Welcome to issue 34 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 6 February 2014. This issue is kindly sponsored by HCC International.

  • Credit Insurance News
  • An announcement from this week's sponsor
  • Credit Insurance Reports
  • Industry Events and Offers
  • Business Info: Recommended Reports and UK Retailers: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
  • Career Opportunities and New Appointments
  • About this issue's sponsor

Credit Insurance News
Euler Hermes launches a new service to provide a 'SmartView' of risks and opportunities. Euler Hermes has launched a new service, EH Smartview, which provides customers with a dashboard summarising their main credit insurance KPIs (e.g., buyer portfolio risk profile, total exposure by month, global acceptance rate for active credit limits). The service also allows information to be tailored and filtered so that customers can readily access the specific information they require. Euler Hermes Belgium's Chief Executive Officer, Francis Jespers, explained to the Digest: "Our customers will not only be able to screen bad debtors; they will also be able to analyse their risks, spot sectorial trends, and thus maximize business opportunities. We in Belgium feel very proud that we are, together with our colleagues in the UK, the first ones to offer this service worldwide." For more information go to http://www.eulerhermes.be/en/credit-insurance/our-solutions/Pages/EH-SmartView.aspx. (Please note: A 30-day free trial of EH SmartView is currently available, email asdbe@eulerhermes.com for details.

Coface's Country Risk Conference predicts that global trade risks will fall in 2014. GTR has published an article, 'Global trade 'less risky' in 2014', which reports that delegates at Coface’s Country Risk Conference heard that stability is expected among the world’s developed trade economies, with Austria, Germany, Ireland and the US having their risk outlook upgraded a notch for the coming year, and the eurozone predicted to grow by 0.9% in 2014. Even the seemingly perennial sick-men of Europe, Spain and Italy, are predicted to return to growth in 2014 - albeit at rates below 1%. The trend is expected to filter through to emerging markets too, leading to an increase in combined emerging market growth of 0.4% (to 4.7%). Brazil, Thailand and Tunisia are the only ones to have their outlook downgraded, while in Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda have all had their risk outlook upgraded. According to Coface, the world’s riskiest sector is metals. To view the full article go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2014/January/Global-trade-less-risky-in-2014-_11439.shtml.

Lower food company credit insurance claims reflect improved market conditions. The Grocer has published an article, 'Atradius reports fewer trade credit insurance claims in 2013',  which advises that food companies made significantly fewer trade credit insurance claims for unpaid or late invoices last year. Darren Tilke, Atradius' senior underwriter for food and agriculture, is quoted at length and advises that these improvements follow "a tree shake in 2012 of weaker players." To view the article, please go to http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/companies/trade-credit-insurance-claims-fall-in-2013/353884.article.

Euler Hermes and HSBC formalise a U.S. trade credit insurance partnership. The agreement is designed to provide HSBC's customers in the U.S. who trade on open account terms with access to Euler Hermes’ protection, and is within the framework of the global distribution agreement the two companies announced in 2013. HSBC and Euler Hermes have been strategic partners for trade credit insurance globally since 2008, growing to include Brazil, Mexico, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. During 2013, the partnership was also launched in France, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Jochen Duemler, CEO and head of Euler Hermes Americas, commented: “Euler Hermes’ global presence, deep trade risk expertise and economic knowledge will help HSBC customers select the most promising markets and clients for sustainable business growth." To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-hermes-HSBC-formalize-US-trade-credit-insurance-partnership.aspx.

Q&A: Jochen Duemler of Euler Hermes discusses credit insurance in the U.S. Risk and Compliance Journal has published an article in which Jochen Duemler, president and chief executive of Euler Hermes North America, discusses the risk outlook for trade and payments and opportunities for the credit insurance industry. Mr Duemler comments: "The business mentality in the U.S. market is more opportunistic than in Europe, where the CFO says ‘my accounts receivable are 40% of my balance sheet and I insure everything I have on the asset side of my balance sheet so of course I insure my receivables.’ Here people say ‘maybe this one buyer is becoming more critical, so I will cover for this one buyer, and if the risk improves dramatically, then I won’t buy it any more.’ " To view the article go to http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2014/01/30/qa-jochen-duemler-of-euler-hermes-on-the-risk-outlook-for-trade/.

Marsh advises that 227,000 companies have debts greater than their assets. Marsh's latest Outlook publication has cautioned that although the UK economy is showing signs of recovery, there are now more than 227,000 companies with debts greater than their assets — an increase of 108% from five years ago. Collectively, these companies have negative net worth of almost £70 billion. (Source: Company Watch, September 2013). Marsh warns that these companies are at best only producing enough cash to service their debts, but not earning enough to restore their balance sheets to a healthy position. "For these businesses, the risk of insolvency remains very real, despite improving economic conditions." To view the Outlook go to http://uk.marsh.com/default.aspx?tabid=1560&ID=35603.

Coface's Country Risk Conference 2014: Video clips. Coface has published a series of 14 videos on its dedicated YouTube channel to show the speeches and debates from its recent Country Risk Conference on 21 January in Paris. Prominent figures who spoke at the Conference included: Jean-Claude Trichet (former president of the European Central Bank), Erik Orsenna (economist, writer and member of the French Academy) and Pierre Moscovici (French Minister of the Economy and Finance). The presentations and debates are in French or English. To view, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxdePXg1lkU&list=PLUGQsBw1BM6PGyQMjcbZmS2jE9XgTpDlD&feature=share.

Understanding Credit Insurance with Euler Hermes. Euler Hermes has published a lighthearted but succinct video clip on YouTube which is the English Language version of its video 'Qu'est-ce que l'assurance-crédit?' (see Digest, 18 October). The video introduces us to fictional business owner Peter, and demonstrates how non-payment can suddenly occur - even with the most trusted client - and the knock-on negative impact on Peter's business. In this case, and with huge relief, Pierre awakes from his nightmare; he is covered by credit insurance provided and "this will never happen." To view the clip go to http://youtu.be/2gfl4jSOSKg.

Coface's economist for Asia-Pacific comments on the current crisis in Thailand. StrategicRISK has published an article, 'Protests and power plays raise ‘fight and flight’ fears', which examines the current 'state of emergency' the caretaker Pheu Thai government recently declared in Thailand. Rocky Tung, who was appointed as Coface’s economist for the Asia-Pacific region in September last year, comments that Thailand’s economic growth could be hurt if the unrest continued, but also advises that the impact of political unrest on domestic economic activities and investment sentiment “could be overstated”. He points out that large-scaled infrastructure projects in the country could maintain growth momentum despite adverse political conditions. To view the article go to http://www.strategic-risk-global.com/protests-and-power-plays-raise-fight-and-flight-fears/1406777.article.

The ONDD group becomes Credendo Group. The Belgian public credit insurer ONDD (Office national du Ducroire | Nationale Delcredere Dienst) has announced that it is now promoting its European dimension under a new name: Credendo Group. Group members include: Delcredere | Ducroire, Credimundi (the new name of the short-term business), KUPEG, INGO-ONDD, Garant and TCRe. Other changes include a new website - www.credendogroup.com and, following the departure of Jean-Pierre Pauwels, the Board of Directors of Credimundi (formerly Ducroire | Delcredere SA.NV) has appointed Mr Dirk Terweduwe as its Chairman.

Roundtable finds that the credit insurance industry pays its claims promptly, and has held up well during the financial crisis. TFR (Trade & Forfaiting Review) has published an article, 'New risks, new business', in which a panel of experts, including Aon's Susan Ross and BPL Global's Charles Berry, discuss the impact of the financial crisis on the trade credit insurance industry and its claims performance. To view, go to http://www.tfreview.com/opinion/risk/new-risks-new-business. (Please note that a subscription to TFR is required to view this article).

The MENA Insurance Review names Euler Hermes GCC 'Speciality Lines Insurer of the Year 2014'. Euler Hermes GCC is part of the Euler Hermes Mediterranean Countries, Middle East and Africa (MMEA) region, currently employing 600 people and covering 12 countries. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-GCC-named-Specialty-Lines-Insurer-Year-2014--.aspx.

An announcement from this week's sponsor
HCC has recently announced that Jim Davidson will shortly be retiring from the business after over 30 years in the credit insurance industry. A chartered quantity surveyor by background, Jim was one of the founding directors of De Montfort Insurance Company in 1982, which was acquired by HCC Insurance Holdings Inc in 2005, when the company name changed to HCC International Insurance Co Plc. Since then, Jim has been Head of the Credit Division and grown the business to be the successful operation it is today. Jim is President of the International Credit Insurance and Surety Association and an active member of the ABI Trade Credit Committee. As a company, HCC is extremely proud of what Jim has done, not only for the business, but also for the wider credit insurance and surety industries.

With immediate effect Martyn Ward has been appointed as Head of a combined Credit and Surety Division of HCC International. Martyn and his team are delighted that Jim will be remaining with the business for a period as non-Executive Chairman to ensure a seamless handover of the business. The future of HCC is strong and in safe hands. Martyn Ward joined the company in 1984 and following the acquisition of the business by HCC in 2005 was appointed as Head of Surety, but prior to that also worked with Jim in our Credit Insurance business. Martyn will be supported by Jane Hull and Nick Walklett and the existing team of credit staff whom most of you will already know.

Credit Insurance Reports
Aon Risk Solutions releases its annual Terrorism and Political Violence Map. Aon has released its 2014 Terrorism and Political Violence Map which indicates that empirically, the Middle East is the region most afflicted by terrorism in the world, with a 28% share of all terrorist attacks recorded worldwide in 2013. The Map also shows that Brazil was the only Latin American country to see its risk rating increase from medium to severe, while Africa remains a continent of high political violence and terrorism risk, with 22 countries having high to severe risk ratings. When looking at attacks on businesses by sector, the retail and transportation sectors were the most significantly affected in 2013, with 33% of terrorism attacks affecting the retail sector and 18% of attacks taking place on the transportation sector. The Map comes in a print edition and as an online dashboard. To view go to  http://www.aon.com/terrorismmap/.

Coface's Country Risk Conference reports a favourable risk trend in advanced economies but persistent tensions in large emerging countries. Following its Country Risk Conference, Coface has published an assessment which advises that the recovery in advanced economies is marked by divergences between countries. For example, the situation of businesses in the U.S. has considerably improved, while in Europe Coface notes risk improvement in Germany, Austria and Ireland but a more mixed diagnosis for the rest of the eurozone. As for emerging countries, the rate of growth will increase only slightly (+4.7%) and will remain below the average for the 2000-2011 period. To view Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Country-Risk-Conference-2014-In-2014-favourable-risk-trend-in-advanced-economies-but-persistent-tensions-in-large-emerging-countries.

Poland: After a weak 2013, Atradius predicts that economic growth will rebound in 2014. Atradius has published its latest Country Report on Poland which advises that the Polish economy grew by an average rate of more than 4% a year in the decade before the 2008/2009 credit crisis, and even managed growth of 1.6% in 2009 - when most of its European neighbours had fallen into recession. However, after a rebound in 2010 and 2011, its economy slowed to 1.9% in 2012 and to just 1.3% in 2013, due mainly to sluggish domestic demand and low investment. However, there were signs of an economic recovery in 2013, which, in 2014, is forecast to accelerate further (by 2.9%), driven by increased domestic demand, investment and rising export orders. To view Atradius' report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Poland_January2014.pdf.

Euler Hermes: Automobile sector in China. ​Euler Hermes has published a report on the Automobile sector in China - the number one world market since 2010 - and advises that the Chinese sector is dominated by western manufacturers who make up 60% of market share through joint ventures in cooperation with Chinese state owned enterprises. As a result, the sector has too many small local players, many of whom, Euler Hermes warns, may have an uncertain future. To view Euler Hermes' report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Industry-Report-China-Automobile-Jan14.aspx.

China in 2014: Coface predicts stable growth, although risks remain in several sectors. Coface has issued a new press release/report which predicts that real GDP growth in China in 2014 will remain stable but slow slightly to 7.2% year-on-year - partly due to higher inflation. The report also advises that risks remain in the steel and coal sectors, with companies in the steel industry at a higher risk of insolvency and non-payment. In contrast, the auto, retail and electronics sectors have moderate to medium risk as demand is generally strong. To view Coface's findings go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/China-in-2014-stable-growth-with-risks-of-financing-and-overcapacities.-Risks-remain-in-several-sectors.

Euler Hermes predicts that the Brazilian economy will expand at a 'tepid' rate. Euler Hermes has published a new report, 'Food Industry in Brazil: Where is the growth?' which advises that, except for a rebound in 2010, Brazilian Food production has fared pretty poorly over the last past 5 years, being at odds with the booming domestic economy and consumption in food products. Furthermore, despite a rebound in exports, which stabilised the Brazilian food industry in 2013, many uncertainties are lingering for 2014. To view the report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Lists/NewsDocuments/Industry_Report-Brazil_Food-Jan14.pdf.

Italy: Atradius predicts very slight economic growth in 2014. Atradius has published its latest Country Report on Italy which advises that the anticipated small rebound by the Italian economy in 2014 cannot hide the fact that the country's international competitive position continues to worsen due to a lack of reform efforts, As a result,  Atradius predicts that in 2014, the economy will only modestly rebound: by 0.3%-0.5%, and there will be no decrease from the current high insolvency levels - with construction, wholesale/retail and metals still the worst affected sectors. To view the report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Italy_February_2014.pdf.

Euler Hermes advises the 10 right steps to a global recovery. Euler Hermes has published its latest Global Economic Outlook, '10 Game Changers for 2014: Getting back in the game'. Explaining the choice of title and the aim of the report, Ludovic Subran, Euler Hermes' Chief Economist, commented: "Like the 12 set program by Alcoholics Anonymous, we searched for the right steps to a global recovery. We only found ten of them and, actually, called them game changers . . . For each game changer, we found a sponsor (a country or a region) that will be supporting world recovery and tried to emphasize what rehabilitation meant for close friends and relatives, that is to say companies." To view the full report and view Euler Hermes' top 10 game changers go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/Lists/mediacenter-documents/Economic_outlook_Dec2013Jan2014_Macro_Top_ten_game_changers_in_2014.pdf.

Industry Events, Offers and Training
7th Annual Russia & CIS Trade & Export Finance Conference, 11 February 2014. Moscow.
GTR returns to Moscow for the 7th Annual Russia & CIS Trade & Export Finance Conference. Now established as the only place for key business leaders to meet to discuss the ever-changing trade landscape in Russia and the wider region, the event will draw on record attendance in 2013 to further highlight the huge opportunities within this lucrative market. As with all GTR conferences, networking is a central theme through the day. The conference delegation will consist of decision makers from corporate, banking and financial services organisations, making this an opportunity not to be missed for anyone looking to make new business contacts within the Russian market. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

10th Annual India Trade & Export Finance Conference, 12 February 2014.
Now in its 10th year and recognised as the conference of choice for the region’s trade finance community, this much anticipated annual gathering looks set to welcome over 250 high-level business leaders keen to discuss the most pertinent issues affecting both domestic and international players. Enjoying participation from companies of all sizes from all manner of sectors, the conference is a must attend event for anyone looking to do business with one of the world’s most burgeoning economies. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

The ICM British Credit Awards 2014, 12 February at The Brewery. London.
ICM British Credit Awards, the recognised standard in the credit and collections industry, take place on 12 February 2014 at the Brewery in London. The Awards bring a focus to the credit industry with awards covering the different aspects of credit from consumer and commercial lending to credit insurance, use of technology and business information. To book your place at this most prestigious event or to find out more, visit www.ICMBritishCreditAwards.com.

5th Annual Global Export and Agency Finance 2014 Asia Pacific, 19-20 February 2014. Grand Hyatt Jakarta.
Now in its 5th annual event, we will once again gather over 300 senior representatives from the world’s most active and influential ECAs, multilaterals, financiers, legal firms and corporates to share their insights into the hottest topics surrounding the global, regional and local export and agency finance industries. For further information, please go to our website at www.euromoneyseminars.com/ECAAsia2014 or email to ashley.li@euromoneyasia.com.

Middle East Trade Finance Week 2014, 25-27 February 2014. Dubai.
Middle East Trade Finance Week 2014, incorporating the 11th Annual Middle East Trade & Export Finance Conference alongside various stream sessions, roundtables, workshops and networking events, will be taking place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai on February 25-27, 2014. As one of the longest-running and most established events on the MENA calendar, the event has built an unsurpassed reputation for bringing together all leading trade and export finance professionals under one roof. With over 350 delegates expected in attendance, including companies of all sizes and from all manner of sectors, the event is well placed to tackle the region’s trade and export priorities, with specific focus on various countries, projects and financing trends. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Insuring Export Credit & Political Risk, 26–27 February 2014.  Hilton Tower Bridge, London.
Now in its 24th successive year, this is the leading industry event with over 300 senior attendees from 37 countries, supported by the Berne Union and ICISA. The conference will provide a unique opportunity to meet top executives from around the world and hear the very latest news and views. Our international speaker line-up features some of the most eminent names from the industry, including leading ECAs, Multilateral Organisations, Underwriters, Brokers, Banks, Exporters, Investors and Buyers. Registrations are now open. Simply call +44 (0) 20 7017 7790, email: kmregistration@informa.com, or book online here. Quote VIP code: FKW52676CRN for a 10% discount.

Africa Trade Finance Week 2014, 17-19 March 2014. Cape Town.
Incorporating the 8th Annual Africa Trade & Export Finance Conference, Supply Chain Masterclass, Association of Corporate Treasurers South Africa Breakfast Briefing, GTR Africa Roundtable alongside numerous networking events, Africa Trade Finance Week will take place in Cape Town on March 17-19. Now recognised as the world’s leading pan-African trade gathering, having established the reputation for bringing only the most senior corporate, bankers and global policy makers together under one roof, the event will highlight the latest developments and examine both the regional and international trade flows impacting on one of the world’s most lucrative markets. Click here for more information about this event. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

8th Annual Turkey Trade & Export Finance Conference, 25-26 March. Istanbul.
After a record breaking meeting in 2013 saw over 370 delegates gather under one roof for two days of high-level discussion and networking, the 8th Annual Turkey Trade & Export Finance Conference will return to Istanbul on March 25-26. Enjoying full recognition as the premier annual event for Turkey’s leading businesses and those trade, export and commodity financiers and associated sectors tasked with supporting their international trade, the conference will again provide deep insight on the trends and challenges being experienced by those operating in this exciting market alongside extensive networking across an international audience that remains unrivalled throughout Turkey and the wider region. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Credit Summit 2014, 3 April 2014. QE11 Conference Centre, London.
The UK’s largest credit show is growing. Creditors can look forward to even more cutting edge free content including the Trade Credit Conference, Insolvency Conference and training workshops. Including more than 40 exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations across the entire credit and collections market with over 500 delegates to share ideas and gain crucial market knowledge. The FCA will be providing a timely comment on the transfer of consumer credit and how they will be supervising the consumer credit industry. All this is FREE to access for all credit professionals, just visit www.creditsummit.co.uk to find out more and to register for your place.

4th Annual Latin America Trade & Commodity Finance Conference, 9-10 April. São Paulo, Brazil.
Once again providing the definitive meeting point for those high level decision makers operating in or looking to do business in Latin America, this is the most comprehensive gathering of leading trade finance practitioners in the region, and is well placed to address the abundance of opportunities and challenges this exciting region holds. Simultaneous English/Portuguese translation at the conference will allow all delegates to fully immerse themselves in proceedings. Click here for more information. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

ICTF's International Credit Professionals Symposium, 11-13 May. Hotel Princess Sofia, Barcelona.
This truly global conference will feature presentations by renowned experts from China, France, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the USA; including a Keynote Address from Ludovic Subran, Group Chief Economist & Director Economic Research Department with Euler Hermes and 'Hot in Asia' from Bart Poublon, Head of Risk Asia Pacific with Atradius. Other Conference highlights include 'Trade Finance and Credit Management - The Next Dimension!', 'The Journey to Creating a Best in Class Credit Function' and 'ICTF's Trade Creditors Global Forum'. For more information visit http://www.ictfworld.org/BlankCustom.asp?page=Barcelona2014 or contact Tim Lane at tim.lane@ictfworld.org or +44 (0) 1869 277523.

Understanding International Credit Reports: New training course. Various dates throughout 2014.
Graydon has announced that it is introducing a new training course, Understanding International Credit Reports. The one-day course will examine: report content by region (MENA, North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Far East & 'Tax Havens'), sources of data (Credit Agencies, Public Registries, Local Agent in undeveloped markets & Law Firms), credit scoring/ratings and pricing. The course costs £599 + VAT (a 10% discount is offered to Credit Insurance News Digest readers) and will be held on various dates throughout the year. For more information, please go to https://www.graydon.co.uk/understanding-international-credit-reports-CIN-members.

STECIS Trade Credit Insurance and Surety (BASIC & ADVANCED) Training Seminars, 10-11 April 2014 and 19-29 June 2014. The Hague, The Netherlands.
The STECIS training seminars are two-day events and are highly interactive. They cover technical and practical knowledge on Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds, the theory of underwriting, in-depth analysis of industry developments, the terminology and the current market. In addition, participants are asked to review case studies. The BASIC training seminars are on 10-11 April 2014 and are open to participants with up to 3 years of work experience. The ADVANCED training seminars are set for 19-20 June 2014 and are suited to participants who have attended the basic training seminars and/or have at least 4 years of work experience. As the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) strongly endorses the STECIS training seminar programme, ICISA member companies receive a 5% discount on the total seminar fee. Companies (ICISA members and non-ICISA members) registering three or more participants to one training seminar, receive a 10% discount on the total seminar fee. For more information, please visit the website www.stecis.org or contact STECIS by sending an e-mail to info@stecis.org or call +31 20 528 5170.

Business Information: Recommended Reports and Business Shorts
Conflicting payment terms are hindering international business. SMEs are failing to maximise their trading potential because of conflicting payment practices employed by businesses globally, according to research conducted by Bibby Financial Services. For example, in Germany the vast majority of businesses (79%) require their customers to pay their bills immediately and only a minority offer credit terms which allow payment after 30 or 60 days. By contrast, businesses in the UK routinely offer credit terms of 30 to 60 days, with just 24% requiring immediate payment. Outside of Europe, payment practices differ again. In the U.S., 46% of the businesses surveyed said they require immediate payment, whereas in Singapore 60% said they offer customers the opportunity to delay payment. In Hong Kong, 31% expect immediate payment and 69% offer 30-90 day payment terms. To view Bibby Financial Services' news release go to http://www.bibbyfinancialservices.com/meta/press/news/2014/1/SMEs-hindered-by-fluctuating-global-payment-terms.aspx.

The CBI advises that the UK needs a universal culture of prompt payment The CBI has stressed that there needs to be a culture of prompt payment, and would like to see UK companies explain their supplier payment policies clearly on their websites, as well as the introduction of a target maximum payment term (with some built in flexibility for more complex contracts). The CBI has also warned against the unintended consequences of imposing new rules which would put the UK on an uneven playing-field internationally (i.e. mandatory maximum payment terms, introducing an enforcement agency or blacklisting of suppliers), and which might result in contracts being offered to overseas suppliers instead of UK firms. To view the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/01/we-need-a-universal-culture-of-prompt-payment/.

Five in 10 businesses suffer from late payment. New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed that 51% of its members providing goods or services to larger private sector businesses were paid late in the last 12 months. The research also found that for those firms affected, being paid late or on extended terms hits them hard, with members reporting reduced profitability (34%), paying their suppliers late (32%) and restricting their business growth (29%). However, just 12% had charged interest to clients for overdue payments - primarily because they fear losing business. The FSB has urged the Government to consider re-launching the Prompt Payment Code (PPC) website and to promote more widely the existing ‘challenge' function – where small firms can complain about a firm signed up to the code if they feel that they are not prompt payer. To view the FSB's news release go to http://www.fsb.org.uk/News.aspx?loc=pressroom&rec=8511.

Critical business distress falls for three straight quarters. According to the latest Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert for Q4 2013, levels of ‘Critical’ financial distress among UK businesses continued to recover during the final quarter of 2013. Across all sectors, UK businesses experiencing ‘Critical’ financial problems reduced 1% from 2,951 in Q3 2013 to 2,933 in Q4 2013, with the Hotel, Food Retailing and General Retailing sectors experiencing seasonal reductions in ‘Critical distress, falling 24%, 22% and 7% respectively. Also finishing the year in a stronger position were the UK’s important services sectors (Financial Services, Professional Services and Support Services), which experienced quarterly reductions in ‘Critical’ distress of 23%, 21% and 4% respectively. On an annual basis, the improvement in ‘Critical’ distress levels was still more marked - decreasing some 4% compared to 3,044 in Q4 2012. To view Begbies Traynor's news release go to http://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/begbies-traynor/news/14-01-20/%E2%80%9Cfeel_good%E2%80%9D_factor_returns_as_critical_business_distress_falls_for_three_straight_quarters.aspx.

D&B advises that the UK will outperform most European markets. D&B has released a new report, Global Economic Outlook to 2018, which advises that while global GDP growth is estimated at 2% in 2013 (compared to 2.3% in 2012), D&B anticipates 2.7% growth in 2014 and further acceleration through 2018. D&B also found that the U.K's. level of risk is low and improving - with the U.K. predicted to outperform most European markets. However, the pace of economic recovery in advanced economies remains mixed, while some emerging markets are struggling to restructure the supply-side drivers of their economies. Paul Ballew, chief economist at D&B, commented: "Recovering from the Great Recession continues to challenge global economies. Although growth is still constrained for various developed countries, many are improving and are poised to experience a sustained acceleration in growth headed to recovery." To view D&B's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.dnb.co.uk/news/global-outlook-2018.

PwC Global CEO Survey reveals leap in UK confidence. PwC's newly published 2014 Global CEO Survey shows that UK CEOs are now far more optimistic about growth prospects; 93% of UK CEOs are confident about their own company’s revenue prospects over the coming 12 months, up from 78% in 2013, while 61% think that the outlook for growth in the global economy will improve in the year ahead - up from just 11% last year. Ian Powell, UK chairman and senior partner at PwC, commented: "Our 2014 Global CEO Survey shows that UK CEOs are far more optimistic about growth prospects than their peers in developed economies around the world, with their views more in line with the CEOs of Asia Pacific countries. UK business leaders are now focused on revival rather than survival . . ." To view PwC's news release and link to the full report go to http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2014/01/youre-hired-pwc-global-ceo-survey-reveals-leap-in-uk-confidence.html.

The world economy is showing signs of bouncing back this year. Five years after the global financial crisis, the world economy is showing signs of bouncing back this year, pulled along by a recovery in high-income economies, according to the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report. The report also finds that developing-country growth is also firming, thanks in part to the recovery in high-income economies as well as moderating, but still strong, growth in China. Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the World Bank, commented: "Global economic indicators show improvement. But one does not have to be especially astute to see there are dangers that lurk beneath the surface. The Euro Area is out of recession but per capita incomes are still declining in several countries. We expect developing country growth to rise above 5% in 2014, with some countries doing considerably better, with Angola at 8%, China 7.7%, and India at 6.2%." To view the full report go to http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economic-prospects.

The UK High Street: Who's UP/Who's DOWN

RECORD SALES: Poundland, the single price discount retailer, has announced "record" Christmas sales. In the 13 weeks to 31 Dec, total gross sales increased by 12.4% to £348.8 million, driven by its broadening appeal to UK consumers (the AB demographic now reputedly represent around 22% of its customer base) and new store openings. Poundland has advised that it now intends to double the number of its stores to 1,000+ and expand in Europe.
EXPANDING: H&M. High Street Fashion retailer H&M's results for Q4 2013 show an increase in pre-tax profit of 11% to SEK 7.3 billion. Although this result was slightly below analysts' expectations, H&M advised that "this is a good result", considering its substantial long-term investments in IT, online, new brands and broadening its product range. In 2013, the retailer opened, on average, more than one store each day. Around 375 new stores are also planned in 2014.
IMPROVED PROFIT MARGIN. WH Smith, the 222 year old newsagent, has reported a 6% fall in like-for-like sales in its high street shops for the 20 weeks to 18 January 2014 - its 10th year of falling Christmas sales. However, chief executive, Stephen Clarke, stressed that the results were in line with expectations, "with good profit performance across the Group with costs tightly controlled and further improvement in gross margin." The retailer is reported to be targeting a further £22 million savings over the following three years.
MODEST INCREASE. Superdrug, the 50 year old high street chemist, has advised that its like-for-like sales grew by 1.5% in the nine weeks to 28 December compared with the same time last year. Sales of make-up and perfume (notably pop band One Direction’s scent) helped drive the improvement. The retailer's Managing Director, Joey Wat, described the chain's Christmas trading figures as "solid".
PROFIT WARNING: Carpetright. Floorings retailer Carpetright has issued its second profit warning in four months, advising: "We now expect our full year underlying pre-tax profit to be below the lower end of current market expectations.” Although for the 13 weeks to 25 January 2014, its like-for-like sales in the UK increased by 1.9% and total sales increased by 0.6%, in the Rest of Europe (Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland) like-for-like sales decreased by 7.7% and total sales declined by 7.5%. Lord Harris, Carpetright's Executive Chairman, commented: “Trading in our Rest of Europe business continues to be dominated by the extremely difficult economic conditions in the Netherlands."
LOSSES NARROWING: Waterstones. In a challenging year for bricks and mortar booksellers, Waterstones, has reported that it has cut its losses substantially - to £23 million in the year to April 2013 from £37.3 million the previous year. James Daunt, who took over as managing director in 2011, is seeking to turn around the business and has already initiated a program of store closures, property write-downs, as well as management redundancies. Other initiatives which appear to be showing some signs of success include introducing a coffee concession, Café W, into shops.

Career Opportunities
Latest Opportunities
Political Risk and Trade Credit Claims Adjuster, London. £35,000 - £55,000 per annum, Benefits: Strong Package.
A Lloyd’s affiliated Insurer is currently acting upon aggressive strategic growth plans, seeking to resource within their expanding claims function. In line with maintaining their premium reputation within the market, they seek to employ Political Risk and Trade Credit claims talent in their London office. The role will report to senior management and the individual should be comfortable working in an autonomous environment, with agreed authority levels. Applicants with current Lloyd’s experience are preferred, in addition to those working towards or having achieved their ACII qualification. For more information please contact: Georgina Ryan 0207 337 8808 or Georgina@hfg.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Political Risk Brokers, London. Salary to attract the best.
Continued confidence in the market coupled with ambitious growth plans have meant that additional heads are on the agenda for this major broking house. They've seen consistent year on year growth and are looking to bolster their team in 2014 with experienced and knowledgeable individuals. Opportunities exist at all levels from 3yrs - 10yrs+. You must be tenacious, driven and keen to develop within Political Risk. Underwriters with flair will also be considered. Contact me to discuss. Kerren Leach on kerren.leach@reedglobal.com or 07940 403046. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Business Development Manager, Trade Credit. Melbourne, Australia. $75,000-90,000 plus bonuses and incentives.
Our client is a well-respected specialist trade credit insurer providing insurance services to a thriving book of clients ranging from SME to large corporates. They are currently looking for a highly motivated and sales focused individual to join their busy team to drive new business growth and contribute to the positive culture. Candidates should be passionate about building and maintaining long standing business relationships and have at least 3 years’ business development experience, with a background in trade credit insurance. The ability to build an extensive sales network with brokers and other key stakeholders and to communicate and negotiate at a senior level is a must - as is a high level of drive and enthusiasm to succeed. You will be rewarded with generous incentives that could see you earning as much as senior management, and will receive full support and training in the role to help you maximise your potential. This is a rare opportunity to join a company with a sociable and constructive culture. For a confidential discussion please call Daniel Marsh, Associate Director on 03 8640 5410, or for immediate consideration apply to dmarsh@stirlingandersen.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Insurance Senior Account Handler, Kent. £29,000-31,00 (Ref:KL/111)
This is an exciting time for this Independent Insurance Brokers, and their team is expanding. They need a Credit Insurance Senior Account Handler who is professional, competent, strong and determined with tons of initiative and able to work unsupervised. This is a fast moving, fast paced working environment, so you will be kept on your toes, but never bored. This company is ranked in the top 20 Independent Insurance Brokers, with access to Lloyd's and years of experience of handling a variety of clients. The Credit Insurance Senior Account Handler should have a good knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, with a minimum of 4 years credit insurance knowledge and working experience in credit. You will have some sort of credit background, either as a Credit Controller, a credit insurer or insurance broker handling credit insurance. You will be a professional, with high standards and bags of confidence. As a Credit Insurance Senior Account Handler you should be good at client relationship building, be numerate, able to learn quickly with good attention to detail. The Credit Insurance Senior Account Handler duties will encompass providing a day to day technical, competent, responsible and efficient administrative service to clients. You will be expected to maintain good client retention levels, and comply with regulatory requirements, industry codes of practice and the company's own procedures and rules. Nova Search is working as an employment agency for this vacancy. For more information please contact Kristina@novasearch.co.uk M: 07931-371990. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Risk Underwriters Needed, London. Excellent Salaries.
Its been a busy start to 2014 and subsequently I'm seeking experienced Risk Underwriters for a variety of Insurers in the City. The roles could see you working on domestic risk, export or a combination all with the autonomy to make your own decisions and get involved in insured & buyer meetings. In addition you could be involved in mentoring more junior staff, project work, assisting the Risk Director in business improvement, taking on duties of team leadership etc. If you feel its time to look at new opportunities please feel free to contact me and discuss the options available. Kerren Leach on kerren.leach@reedglobal.com or 07940 403046. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Credit Risk Underwriter, City of London. £50,000 plus benefits (Ref: KL/112)
Outstanding Lloyd's Managing Agency based in the City are seeking to recruit a Credit Risk Underwriter to join their existing team due to expansion. This is an award winning company and they are well known and well respected within the credit insurance market place. The Credit Risk Underwriter will have a minimum of 3-5 years credit insurance experience and knowledge, underwriting risks, gained either with a traditional credit insurance company or perhaps you will come from a banking background where you worked in credit. You will understand how to assess the credit worthiness of a company from the company accounts and rate them accordingly. The Credit Risk Underwriter will be able to prioritise and work unsupervised with an ability to meet deadlines. Progression with professional qualifications are preferred. You should be a team player who is professional, confident with high standards. As a Credit Risk Underwriter the company has a commitment to developing you personally and with your career, and always promote from within where possible. Nova Search is acting as an Employment Agency for this vacancy.For more information please contact Kristina@novasearch.co.uk M: 07931-371990. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest when applying).

Still Recruiting . . .
Coface: Four Career Opportunities in Asia Pacific
Coface is a world leader in Credit Insurance and a leading provider of credit insurance solutions in Asia Pacific and has an extensive on the ground presence and coverage in all major markets. Asia Pacific is set to be a major growth driver for Coface and we wish to expand our teams with high calibre candidates for senior regional commercial and sales management positions plus a regional risk underwriting position based in Hong Kong:
  • Senior Regional Commercial Manager, Asia Pacific: Working with and through the country based sales and account management teams the successful candidate will bring strong sales management skills to drive performance and help increase our business in all our countries of presence. The role is key to strengthening our sales and account management capabilities at all levels, whether through brokers, partners or direct. In addition the successful candidate will guide, support and advise on closing deals where necessary.
  • Regional Sales Manager, Global Solutions, Asia Pacific: Selling the full range of Coface credit insurance solutions to a target list of the top multinational companies in Asia Pacific, the successful candidate will bring in depth knowledge of and proven success in selling B2B solutions to complex organisations in a multicultural and multinational environment. He or she must be able to develop and execute strategic account sales plans, develop strong relationships at all levels within the target companies and be confident in discussing with and making presentations to senior management and boards of major corporations.
  • Regional Commercial Underwriter, Asia Pacific: Acting as the ‘Center of Excellence’ for all credit insurance products in Asia Pacific, the successful candidate must have comprehensive knowledge in the perspectives of documentation, standards and tariffications, as well as related markets of the credit insurance products in the Asia Pacific region. This role also requires strong capability to coordinate internally plus the excellent communication, negotiation and presentation skills.
  • Regional Risk Underwriting, Asia Pacific: Apart from underwriting of credit limits and review of exposures in Asia Pacific, the successful candidate is expected to proactively identify high or deteriorating risk as well as to identify resource gaps and requirements within the AP Underwriting team. To succeed in this role, the candidate should be well versed in rules and regulations related to financial institutions plus the excellent analytical, communication, and project management skills.
We are looking for candidates who are dynamic, adaptable and quick to learn. Successful candidates will be used to working in a multicultural environment where teamwork and individual contributions are both valued highly. Prior knowledge of the region is not a prerequisite, but will be an advantage. All positions have an attractive remuneration and benefits package. Please go to http://www.coface.com.hk/About-Coface/Coface-in-Hong-Kong-Mainland-China-Taiwan/Join-Coface to view the full job descriptions, the requirements and key skills for these posts. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Trade Credit Account Executive (Ref; 23582378). London. £35,000-£70,000 per annum, negotiable.
An opportunity which now exists within the growing Trade Credit team of a major UK broker. You will have specialised in the field of Trade Credit insurance and have a broker based client facing/servicing background. You might also have experience/knowledge of Political Risks business although this is by no means essential. Our client's accounts are corporate although they will also consider individuals with SME Trade Credit account experience. Salary will be dependent upon experience and what you have to "bring to the party". For more information go to http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/trade-credit-account-executive-london/23582378#/jobs/leslie-james-associates/p3230?keywords=credit%20insurance. If your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call Leslie James Recruitment directly on 0207 8732271 to highlight your application. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Structured Credit and Political Risks Account Handler (Ref: 23387236), London. £30,000 - £45,000 per annum, negotiable.
This is an opportunity which is available now with a leading London Market broker. The role will entail all aspects of the account handling of Structured Credit and Political Risks business. You will need to have had specific experience in the field of Structured Credit and Political Risks, be technically proficient and have good knowledge and relationships with insurers in the sector. Excellent training and prospects are available for the right candidate along with superb career prospects. For more information go to http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/structured-credit-political-risks-account-handler-london/23387236#/jobs/leslie-james-associates/p3230?keywords=credit%20insurance. If your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call Leslie James Recruitment directly on 0207 8732271 to highlight your application. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Senior Credit Insurance Account Handler (Ref: DSCJ602), London, Kent. £27,000-£33,000 plus benefits.
A prestigious broker in the London area is seeking a professional candidate who has previous credit insurance experience. Responsibilities will include consultation on credit insurance, claims, probable losses, credit limits and policy issues, as well as assessing, adjusting and submitting claims to credit insurers – negotiation to settlement. The successful candidate will also meet with clients and insurers to discuss claims to achieve satisfactory settlement. This is a great company to work for with fantastic training, working environment and benefits. Only candidates who have previous specific experience of working within credit insurance will be considered. For more information contact Darren Stone Darren.stone@clarkjames.co.uk or call 01634 673156. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

New Appointments
Atradius has announced the appointment of Andrew Loh to their Singapore operation as Head of Special Products for the Asia Pacific region. A resident of Singapore, Andrew joins Atradius from Coface where he was latterly Vice President of Unistrat, their political and special risks unit. Prior to this, he was the Business Development Director of Rabobank Singapore Branch for Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. Andrew’s main focus will be single situation political and credit risks in support of commodity traders, banks and industrial exporters represented by specialist brokers. To view Atradius' news release go to http://www.atradius.com.hk/en/news/press-releases/andrew-loh-joins-atradius-singapore-team.html.

About this issue's sponsor: HCC International
HCC International is a UK domiciled and regulated ‘AA’ rated specialty insurer. It is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. based in Houston Texas, with group offices across the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland. HCC International has successfully developed a book of niche products ranging from Professional Indemnity, Energy, Marine Hull, Credit and Surety through to Film Production and Event Cancellation. HCC’s Credit Division is based in Leicester and provides Whole Turnover and Single Risk credit insurance policies to a wide range of industries, with specific expertise in the construction industry, factoring and recruitment. HCC’s offering is focused on excellent customer service and simple product wordings delivered through the specialist broker network.

Credit Insurance News Digests: Sponsorship
Sponsoring an issue of Credit Insurance News Digest is a great way to promote your company or brand to a committed audience of trade credit insurance professionals.
If you are interested in sponsoring an issue see our sponsorship page for further information.
Copyright © 2014 Credit Insurance News, All rights reserved.
Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in part, in any manner, without the express prior written consent of the copyright holder, is a violation of copyright law.
If you, or your organisation wish to redistribute, republish or link-to all or any part of any Credit Insurance News Digest Digest, you must first contact sally.brown@creditinsurancenews.co.uk