in the period 2019-2022 for climate adaptation and mitigation, of which at least 50% is earmarked for climate adaptation projects.

DFCD is a direct response to the increasing demand for climate adaptation projects that have to date suffered from a lack of funding compared with mitigation efforts. Linda Broekhuizen adds: “In 2018, USD 612 billion was invested in climate mitigation which is important and much needed. In contrast however, only 5%, USD 30 billion, was invested in adaptation. Adaptation may have to be USD 180 billion a year if the 2030 goal is to reach the USD 1.7 trillion as required according to the most recent report of the Global Commission on Adaptation.”

To help bridge this funding gap the DFCD aims to mobilize upwards of EUR 500 million from private sector investors. Andrew Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer of Climate Fund Managers adds: “The opportunities are there. Take water for example: 80% of the world’s wastewater enters rivers and oceans untreated and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas. Neither the private nor the public sector is doing enough, but together the investment potential is enormous, as is the impact to be delivered.”

This partnership of NGOs and financiers seeks to develop and finance sustainable private sector solutions to enhance resilience to the effects of climate change. These projects will boost the health of freshwater, forest, agricultural and ocean ecosystems, and improve water management.

“The consortium takes a landscape approach through investing in projects which are planned in an inclusive manner, and build on a solid understanding of the landscape, ecosystems and communities. In this way these projects will contribute to healthier ecosystems,” said Kirsten Schuijt, Chief Executive Officer of WWF-NL. “New and incredibly exciting in this consortium is that there is early-stage funding available to convert adaptation opportunities into bankable projects.” 

WWF and SNV take on the key role of developing climate-relevant projects from an early-stage idea to a bankable business case. Climate Fund Managers and FMO provide investment capital, delivering projects to full operations. This combination of early-stage involvement with full life-cycle funding will ensure lasting, long-term impact that contributes to the Paris Agreement and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Interested parties can contact the DFCD through: www.thedfcd.com.

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development open for business
In picture from left to right the DFCD partners at the official launch event in The Hague: Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of WWF-NL, Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO, Albert Bokkestijn, project manger DFCD at SNV, Carola van Rijnsoever, Director of Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In picture from left to right the DFCD partners at the official launch event in The Hague: Andrew Johnstone, CEO of Climate Fund Managers, Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of WWF-NL, Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO, Albert Bokkestijn, project manger DFCD at SNV, Carola van Rijnsoever, Director Inclusive Green Growth, and Ambassador Sustainable Development, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

WeWork? More like WePull: New flexible co-working is fuelling office romances

The melting pot of young creative talent is having surprising effects on co-worker’s love lives

It used to be down to catching the eye of your suitor at the water cooler, but now with the influx of co-working super offices with an average of 700 members per building, office romances are hitting record levels.

Daily networking opportunities, huge open plan co-working areas and free beer are some of the features that are helping to turn WeWork into “WePull”.

“If you fill a building with young, ambitious people, then fuel them with free beer, topped off with evening networking – it’s going to bring people together and I guess that’s the point!”, says Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

“We’ve been told that the large buildings are very busy with new relationships, and many are working out. People seem to have a common goal, a reason to chat and the environment is very productive to new relationships – both business and personal”, Ratcliffe adds.

The average amount of co-workers per WeWork location is nearly 700 – with a steady turnover and influx of new members every day, those looking for new romance can sit back and take their pick.

Even if it doesn’t work out, flexible workspace means just that – move to the next.

But there are pitfalls for those working for large organisations though – breeching company policy and embarrassing public arguments could have serious effects for those in long term employment.

According to a survey by Vault.com industries with the highest “fling per head” were:

  • Retail – 62%
  • Technology – 60%
  • Human Resources – 57%
  • Insurance – 54%
  • Finance – 49%

The survey also found that 51% had an office romance at some point, and 20% were in a relationship with a co-worker at that very time.

“It’s not surprising that the industries that typically use co-working workspaces are those who enjoy the most work flings”, concludes Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk

Survey data taken from Vault.com: https://www.vault.com/blogs/workplace-issues/2015-office-romance-survey-results

Spokesperson Jonathan Ratcliffe from Offices.co.uk is available for comment on 020 3151 3360 or by email [email protected]

Offices.co.uk is a National Provider of Serviced Offices and Flexible Workspaces.

Website: https://www.offices.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/offices_co_uk

SMEs hoarding record levels of cash amid Brexit turmoil – and it’s costing them billions a year

  • SMEs now hold an estimated £333 billion in cash deposits – a record high
  • But SMEs are set to miss out on £3.7 billion in interest this year because their money is languishing in low-paying savings accounts
  • This may also be damaging to the UK economy as it relies heavily on the performance of SMEs, says Flagstone

UK small and medium-sized businesses are holding record levels of cash as uncertainty surrounding Brexit persists – and it is costing them billions of pounds a year, new analysis reveals.

In the last 12 months, SME’s cash reserves have increased by more than 3% to £333 billion – the highest level on record – according to analysis of UK Finance figures by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of Flagstone, the UK’s largest cash deposit platform.

Much of this growth has been from deposits into instant-access accounts. Indeed, nearly 58% of all SME cash reserves are now being held in instant-access accounts, suggesting that firms want quick access to their money.

However, by doing this firms are missing out on billions of pounds of interest as these accounts typically pay the lowest interest rates.

With SMEs currently holding £191 billion in instant-access accounts and receiving an average rate of 0.41 % [1], they are on track to earn £566 million in interest in the coming year, CEBR’s analysis found. However, if they were to switch to a market leading instant-access rate of 1.40% [2], they would earn £2.7 billion in total in the next year – £2.1 billion more than they are currently expected to earn.

Further, UK SMEs currently hold £141 billion in fixed-rate deposit accounts earning on average 0.86%, meaning they are expected to earn £1.2 billion in the next 12 months. But if SMEs instead switched to the market-leading 1.95% one-year fixed rate, they would collectively earn £2.8 billion in interest in the coming 12 months – £1.6 billion more than they would have otherwise.

It means, in total, firms are expected to miss out on £3.7 billion in interest in the next year because their money is languishing in low-rate savings accounts.

That extra £3.7 billion would be enough to fund for a year the salaries of more than 123,360 additional workers on the UK average annual salary of £29,588[3].

Separate research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Flagstone reveals why SMEs are reluctant to shop around for a better rate for their cash.

Almost four in ten (39%) of the 500 firms surveyed said the hassle of opening an account is the greatest barrier stopping them from moving their money followed by 34% of firms who said the perceived risks of depositing money with a challenger or non-high street bank was the biggest deterrent.

Andrew Thatcher, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of Flagstone, said: “It’s clear that firms are worried about what effect Brexit will have on their business and are hording cash in case the waters become choppy. However, whilst this may be a sensible move, our study reveals that firms aren’t choosing the best home for their cash. Often, firms are getting sub-optimal rates of interest when they could be getting much higher returns on their cash by shopping around.

“The research shows that savings apathy doesn’t just affect individual savers, but also the nation’s businesses too. Each year SMEs are missing out on billions of pounds of interest because they’re failing to shop around for a better deposit rate for their cash reserves. Firms that forego this extra cash could be missing out on the chance to grow their business by hiring extra staff or investing in productivity improvements.”

“The solution a platform like Flagstone provides is that it not only consistently keeps business owners and financial directors in the path of the best rates, but it also removes the barriers to switching, providing a simple way to increase income and reduce risk. If you are an SME or charity with excess cash at bank it makes no sense not to at least consider a service such as Flagstone and choose from one of hundreds of deposit products at the touch of a button to earn more money.”

[1] All figures on current SME cash holdings and average interest rates are Bank of England data, analysed by the Cebr

[2] Correct as at 4 November 2019

[3] Employee earnings in the UK: 2018, released by ONS on 25 October 2018. Annual figure calculated by multiplying median full-time gross weekly earnings (£569) by 52

Flagstone

Flagstone is an FCA authorised and regulated fintech company (FCA reference numbers 676754 and 605504) located in London and founded in 2013. Flagstone’s online cash deposit platform enables companies, charities and individuals to earn more interest and reduce risk through diversification. Completion of a single application gives the client access to over 550 deposit accounts from 38 different banks and enables them to research and open accounts in just a matter of keystrokes. The platform puts clients in control of their cash, giving them access to market-leading and exclusive rates from a growing panel of UK banks, consolidated reporting and regular new rate alerts to ensure that their cash is working as hard as possible for them 24/7. For more information, see www.flagstoneim.com or watch a short film explaining what we do and how it benefits clients by clicking here.  

All of the UK banks on the Flagstone platform are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA. Deposits placed with any of these banks via the Flagstone platform are afforded exactly the same Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection (i.e. £85,000 per individual depositor per authorised institution) as if the client placed the deposit directly with the bank.

Qualcomm set to benefit from wider 5G adoption

Comments from Anthony Ginsberg, Managing Director of GinsGlobal Index Funds

Qualcomm has reported a drop in its adjusted earnings per share to 78 cents, but it was not as high as most analysts were expecting. The company was expected to provide a much gloomier report than it did, based off its Q2 numbers.

The company’s shares were up around 3% in after hours trading, while earnings are expected to trail last year’s figure.

Qualcomm’s large investment into 5G has proven fruitful for the San Diego-based semiconductor maker. We believe it will be a leader in the Internet of Things and benefit from the explosion in Cloud Technology too – since companies active in this sector will be dependent on 5G technology.

It’s likely 5G wireless networks will usher in a range of new possibilities for businesses. Health-care startups could use the speed and power of 5G to conduct remote surgery. 5G is predicted to be 100 times faster than the current generation of wireless. Qualcomm Inc.’s venture-capital division is setting aside $200 million to invest in 5G wireless startups – an indication of its commitment to this area.

Qualcomm is partnering with US phone carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. – in the race to roll out 5G offerings. In September, Qualcomm announced new mobile platforms that will power lower-cost 5G phones – making them far cheaper than the current $1000 plus cost. This includes new Series 6 and Series 7 chips.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is both working and competing with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. over 5G intellectual property and to supply 5G-compatible chipsets to smartphone makers as they introduce 5G-enabled phones.

We expect the US-China trade war to simmer down – now that Phase 1 is expected to be agreed to imminently. Qualcomm has previously been hurt by possible trade war worries. Qualcomm will likely be one of the biggest beneficiaries of a reduction in the trade dispute with China. Its share price has already started to show signs of recovery.

The importance of 5G

In the delivery of healthcare – 5G will be of tremendous economic benefit – especially in the areas of telematics and wearables – tracking how people are living. Healthcare accounts for almost 20% of the US GDP – so any efficiency drivers in this area will be widely adopted.

We believe wireless and 5G represent the future of business digitization. Qualcomm is well positioned to benefit from these significant trends. We expect early 5G innovations could occur in enterprise business settings next year.

About GinsGlobal

GinsGlobal Index Funds provides a wide variety of index-linked investment products.  These include traditional Index Funds (mutual funds), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Principal Protected (Capital Guaranteed) index notes. GinsGlobal has pioneered a common-sense investment approach that has challenged the fund management industry by offering customers a transparent and low-cost way to invest in any asset class whether it be stocks, bonds, real estate or alternative (hedge) investments.