Women in Fiduciam – International Women’s Week 2022

At Fiduciam we are committed to providing our female employees with opportunities to break the glass ceiling and fulfil their professional ambitions. We invest heavily in training, development, and individual mentoring, while rewarding achievements and excellent performance. Fiduciam signed up for the Women in Finance Charter in 2019 and set ambitious targets to strengthen our commitment to equality and gender diversity. We have now exceeded these objectives and were recognised as a finalist in the ‘Employer of the Year’ category at the Women in Credit Awards 2021.

In 2022, three women have already achieved promotions at Fiduciam; Celia Garcia Virosta has been promoted to Head of Digital Transformation while Louisa Willoughby and Sabrina Warmerdam have been promoted to Underwriter. Charlotte De Baere, Head of Operations, comments: “There is no glass ceiling here. I joined Fiduciam as a graduate. Four years later, I now manage the operations team – this is a place of pure meritocracy.” This highlights Fiduciam’s commitment to recognising individual talent and ambition and encouraging career development.

A priority at Fiduciam is maintaining a collaborative company culture that encourages women to support one another in their professional growth and reach their full potential. Valeria Quintana Barbella, Senior Underwriter, explains: “In an industry where being cut-throat and aggressive is usually associated with leadership, women leaders should have not only a high IQ but also a high degree of emotional intelligence. I admire women leaders when they show that they genuinely care about, appreciate, and respect the contributions of their team members and how committed they are to helping them maximize their potential.”

We are also committed to showcasing our employees’ outstanding achievements by nominating them for external recognition. Cristina Villén, Country Manager for Spain, won Rising Star of the Year at the Women in Credit Awards in 2021 and was featured in Bridging & Commercial’s 35 under 35 Power List. Marieke Eskens, Director and Head of Case Management, was a finalist in the category ‘Mentor of the Year’ in the Women in Credit Awards and was also featured in Bridging & Commercial’s Power List 2021 for her integral involvement Fiduciam’s participation in the Coronavirus Business Interruption Lending Scheme.

Ana Díaz, Marketing Manager, comments “Thanks to working at Fiduciam, surrounded by a team that supports and promotes equality in the financial sector, I am never afraid to lead marketing projects where the audience is – sadly – still often male-dominated. It is inspiring to see how ambitious female colleagues are shaking up the status quo!”

We at Fiduciam are excited to see how the female members of our team continue to push boundaries and change mindsets within the financial services industry and elsewhere. We are dedicated to do everything necessary to facilitate this and to improve representation, opportunities and experiences for all women.

Fiduciam grants Santa working capital loan to overcome global supply chain crisis

2020 has been a challenging year for so many. Whilst we look forward to 2021 filled with the promise of vaccines, treatments and The year 2021 came with its challenges, even for Santa: elf-labour shortages due to COVID-19, then followed by the global supply chains crisis. Fortunately we were able to assist with a working capital loan. It required a visit to the North Pole in freezing temperatures, a pledge over reindeer and sleighs, and AML onboarding with a long out-of-date passport and no proof of source of funds. We wish all our clients a happy and prosperous 2022!

Flexible Funding for Small House Builders – Development Finance for Seven New Homes next to Crossrail

Fiduciam continues to support small house builders across the United Kingdom with development funding. The latest project to approach completion is a seven-house development in Taplow.

Fiduciam provided a flexible multi-drawdown facility that enabled the borrower to repay early if sales were strong while providing the security of a longer term loan. The interest rate is a competitive 0.74% per month. Interest was retained for the initial part of the 24-month term.

The scheme has been well received by the market and multiple units are already under offer. Since Fiduciam and the borrower agreed release amounts in advance, the borrower benefits from the certainty of knowing the proportion of sales proceeds that will be retained by Fiduciam and how much will be available for financing their next projects. Fiduciam expects the first sales to complete within the next two months.

Louisa Willoughby, Case Manager at Fiduciam, comments:
“Over the last year, Fiduciam has expanded its product offering targeted at small housebuilders. We have funded a variety of ground up projects for experienced developers across the United Kingdom, typically between 3 and 12 units. The Taplow project benefits from an excellent location and easy access to Crossrail. Its appeal to young families and commuters is confirmed by the sales already under way.”

Marc Morris, Underwriter at Fiduciam, adds:
“We are keen to develop close long-term relationships with borrowers such as the developer of the Taplow project. While new technological tools and platforms enhance our ability to gather and interpret information, and enable us to mitigate credit risk, they are no replacement for previous collaboration. From the borrower’s perspective, our knowledge of their business allows us to offer better terms that are more tailored to their requirements. For example, we often seek to help repeat borrowers transfer equity from one project to the next and thus accelerate the project cycle. We are also happy to discuss projects at an early stage, and to provide visibility on financing options.”

Bridging the Gap – Supporting Small House Builders through COVID-19 and Beyond

The UK’s well documented housing shortage, and the efforts made to address it, have not prevented the marked decline of small house builders in recent years. COVID-19 has posed additional challenges, although lenders have been able to assist individual firms with products under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

The market share occupied by small house builders fell from 28% in 2008 to 12% in 2015 [1]. Previous research from the NHBC Foundation lists (a) the planning process, (b) the availability and cost of land and (c) the availability of finance as the main factors inhibiting growth [2]. 

Since 2015 Fiduciam has endeavoured to provide relationship-based project financing for a range of SMEs, including house builders. We have sought to assist developers grow by offering flexible finance solutions that help accelerate their project cycle through the transfer of equity from one project to the next.

The typical Fiduciam house builder is developing three to ten units. We like to see a track record of completed previous projects and a willingness to engage with a lender. Works are funded through drawdowns approved by the appointed project monitor. Loan terms are generally 18 to 24 months for ground up projects and a little less for other schemes.

COVID-19 has impacted house builders in a variety of ways. We have seen borrowers affected by closed sites, limits to the number of workers on site, the reduced availability and higher cost of materials, and planning and utility connection delays. These construction delays, accompanied by the impact of social distancing restrictions on viewings, have prompted cash flow headaches and the risk of development loans running overtime.

Fiduciam has provided fresh funding to developers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including facilities under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This scheme seeks to assist SMEs with their additional liquidity requirements prompted by the disruption. Fiduciam has utilised the scheme to help provide individual house builders with the time and resources they require to finish existing projects and confidence to start works on new sites. The full impact of COVID-19, and support schemes such as CBILS, on house builders and housing supply will not be known for some time.

Fiduciam has been accredited by the British Business Bank to offer loans under the CBILS. Delivered through British Business Bank accredited lenders, CBILS is designed to support the continued provision of finance to UK smaller businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme enables lenders to provide facilities of up to £5m to smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.

References:

[1] Department for Communities and Local Government (2017). Fixing our broken housing market.

[2] NHBC Foundation (2017). Small house builders and developers.

No Time to Zoom

2020 has been a challenging year for so many. Whilst we look forward to 2021 filled with the promise of vaccines, treatments and recovery, we would like to take a moment to look back at 2020. The pandemic brought us together and showed the best in humanity. However, it also claimed many victims and caused enormous destruction. We did our bit to fight the crisis by standing by our SMEs throughout the entire pandemic and granting interest payment holidays and new loans.  Whilst a number of lenders shut their doors, our employees did an extraordinary job to maintain an efficient lending operation and our institutional investors showed their strong commitment and humane engagement by continuing to advance funds.  Our company continued to grow in 2020 both in terms of number of employees and loan book.  We were honoured to become accredited by the British Business Bank as a lender in the UK government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.  In our tradition of making festive fun, our Jane Bond captures some of the zeitgeist in our end-of-2020 holiday film.