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Welcome to issue 29 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 18 October 2013. This issue is kindly sponsored by Credit Risk Solutions.


Index
  • Credit Insurance News
  • Credit Insurance Reports
  • Industry Events and Offers
  • Business Information: Recommended Reports and Business Shorts
  • UK Retailers: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
  • Career Opportunities

Credit Insurance News
The Berne Union advises that short-term credit insurance capacity remained steady at just over US$1 trillion at the end of the first half 2013. At its Annual General Meeting held 7-10 October 2013 in Vienna, the Berne Union advised that for insurance of short term trade transactions with payment terms of typically 30 to 90 days, credit insurance capacity remained steady at just over US$1 trillion at the end of the first half 2013 - a level higher than pre-crisis. In addition, in an interview available to view at http://youtu.be/DnbiPTK1nx4, the new President of the Berne Union, Daniel Riordan, commented on the greater collaboration in recent years between private credit insurers and ECAs, the increasing competition (from new entrants) in the export credit markets and some of the new products (including longer tenors) now offered by private insurers. To view the Berne Union's news release go to http://www.berneunion.org/berne-union-elects-new-officers/.

4000 policyholders lost: Credit insurers' focus is now on product innovation according to AIG. StrategicRISK's October issue includes a special report sponsored by AIG, 'Trade Credit Risks', which examines how, five years after the crisis, the trade credit insurance market has changed. For example: although credit insurance premiums have recovered (and, at £334 million, are at the same level as GWP in 2007) and claims have decreased from nearly 22,000 at the height of the recession to nearly 11,000 in 2012 (ABI figures), the market has lost some 4000 policyholders - mainly SMEs. In addition, there has been a shift towards new product initiatives, such as Excess of Loss products. The report also advises that Banks are increasingly driving demand for credit insurance products, gives an overview of the German credit insurance market and describes how the macroeconomic shift from West to East will increase demand for credit insurance over the coming years. To read StrategicRISK's article and to access the full report go to http://www.strategic-risk-global.com/1405120.article.

Credit insurance proves its worth in Brazil. Trade Finance has published an article, 'Has the shine come off Brazil', which advises that Zurich, Willis, Aon and Marsh formed a panel at the recent 7th Annual Trade and Commodity Finance conference in Sao Paulo and agreed that in Brazil's commodity driven economy trade credit insurance is vital. The article also describes how credit insurance is currently receiving positive press in Brazil due to its performance in the financial crisis: "Indeed the industry performed so well in the crisis that it proved something of a boon", and hopes that the current lack of capacity in Brazil's trade credit insurance market will attract new players. To view the full article go to http://www.tradefinancemagazine.com/Article/3266138/Search/Results/Has-the-shine-come-off-Brazil.html?ArticleID=3266138&Type=Search&ID=Results&Keywords=%22credit+insurance%22. (Subscription required; free 7 day trials available).

Markel International launches an Excess of Loss policy in Germany and Austria. Markel International has advised that it has launched a new Excess of Loss policy in Germany and Austria for companies seeking protection from exceptional trade credit losses. According to Markel, the policy focuses on the quality of the insured's debt management system and is aimed at medium and larger sized companies in most industrial sectors. Markel International’s German trade credit division is headed by Frank Burghardt. To view Markel International's news release go to http://www.markelinternational.com/regions/germany/products-and-expertise/Extra/Cover-stories/trade-credit-in-the-german-market/.

Summit raises awareness of trade credit insurance and the role of credit insurance in the international market. Middle East Trade and Export has published an article, 'Understanding the finance of trade', which gives some of the highlights of The Trade Credit Insurance Summit held in Dubai from the 23-25 September. Speakers included William Clark, UK Head of Trade Credit Insurance at AIG, who advised that: "the lesson from the last few years is that risk comes in many different shapes and sizes, has a habit of being unpredictable and no one is immune from its affects. This should lead to the benefits of trade credit insurance being more widely appreciated." Other notable speaker quoted included Fabrice Morel (Executive Director of the Berne Union), Robert Nijhout (Executive Director of ICISA) and Ludovic Subran (Euler Hermes' chief economist). To view the article go to http://www.tradeandexportme.com/2013/10/understanding-the-finance-of-trade/.

Gallagher launches new credit and political risk insurance operation in Dubai. GTR has published an article, 'Expansive times at Gallagher', which advises that Gallagher has teamed up with Nordic firm Brim to launch a joint venture insurance practice in Dubai to offer credit and political risk insurance to Nordic clients of Brim working in the Middle East and Africa. Karl Lundell (formerly senior business finance advisor, Middle East and Africa, for Ericsson Credit) will lead the operation. Arthur J Gallagher’s managing director of trade and credit Mark Gubbins commented: “We now have 30 employees dedicated to credit and political risk insurance with operations in London, Singapore, New York, Sydney and now Dubai.” To view GTR's article go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/on-the-move/2013/October/Expansive-times-at-Gallagher_11221.shtml.

Mieux comprendre l'assurance-crédit avec Euler Hermes. Euler Hermes has published a lighthearted new video on its French website and on YouTube. 'Qu'est-ce que l'assurance-crédit?' introduces us to fictional business owner Pierre, to demonstrate how show non-payment can suddenly occur - even with the most trusted client. In this case,
and with huge relief, Pierre awakes from his nightmare in which his trusted client has gone out of business owing him money. Luckily, he is covered by credit insurance provided by Euler Hermes. To view the video (French language only) go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFFltJ7440c.

The devaluation of India’s currency is sparking accounts-receivable worries among U.S. exporters. CFO Magazine has published an article, 'Rupee Plunge Spotlights Trade-Credit Currency Risk', which advises that following the recent drop in the value of the Indian rupee relative to the U.S. dollar, currency volatility as a trade-credit risk has come into the spotlight. “Definitely, we’ve been seeing concern from insurers about India,” commented Michael Kornblau, the U.S. trade-credit practice leader at Marsh. "It had been a fairly benign market for a number of years, but now you’re seeing some concern about transactions going into India." However, despite these concerns, Jochen Dümler, chief executive officer of Euler Hermes, advised: "so far, not a lot has materialised in terms of payment delays or claims” by U.S. trade-credit policyholders. To view the article go to http://ww2.cfo.com/global-business/2013/10/rupee-plunge-spotlights-trade-credit-currency-risk/.

Markel International launches a new website. The site, which is now the portal for the London Market, UK regional and international network of divisions and branches, has been through a complete redesign to enhance the overall user experience for brokers and policyholders. New features include simple access to the full range of products and services offered, and 'one click' access to a broad range of technical product information, claims forms, marketing materials and case studies. To view the new website go to http://www.markelinternational.com/.

Coface is optimistic about business risks in the U.S. and concerned about those of emerging countries such as Brazil and Thailand. Coface has advised that advanced economies are doing better, and now expects that the eurozone and the U.S. will record modest but positive growth in 2014 (+1%). However, the company warns that concerns now come from the emerging countries, which are facing a structural decline in growth. In consequence, Coface has placed Brazil (A3) and Thailand (A3) on negative watch, and placed the A2(1) assessment of the U.S. on positive watch. To view Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Coface-is-optimistic-about-business-risks-in-the-United-States-and-concerned-about-those-of-emerging-countries-such-as-Brazil-and-Thailand.

XL Group enters the Trade Credit Market. XL Group has announced that it is expanding into the Trade Credit market with the addition of Jeffrey Abramson as Senior Vice President and Global Product Leader. According to Richard Maxwell, Chief Underwriting Officer and Global Head for XL Group’s Political Risk and Trade Credit (PRTC) business: “Supplier Trade Credit is a natural extension of our existing PRTC business and we’re excited to enlist Jeff’s expertise to guide our entry and growth in the market.“ To view XL Group's news release go to http://xlgroup.com/press/xl-group-enters-supplier-trade-credit-market.

Radio Broadcast: Understanding Credit Insurance in the U.S. Business Credit Radio is promoting a recent broadcast. 'Understanding Credit Insurance', in which Norman Taylor (author of The Pocket Guide to Credit Insurance) describes what trade credit insurance is, gives a brief history of the industry and compares credit insurance products with other risk mitigation tools.  To hear the broadcast go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/creditpros/2013/09/26/understanding-credit-insurance#!.

Atradius: Interview with Thomas Dietz. Atradius has published a new video clip on its YouTube channel which shows an interview with Thomas Dietz, its new Head of Global and Special Products for Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Dietz gives an outline of his career and his personal inspirations, as well as some insight into the lessons he has learned in his professional life. To view the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euRCz7K2Dnc.

New qualification focuses on cross border trade and trade credit insurance. RWA Group has announced the launch of 'Certificate in International Trade for Insurance Brokers' (accredited as a Level 3 qualification by the Institute of Export) - a new qualification which will offer learners the opportunity to build on and expand their knowledge of cross border trading and trade credit insurance requirements. Kate Foreman, training director of the RWA Group, commented: “Having worked successfully in the development and delivery of the Certified International Trade Advisor (CITA) for the past few years, we felt that there was a need for a qualification that would focus on cross border trade and trade credit insurance.” For more information go to http://citib.co.uk/.



Credit Insurance Reports
CIFS' Derryck Blackman on the Retail Sector. In an article on CIFS' website, retail expert, Derryck Blackman, has advised that the much-beleaguered UK retail sector is at last showing some long-awaited signs of recovery. As a result, CIFS is currently seeing a spike in the number of requests for increased credit limits on policyholders’ customers – a position fuelled by upcoming Christmas business. However, Derryck advises that CIFS is not getting carried away by recent improvements in the trading environment and stresses: “A key element for us in assessing the strength of a potential credit risk is whether a business has a coherent online sales strategy . . . We’re looking to see more than an opportunistic foray into online selling; a forward-looking strategy is required - one that addresses a return on investment on the expenditure involved." To view CIFS' article go to http://creditindemnity.com/derryck-blackman-on-the-retail-sector/.

Atradius describes the challenges that credit insurers face when trying to obtain a true picture of the financial strength of Russian companies. Atradius has published its latest Country Report on Russia which warns that accurately assessing the creditworthiness and financial strength of Russian buyers can be problematic. Atradius advises that the official accounts are simply tax accounts, which do not show the consolidated results, and usually tend to show minimal net profit and fixed assets. In addition, it is not uncommon for multiple financial statements to be prepared for different parties - each showing substantially differing figures. Atradius describes how it meets these challenges and also provides an in-depth report on the Russian economy. To view the report go to http://global.atradius.com/creditmanagementknowledge/russia/russia-overview.html.

Russia: “A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” or a market well worth pursuing? Chris Hoy, Managing Director of CMR Insurance Services Limited, has published an article, 'Russia - A Market Well Worth Pursuing', which looks at how British businesses can succeed in exporting to Russia. Despite many potential hazards, Chris describes some of the opportunities for foreign exporters who wish to export to Russia and advises that: "credit insurance can provide a fail safe solution: protecting the foreign vendor from the risk of not getting paid and providing the confidence to offer the Russian customer attractive credit terms." Click here to view Chris' article.

Coface's Country Risk Conference: Video presentations and transcripts. Coface has published a series of video presentations and transcripts from its recent Country Risk Conference held in London. Contributors include: David Smith (Economics Editor of The Sunday Times) with a presentation entitled, 'In an age of instability: The UK's economic outlook in an uncertain world'; Rain Newton-Smith (Head of Emerging Markets at Oxford Economics) with 'Global Developments shaping trading risks within and between emerging and advanced economies'; and Dr Robin Niblett (Director of Chatham House), with 'Does the USA remain the motor of the world economy and does it wish to continue to lead the world politically?' Yves Zlotowski, Chief Economist of Coface Group, also provides a Country Risk Overview. To view the speakers, their video presentations and transcripts go to http://www.cofaceuk.com/CofacePortal/UK/en_EN/pages/home/who-we-are/country-risk-conference-2013.

The automotive industry: outlook governed by "where you are based and where you are selling”. Atradius has published its latest market monitor, 'Focus on automotive performance and outlook' which advises that outlook ahead for the automotive industry "depends on the where you are based and where you are selling”. In the US, for instance, sales of cars and commercial vehicles continue to rise, with good news for manufacturers, retailers, tyre and parts suppliers. The outlook is even brighter for Mexico, where the automotive industry is a mainstay of the economy, while in the UK the domestic market is booming. However, in France, Belgium, and even Germany the current situation and outlook is far less healthy. To view the report go to http://global.atradius.com/creditmanagementknowledge/market-monitor/latest-market-monitor.html.

QBE advises that the collapse of 2e2 left trade creditors facing losses of over £50 million. QBE Trade Credit has published a new sector focus on the electronics and IT industry which advises that although, historically, both electronics and IT were stable sectors with low insolvencies, recent times have been tough for the industry. In 2012, for example, insolvency rates hit a nine year high with the failure of big names such as Comet, HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster, while 2013 saw the collapse of 2e2 (an IT systems integrator and services provider) — the largest IT failure for years, leaving trade creditors facing losses of over £50 million. Click here to view the Focus.

Atradius in Reserve Bank of Australia Bulletin – The Use of Trade Credit by Businesses. The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its September Quarter 2013 Bulletin, 'The Use of Trade Credit by Businesses', in which Atradius' Payment Practices Barometer Australia Survey (2012) is referenced. According to Atradius' Barometer: "larger businesses tend to offer longer payment terms, which are typically around 40 days, while smaller businesses offer short payment terms of around 20 days." In addition, Atradius' finds that Australian businesses on average take slightly more than 50 days to receive payment - "well beyond the payment term of 30 days that is typically offered." The Bulletin also describes some of the benefits of credit insurance. To view Atradius' news release go to http://www.atradius.com.au/corporate/press-relases/atradius-in-reserve-bank-of-australia-bulletinthe-use-of-trade-credit-by-businesses.html.

Webcast: The [Continued] Arab Awakening: The Present and Future for U.S. Investors in MENA. On October 3, 2013, experts from Marsh's Political Risk practice, Eurasia Middle East Group, and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) held a one-hour webcast, 'The [Continued] Arab Awakening: The Present and Future for US Investors in MENA'. The webcast provided an overview of the political risk insurance market's appetite and solutions for MENA investments and discussed events that are affecting business growth and the political risk insurance market. To view the webcast go to http://mrsh.cm/GPgjLc.
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Industry Events and Offers
ICTF's International Credit Professionals Symposium in Europe, 20-22 October. Hilton Hotel - Basel, Switzerland.
ICTF has announced that it is holding its International Credit Professionals Symposium in Europe on 20-22 October at the Hilton Hotel - Basel, Switzerland. Notable speakers will include: Yves Zlotowski (Chief Economist of Coface Group) on 'Country Risk Overview: A Forensic Analysis of the Eurozone Crisis and Where Key Emerging Market Risks Currently Lie', and Shaun Purrington (Executive Director - R K Harrison Insurance Brokers), who will be discussing 'Postmodernism in Trade Credit Insurance - The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?' In addition, Simon Marshall ( Director - Co-Pilot Ltd) will be leading the discussion on 'Credit Management Software - What Opportunities and Challenges Does It Present To The Credit Manager and How To Evaluate What To Do?' For more information and costs go to http://www.ictfworld.org/page/Basel2013/?#PROGRAM.

Insight 2013 - 'A Protected Wicket'. Aon's exclusive financial risk mitigation event for multinationals and large corporates, 21 October, Lords Cricket Ground.
Aon is hosting an exclusive event for multinational businesses and large corporates, sponsored by Euler Hermes, focusing on the outlook for the UK and global economy and the impact for businesses in 2013-2014. The event, which will be held on 21st October 2013, at Lords Cricket Ground, will include keynote speakers: Ludovic Subran (Chief Economist of Euler Hermes), John Holmes ( Director at Debt Finance and Sales Finance Specialist Risk Units) and William Medlicott (Finance Director at ITV plc). A Q&A session with presenters will follow. Lunch and drinks will be provided, and there will be an opportunity to have a guided tour of the historic and world famous Lord's Cricket ground. For more information and/or to register go to http://insight.aon.com/InsightOctober2013.

Best Practice Senior Credit Management Seminar, 23 October. Central Reading.
An exclusive and free Senior Credit event hosted at Deloitte with Company Watch, Hays Credit Management, QiCM and SunGard. For more information and/or to register, please email tony.lambert@hays.com (quoting Credit Insurance News Digest).

Atradius webinar, 'The key to business success in Poland'. 24 October, 16:00 CET.
Atradius is holding a webinar, 'The key to business success in Poland', to discuss Poland’s transformation from wartime devastation and subsequent communist rule to political stability and economic prosperity on 24 October. A panel of experts on Poland’s economy, business culture and law will cover the opportunities and the logistics of trading in Poland in a lively debate designed to help businesses make their mark there. The discussion will be led by award winning financial journalist and broadcaster Adam Shaw. To join this webinar, register at http://www.media-server.com/m/p/23c49y4g.

Insuring Export Credit & Political Risk Brazil, 4-5 December 2013, São Paulo Brazil.
Building upon the success of our highly acclaimed annual London convention, Insuring Export Credit & Political Risk Brazil will bring together a first class line up of speakers, for two days of critical analysis, stimulating debate and in-depth discussion on how this important market is developing and the role it will play in Latin American growth in the coming years. Confirmed speaker include: Edie Quintrell, MIGA ~ Keith Martin, AON BRAZIL ~ Marcelo Franco, ABGF ~ Dr Marc Aubain, WTO ~ Pedro Carrico, SBCE ~ Luciene Machado, BNDES ~ Daniel Fonseca, IDB ~ Rogerio Vergara, MAPFRE ~ Andreas Dobner, SWISS RE ~ Eric Brabenec, GECO ~ Jean Cardyn, EDC ~ Hugo Carson, AIG ~ Flavio Bertolossi, SACE. To view the latest agenda or to register online, please visit: http://www.iiribcfinance.com/FKW52656CIN quoting VIP code: FKW52656CIN for a 10% discount.

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
20% of SMEs admit to having forgotten to invoice for goods or services. The UK’s SMEs could be losing out to the tune of £3.7 billion or more as a result of poor internal systems, according to an independent survey commissioned by business and finance software provider Exact. Among the most startling findings was that 20% of SMEs admit to having forgotten to invoice for goods or services at least once. Among these, around 12% confess to not invoicing for a job worth between £5,000 and £10,000, while 6% admit to having forgotten to invoice for a job worth more than £10,000. The implication for the UK’s 4.8 million SMEs – which account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK – is that they are collectively out of pocket by as much as £3.7 billion. To view the full press release go to http://blog.exactonline.co.uk/poor-internal-systems-have-cost-uk-smes-billions/.

World Factoring Yearbook reports that global factoring volumes continue on an upward trajectory. TFR (Trade & Forfaiting Review) has published an article, 'Global factoring volumes continue upward trajectory, says World Factoring Yearbook', which advises that according to figures just released in the newly Yearbook, global factoring volumes continued to see an upward trend. Crossborder factoring soared to €353 billion in 2012, according to Factors Chain International's chief executive Peter Mulroy - with particularly significant increases in China and Russia. Other major markets saw increases in volume too: UK 6.3%; USA 6.9%; France 7.6%; South Africa 26%; Australia 3.1%; Spain 0.49%; Germany 0.1%. However, there were also decreases in volume in 2012, notably Taiwan -10.7% and Brazil -2.7%. To view the full article go to http://www.tfreview.com/news/receivables-finance/global-factoring-volumes-continue-upward-trajectory-says-world-factoring-ye.

Deloitte survey illustrates a rise in UK construction activity. According to Deloittes's latest UK Cities Crane Survey, an improvement in developer sentiment has led to a resurgence in construction activity. Research conducted by Deloitte Real Estate recorded an increase of 80% in the number of new schemes starting construction over the last 12 months compared to last year, with 45 new projects recorded across the five major regional UK cities – Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, the survey is also keen to emphasise that this increase in construction activity is not set to oversupply the market - the development pipeline remains some way behind that recorded at the peak of the cycle in 2009. To view Deloitte's news release go to http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_GB/uk/industries/real-estate/5d9be6f5686b1410VgnVCM3000003456f70aRCRD.htm.

Global growth patterns are shifting according the IMF's latest WEO. The IMF has published its latest World Economic Outlook (WEO), which advises that global growth is in low gear generally and that growth patterns are shifting: slower (though still strong) growth in emerging markets but measureable increases in economies such as the U.S. Growth is also beginning again in Europe. The IMF now predicts that global growth will average just under 3% in 2013 and 3.6% next year.  For more information, including access to the full reports, go to http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2013/NEW100813A.htm.

BCC Quarterly Economic Survey indicates a manufacturing spurt and strong service sector boost growth. The latest British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey has advised that there is further evidence that the UK economy is healing. The Q3 survey, made up of responses from more than 7,400 businesses, shows improvements in most key areas for both manufacturing and services compared with Q2, with many balances now stronger than their long-term historical averages. In the manufacturing sector, six key balances are at all-time highs, and the service sector continues to go from strength to strength. On the basis of these results, the BCC believes GDP growth in Q3 could be around 0.9-1.0%. To view the BCC' news release go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-quarterly-economic-survey-manufacturing-spurt-and-strong-service-sector-boost-growth.html.

Food and Beverage industry poised for growth around the globe. Grant Thornton has published a new report, 'Hunger for growth – Food and Beverage looks to the future', which advises that the Food and Beverage industry is poised for growth around the globe. The report advises: "After years of uncertainty, retrenchment and delayed investments, industry executives are once again looking to invest in new products, new capacity, new distribution channels and new markets. Even in countries still shaking off the recession, executives expect growth and plan to capture market share at home and abroad." To download a copy of the report in PDF format go to http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/en/Publications/2013/Hunger-for-growth--Food-and-Beverage-looks-to-the-future/.

KPMG survey finds that the majority of construction companies in the UK and worldwide are confident about the growth prospects of their industry. KPMG’s 'Global Construction Survey 2013: Ready for the Next Big Wave' reveals that almost three quarters of companies in the UK (73%) are ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ when asked to describe their medium-term outlook (next 2-5 years). Companies in the Americas and AsiaPacific are even more optimistic, (with 91% and 65% respectively describing the medium-term outlook as ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’). Furthermore, almost two-thirds of UK companies (57%) say they expect their company to grow between 1% and 25% this year (based on 2012 revenue). Again, respondents in the Americas are the most confident when it comes to growth forecasts; 80% say they expect their company to grow between 1% and 25% this year. To view KPMG's news release go to http://www.kpmg.com/UK/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/NewsReleases/Pages/Confidence-returns-to-UK-construction-industry-KPMG-survey-finds.aspx.

BDO's Business Trends report reveals that UK business confidence has continued to improve and has reached its highest level since April 2010. The BDO Optimism index saw a leap for the eighth consecutive month, rising to 100.7 in September from 98.0 in August and 88.9 in January. (Note:  A rise of over the 100.0 mark indicates the economy is expected to achieve its long-run average trend growth rate over the coming six months and hints the long-promised economic growth is finally turning into reality). One of the most notable trends to come from the Optimism Index was the positivity amongst manufacturers: the manufacturing sub-index jumped to 107.0 – up from just 99.6 the previous month. The figures mirror the upbeat figures currently being seen in the Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index. To view BDO's news release and/or to access a copy of the full report go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/news/bdo-business-trends.



UK Retailers: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
UP: Ted Baker, the up-market fashion retailer, has reported that its half-year (to 10 August) retail sales were up 30.2% overall, while its pre-tax profits increased by 49.7% to £11.6 million. Following its expansion into new markets, the retailer's Asian retail sales performed particularly strongly - up 78.6% to £5.0 million, followed by US and Canada retail sales - up 56.8% to £25.4 million. UK and European retail sales also performed well with a 22.6% increase to £91.6 million.
UP: Ikea, the world's largest furniture retailer, has reported that its sales in the full-year to 31 August increased by 3.1% to €27.9 billion (£23.7 billion), with a like-for-like growth of 1.8%. Although there were improvement “in almost all markets”, growth in the emerging markets of China and Russia was particularly strong. Last year, Ikea set itself a target of doubling sales by 2020 to €50 billion.
PROFITS UP: WH Smith's recent strategy has focused on reducing costs and improving profit margins rather than growing underlying sales, and its full year results to 31 August reflect this. Despite a 5% fall in total sales to £1.19 billion, thanks to cost-cutting the retailer pre-tax profits rose by 6% to £108 million - up 5% in travel and 4% in its high street business. A further £22 million of cost savings will be made over the next three years.
DOWN/IMPROVING? Greggs re-shaping of its business got off to a mixed start, but may now be bearing fruit. After a shaky first half (to 29 June) which saw pre-tax profits fall by £4.6 million to £11.4 million, for the 13 weeks to 28 September Greggs performance has improved somewhat. An interim statement for the quarter reports a 3.6% increase in total sales, and a fall in like-for-like business of 0.5% (compared to a 2.9% decline in the first half). Although Greggs initially had significant expansion plans for 2013, the company has advised that its focus is now on getting the "like-for-like platform working again”.
DOWN: Tesco. Tesco's Senior Management team has attracted some harsh criticism from major shareholders after the UK's largest retailer reported a 23.5% drop (to £1.39 billion) to its pre-tax profits for the six months to 24 August. Results in its European division (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey, Ireland) where profits fell 67% to £55 million were particularly disappointing. In the UK, Tesco largest retail market, saw a small 1.5% increase to £1.13 billion in trading profit and a small 0.5% decline in like-for-like underlying sales.



Career Opportunities
Credit Insurance Field Sales Consultant (Ref: 23735208) Manchester, competitive salary+benefits.
Reed Insurance are working in partnership with a highly regarded Credit Insurer as they are looking to appoint a Field Sales Consultant within their direct sales team based in Manchester. The client is a global leader in the provision of credit management solutions and has an excellent reputation in the market. If you are a talented field sales individual working in credit insurance or in another area of financial services, this would be a brilliant opportunity develop your career further within a thriving company. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in business to business field sales and account management and a good working knowledge of credit insurance. For more information go to http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/credit-insurance-field-sales-consultant/23735208, email mike.o'connor@reedglobal.com or call 0113 236 8957. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Senior Credit Account Handler (Ref: 1308-59), Bromley, Kent. £23,000-£30,500 per annum.
An excellent opportunity has arisen to join a reputable insurance Broker in their Kent office. Our client is seeking a Senior Credit Account Handler to join their small but busy and growing team. Main Responsibilities: To provide a comprehensive policy management and high quality service to excising clients, to include: - Consultation on Credit Insurance, Claims, probable losses, Credit Limits and Policy issues. Assessing, adjusting and submitting claims to Credit Insurers –including the negotiation to settlement. Meeting with Clients and Insurers to discuss claims to achieve satisfactory settlement. Assistance with the preparation and presentation of Client renewals. Experience within Credit Insurance or related lines of business is essential. For more information go to http://www.mwappointments.co.uk/ or email Robin@mwappointments.co.uk. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Senior Business Development Executive, MarketInvoice, London. Full-time basic salary of £28,000-£32,000, OTE of £45-50,000.
MarketInvoice provides an online platform to connect credit-hungry businesses with a pool of institutional investors, providing fast and cost-effective finance. To date, businesses using the platform have received over £70 million in funds. Backed by an exciting team of investors, the company is set to grow a great deal in the coming year and beyond. With this in mind, we’re looking for bright, hungry recruits to join our London-based sales team. This is an exciting opportunity to join a fast-growing young company, and to help shape its future. Taking a senior role in our sales department, you’ll be building relationships with decision makers and influencers at businesses throughout the UK. Requirements include 3-5 years experience in a sales-based role, ideally within the financial services sector or technology sector. We will look favourably on candidates with experience in invoice factoring or invoice discounting. For more information and to apply go to http://marketinvoice.com/about/careers/senior-business-development-executive/. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Insurance Accounts Manager (Ref:J7449). Coventry, Up to £35,000. A new opportunity has become available for an experienced Accounts Manager to join an expanding Insurance Organisation based in Coventry. Responsibilities include: managing the accounts team on a daily basis with regular reporting of performance to the Managing Director, processing and reconciliation of insurer payments and overseeing the processing of client payments, credit control management of client payments to reduce any bad debt. A Professional accounting qualification ACA / ACCA / CIMA and previous insurance and management experience is essential. For more information go to http://www.idexconsulting.com/view-job/J7449/Insurance-Accounts-Manager or email james.rimmer@idexconsulting.com. (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).

Account Director. £Excellent +car +bonus. London.
A major credit insurance broker is looking to bolster its already strong team with an ambitious and skilled Account Director. You'll be responsible for managing a small portfolio of global clients as well as some large UK corporates looking to retain, service and grow business within. As part of your role you'll be expected to network within the other departments to promote the Trade Credit team and secure new new business opportunities. Experience underwriting or broking at a senior level required. For more information and/or to apply please contact Kerren Leach on 07940 403046 or email kerren.leach@reedglobal.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Key Account Director. £Excellent +bonus. London.
Major credit insurer is looking for an account director to manage relationships with some of the industry's most prestigious clients. Managing these clients relationships through the renewal process as well as during the term of the policy. Engaging with global stakeholders to ensure smooth renewal and re-tender. Experience broking or underwriting at a senior level essential. For more information and/or to apply please contact Kerren Leach on 07940 403046 or email kerren.leach@reedglobal.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Political Risk Brokers, All levels. London.
Political Risk Brokers sought at all levels to assist a key market player with expansion plans. 18 months experience through to 10 years+, roles available at all levels with packages to attract the best. For more information and/or to apply please contact Kerren Leach on 07940 403046 or email kerren.leach@reedglobal.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

New Appointments
Euler Hermes appoints Vassili Christidis as new CEO in Greece. Euler Hermes has appointed Vassili Christidis chief executive officer for Greece. Based in Athens, Christidis reports to Michele Pignotti, head of Euler Hermes Mediterranean countries, Middle East and Africa. He succeeds Stephane Rutili who served as CEO for Greece for six years and will move to Euler Hermes France as head of the Collections network. To view Euler Hermes news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/new-CEO-Euler-Hermes-Greece.aspx.

AIG has announced the appointment of Christian F. Vollbehr as Head of Trade Credit for Germany. The appointment is to drive AIG's entry into the German Credit Insurance market - the largest market for Credit Insurance globally. Christian previously held Executive and management positions in Hamburg, Mainz, Stockholm, Boston, Princeton and Sydney where he was responsible as Country and General Manager before returning to Germany early 2011 to be appointed Member of the Executive Board and Commercial Director at Coface Deutschland AG.

New appointments at Coface. Coface has announced that Cyrille Charbonnel, the former Group Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Western Europe Region Manager, taking over from Jean-Michel Riou. Following this appointment: Nicolas de Buttet becomes Group Risk Underwriting, Information and Claims Manager and takes over a part of Cyrille Charbonnel’s delegations, and Christel Rougier is appointed Western Europe Region Risk Underwriting Director, taking over from Nicolas de Buttet. To see Coface's news release go to http://www.coface.com/News-Publications/News/Appointments-at-Coface.

New Appointment at CMR. CMR Insurance Services has announced that Gary Hately has joined them with effect from 14th October 2014. Gary started his credit insurance career with Euler Hermes (then Trade Indemnity), left to work at STA and another broker - before returning to Euler Hermes. Gary has 25 years’ experience working in the credit insurance industry.



About this issue's sponsor: Credit Risk Solutions
2013 is a landmark year for this month’s sponsor Credit Risk Solutions Ltd (CRS). The company celebrates its tenth anniversary in October and has also just announced a strategic global partnership with other independent brokers through the newly formed Astreos Credit network.



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