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The new media providing opportunities for Sussex PAGE 54

On n The Money Why businesses and high net worth individuals put their faith in Chartered Financial Planning, the Skerritt way PAGE 12

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SOMETHING FISHY A working lunch at GB1 PAGE 32

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FUNDING GROWTH How does a business fund growth without taking on bank debt or giving away equity?

As is so often the case there are no new answers or new wonder products to solve all our problems; in fact very often they already exists but have been forgotten or largely ignored by the banks. Trade Finance is one of the oldest forms of finance but has been ignored for far too long. It goes back to the very beginning of trade and is as relevant today as it was when first practised by merchants travelling on ships with their goods and having sold them, returning home with money. This was the beginning of what became merchant banking and was the early foundation of the great trading houses of the 17th to 19th centuries. Much of the documentation and procedures still used today came into existence during this period such as; bills of lading, cheques and letters of credit. Most importantly the principals are as relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. However the knowledge base has been eroded over time and forgotten as banks in particular have sought to lend and not physically trade forgetting that risk is not evil but needs to be understood and priced accordingly. So how can trade finance benefit today’s businesses and entrepreneurs? The easiest way is to understand what true trade finance is and what it is not. Mainstream bank lenders or invoice discounting businesses will often seek to offer a business, what they describe as trade finance, but what is in effect an attempt to lend based on security and in particular the balance sheet strength of the borrower. True trade finance is not lending hence it does not seek to secure its position on the businesses balance sheet; it seeks its security and hence takes true risk, through ownership of goods by funding the supply chain in its entirety. Put very simply a trade finance business will purchase goods on behalf of its client against a confirmed purchase order. It will fund the gap between the time that the business that has won the order is required to pay for the goods it has the purchase order for and the time that the business that has order the goods will pay for them. Typically for finished goods coming from the Far East to Europe this is 90 to 120 days. For businesses that have won orders but don’t

have ability to fund orders trade finance can be the answer that allows the supply chain to be funded and the order fulfilled. What type of goods can be funded this way? Traditional trade finance works for certain types of trades. If the answers is yes to all the following then trade finance can work! • Is there a confirmed purchase order • Are the goods to be financed finished goods • Is the simple gross margin in excess of 17.5% • Does the client have the ability to contribute at least 10% of the supplier invoice by way of advance payment; this is their “skin in the game” to align their interests with the financier • Is the end customer credit worthy or are they buying using a bank guarantee such as a letter of credit • Is the supplier invoice greater than $100,000 Nature of trade funded Trade finance often is used for bringing into UK/ Europe finished goods that end up on the shelves of high street retailers. Often this can be clothing, home wares, giftware and similar products. However trade finance works equally well for goods being exported out of the UK and in many cases British businesses that win contracts for the supply of goods to overseas customers are well suited to trade finance. In a number of cases the goods do not even touch the UK and due to the nature of trade finance goods moving from Poland to the USA or China to Sweden are equally able to be funded successfully. Pricing of the financing The trade financier will assess the risk in the trade, nature of goods, margin, time of funding period and ultimately the credit worthiness of the end buyer and price their funding accordingly. Typically this will equate to a percentage of the value of the supplier invoice and is usually in the range of 7-9% for a 90 day period. It should be remembered that the client will generally only be required to fund 10% of the trade hence making a significant positive impact on their working capital. Trade finance is offered on a transactional basis hence the client can use it when required and when it’s not used it doesn’t cost them anything.


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It is flexible and cost effective allowing the earning of marginal income that would otherwise be lost without taking on debt or giving away equity. All things to all people? It would be foolish to say that trade finance is all things to all businesses but for those who have confirmed purchase orders for finished goods from credit worthy end customers but can’t fund their supply chain it is manner from heaven. A real example Often it is easier to imagine how trade finance can work when a real example is used. Set out below are details of a real client that has used and continues to use trade finance. Supplier of high quality gas BBQ’s to major UK and South African retailers. A business founded by a father and his sons had been trading successfully for two years. At the beginning of its third year of trading it won new orders from its existing and new customers which would double its turnover. To fund these new substantial orders their existing suppliers required a 30% deposit to be paid up front with the balance on shipping; well ahead of any receipt of funds or indeed the issuing of an invoice. This clearly created cash flow challenges. The existing bank was unable to extend any further borrowing hence the business faced being unable to satisfy the orders and lose a substantial profit. The trade finance business that funded the trades stepped into the supply chain. Using the purchase orders from the end customers as its security it issued a letter of credit to the suppliers covering

100% of the supplier invoice value. In this way the supply chain was fully funded. The goods were shipped to the UK and invoiced to the end customer by the client with the ensuing receivable assigned to the trade financier. When the end customer paid the trade financier pay the profit to the client less their fees. The process worked so well that the new season is being largely funded again by the trade financier. Supplier of high quality gas BBQ’s to major UK and South African retailers. A business founded by a father and his sons had been trading successfully for two years. At the beginning of its third year of trading it won new orders from its existing and new customers which would double its turnover. To fund these new substantial orders their existing suppliers required a 30% deposit to be paid up front with the balance on shipping; well ahead of any receipt of funds or indeed the issuing of an invoice. This clearly created cash flow challenges. The existing bank was unable to extend any further borrowing hence the business faced being unable to satisfy the orders and lose a substantial profit. The trade finance business that funded the trades stepped into the supply chain. Using the purchase orders from the end customers as its security it issued a letter of credit to the suppliers covering 100% of the supplier invoice value. In this way the supply chain was fully funded. The goods were shipped to the UK and invoiced to the end customer by the client with the ensuing receivable assigned to the trade financier. When the end customer paid the trade financier pay the profit to the client less their fees. The process worked so well that the new season is being largely funded again by the trade financier.

0207 634 9851 • • 3

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SBT Welcome “It’s time to strip out bad practices and implemeent the best possible protocol going forwards”

The beginning of the new financial year is an excellent time for businesses to take the steps necessary to make them profitable in the year - and years - to come. It’s an ideal point at which to do some mental and environmnetal spring cleaning, reviewing your everyday policies and processes to see where savings or improvements might be made. With the ‘make or break’ conditions of today’s market, this is no time to continue the status quo: it’s time to strip out bad practices and implemeent the best possible protocol going forwards. It’s time to make financial year 2013 your year of growth and accumulation. Businesses all over Sussex are gearing up for growth after a tough time for the whole region, so SBT’s Financial Editor Graham Carn has analysed the Chancellor’s budget for its implications for Sussex businesses and its impact on the financial climate of Sussex, and the UK as a whole. We also explore wealth creation, management and protection with locallybased but nationally renowned experts, Skerritts. If you need a break from all the serious business and you fancy a bit of speculating to accumulate, we’ve got corporate luxuries to make it worth your while in this issue’s Spending It section... just in case you need that little extra inspiration. This issue’s light refreshment is served up by GB1, Brighton-based seafood specialists who impressed us enough to warrant a recommendation as a venue for client entertainment. As always, you will find a distinctly Sussex take on the usual subjects such as property and motoring for your business. And, as always, we’re keen to hear your success stories, so feel free to get in touch with SBT.

Laura Knight Editor 5

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Contents SBT Issue 368




for bus ines in Sussex s



The new media providing opportunities for Sussex PAGE 54

On n The Money Why businesses and high net worth individuals put their faith in Chartered Financial Planning, the Skerritt way PAGE 12

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SOMETHING FISHY A working lunch at GB1 PAGE 32

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Cover Image: Richard Skerritt, Managing Director of Skerritts Chartered Financial Planners

Sussex Business Times Managing Director/Publisher: Lee Mansfield Commercial Director: Simon Skinner Commercial Business Manager: Luke Mould Editor: Laura Knight Financial Editor Graham Carn Subscriptions Leanne McConnell Design: Harriet Weston Media Director Linda Grace Accounts: Clare Fermor/Amelia Wellings Published by LMG SE LTD Park View House 19 The Avenue, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3YD 01323 411 601 Printed by Gemini Press, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6NZ All material in this publication is strictly copyright and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The views expressed in Sussex Business Times Magazine do not necessarily represent the view of Life Media Group LTD. Every care is taken in compiling the contents but the publishers of Sussex Business Times Magazine assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from the participation in any offers, competitions or advertisement contained within Sussex Business Times Magazine. All prices featured in Sussex Business Times Magazine are correct at the time of going to press. Copyright Life Media Group LTD 2013 ©

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Welcome Roll up roll up for another great issue of SBT – your essential guide to business brilliance in Sussex

Spending It! All the latest corportate accessories for the office

Skerritts SBT speaks with Richard Skerritt of Skerritts chartered financial planners about giving wealth management a personal touch

Finance Moody’s, one of the three biggest credit rating agencies in the world, has downgraded its assessment of the outlook for the UK economy

The Budget Morrisons Solicitors, Moore Stephens and BDO analyse the Budget 2013

Working lunch SBT head to the the new seafood restaurant at the Grand Hotel in Brighton - GB1

What Do You Do When All Else Fails? Three Sussex based experts deliver essential advice for businesses facing financial distress and insolvency.

Motoring Motoring Editor, Maarten Hoffman reviews the Fiat 500 and the Audi A6 Avant

Made in Sussex SBT chats with Jeremy Burbidge, director of Ticketmedia based in Hove, East Sussex


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Roffey Park Institute A unique venue in West Sussex

• Purpose built, contemporary venue • 20 conference rooms • Facilities for 8-120 people • 60 executive bedrooms with free WiFi • 40 acres of landscaped grounds • Friendly, welcoming conference and hospitality staff • All conference packages include AV/IT equipment and on-site support • Easy access to rail, air and road networks

All bookings for conferences in February and March will receive a 20% discount - please quote SBT when contacting us For more information visit to view our virtual tour, request a copy of our brochure or contact us to arrange to come and see our facilities. Telephone: 01293 854044


Roffey Park Institute, Forest Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4TB Private events activity is undertaken by Roffey Park Services Limited, a Company Limited by Shares 8 Registered in England No 5025908, a wholly owned subsidiary of Roffey Park Institute Limited.

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Spending It!

Corporate Accessories Our selection this month is packed full of top accessories for the office

CUFFLINKS Inspired by the famous London landmark these beautifully designed Gherkin cufflinks feature a diamond chequer pattern with hand set pieces of mother-of-pearl and onyx. A legacy piece and design classic of the future. Simon Carter, £50.

SUIT Designed by Savile Row tailor, Richard James, this exclusive collection combines traditional British tailoring techniques with his vibrant signature style. Suit £349, Shirt £49.50, Tie £29.50

LEATHER WALLET This stylish Sparring Hares brown leather wallet by Tyler and Tyler is made from the finest Italian hide and features 6 card slots, 2 receipt pockets and a hand-enamelled metal badge of 2 ‘sparring hares’ in combat. Tyler & Tyler, £35. 9

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This wooden cube digital clock features red LED readout that shines through a wood vaneer to give the impression that time, day and date are magically appearing on asimple block of wood. Perfect for the office, to create a smart, sophisticated look! Red Candy, £66.50.

Elizabeth Kate’s vibrant and striking designs are fun and frivolous, but reflect the brand’s passion for quality and detail. These beautlful scarves are elther 100% silk, modai/cahmere or cotton voile and printed ín Italy. Perfect to brighten up office wear. Elizabeth Kate. From £99.

PREMIUM SUITOR A stylish men’s business travel collection, perfect for any business trip. The Tripp black technology premium suiter has front zip pockets for easy organisation as well as internal gathered and zip pockets. Tripp Luggage, £99.99.

WOMENS TRENCH COAT The Vera Moda Lucy trench coat has a number of other delicate details giving it a sophisticated, timeless style. The double breasted buttons, sharp collar and strap cuffs give the it a classic feel ideal for casual wear as well as together with more formal outfits. Vera Moda, £24.99.

MENS BROGUE SHOE These amazing 4 eye heavy brogue shoe in tan has a heavy leather sole for the man looking for a hard wearing sturdy shoe and has goodyear welted construction. John White, £130.


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Spending It!



Ted Baker Tweed Pen Tie made from pure by Wild & Wolf A rather silk, printed in Italy. 58” sophisticated addition to any length. 3¼” width. Dry stationery set. This green clean. Made in the USA. faux leather twist-style ink Brook Brothers, $79 ball pen is presented in a lovely tweed styled magnetic closure presentation box. Ted Baker, £19.95.

TIE SLIDE Foam on your tie from a morning cappuccino - fear not, the tie slide has made a huge comeback with sales in the city reported to be outgunning the FTSE. This elegant tie slide from Simon Carter features multi faceted detailing. Simon Carte, £25.

ROLEX WATCHES ROLEX DAYTONA ROLEX DATEJUST Stainless steel and pink gold lady datejust oyster perpetual 31mm with chocolate Roman diamond VI dial with pink gold and scattered diamond bezel on an oyster bracelet. Rolex, £9,500.

ROLEX DAYTONA Yellow Gold Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona with Black Diamond Dial on Gold Oysterlock Bracelet with easy extension and safety clasp. Case diameter 40mm water resistant to 100 meters. Rolex, £24,550

Gents Steel and Gold Rolex Daytona on Oyster Bracelet with white Dial. Automatic Mechanism with Chronograph Function. Waterproof to 100m/330ft. Rolex, £11,250.

ROLEX EXPLORER II The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II watch has 42mm stainless steel case, 24 hour bezel and hand, independent 12 hour hand, black dial, selfwinding Rolex calibre 3187 movement, and Oysterlock bracelet. Rolex, £5,530.

ROLEX DATEJUST 18ct yellow gold lady datejust oyster perpetual 26mm with champagne Roman ruby VI dial with fluted bezel on a president bracelet. Rolex, £16,950. 11

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Skerritts Giving wealth management a personal touch

ABOVE: The Skerritts team


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Established in 1990, Skerritt Chartered Financial Planners are Profile a firm of Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) and Wealth Managers, dealing with all areas of Financial Services and focused on providing financial planning and advice to a broad range of individuals, companies, trustees, directors and staff. Skerritts pride themselves on achieving real results for their customers with a no-nonsense, plain English approach that aims to remove the mystery shrouding wealth management and inspire clients with absolute confidence. Their independent stance allows Skerritts to use the entire marketplace to secure the best rates and deals for clients. Based in Hove, with a second office situated in the heart of the city of London, Skerritts have undertaken a programme of continued expansion within the past few years, and have purchased a number of companies throughout the South East. Skerritt Chartered Financial Planners are one of very few firms in the South

East region to hold Chartered Financial Planning and in May 2008, they obtained permission from the FSA to operate on a Discretionary Investment Management basis. This meant an increase in capital requirements, but allows Skerritts to bring additional care, benefit and value to their clients. “We have a firm commitment to the independent sector and believe that this route will stand the test of time,” explains Richard Skerritt. To us, it is clear that by offering a whole of market choice, we can supply our consumers with the very best unbiased financial advice. We have been recognised for this service with the New Model Adviser of the Year award, which is awarded by Citywire and reflects the values of being a New Model Adviser. In layman’s terms, this means having a modern day advice based approach rather than the old-style sales and commission based approach. We have won the award for the past three years, making us the first company ever to win more than once, so we are understandably very proud of this achievement.

The Importance of Specialist Advice Today We pride ourselves on a high level of personal service for all clients, whether individual or corporate. We have specialist advisers within Skerritts that deal with particular areas. Some Advisers specialise in Corporate Benefits (Pensions, Death in Service, PMI), some in Individual Pensions. All of this is backed up by our extensive Wealth Management Department. We currently deal with over 25,000 clients, which is a mixture of individuals, Companies, Trusts, Charities and Pension Funds. Corporate Advice is a very specialist area, and an area that we feel needs specialist Advisers. Many financial advisers, especially from the banking sector, tend to be generalist and therefore not necessarily equipped to provide the proactive advice that Corporate Clients need in today’s marketplace. For example, between now and April 2017, ALL employers will need to address the issue of Auto Enrolment. The staging date is dependent on the number of employees, with 13

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Business Profile

larger companies going first, but all employers, whether they have one member of staff or thousands of staff, will need to put systems in place to facilitate Auto Enrolment. Even if they have a good group pension scheme in place, they will still need to ensure that all aspects of Auto Enrolment are dealt with, both initially and ongoing. “We see this as a massive challenge: it is unrealistic to expect MDs, HR Directors or Office Managers of smaller companies to understand all of the intricacies of the new pensions legislation, but this is coming at a time when the banks are closing down their financial advice arms and many Advisers are leaving the industry.” “At Skerritts, we see this as being a big part of our business going forward and have increased resources to enable

easy to appreciate why the area has always been a popular tourist destination, so our clients can enjoy mixing in that holiday feeling when they come to see us.” “We also find that Brighton is a great place for experienced and qualified staff – many of the large employers in Sussex are financial companies, so, especially with the banks laying off staff at the moment, we find it relatively easy to recruit high calibre staff.” The Skerritts Way “To construct an all-encompassing financial plan for our clients, the Skerritts way is to use our straight forward approach and ensure that our clients have considered the key areas which are relevant to them,” explains Richard Skerritt.

of Skerritts’ expertise. After all, the bedrock to financial planning is providing financial stability to you, your family and your loved ones in the event of sickness, serious ill health or death. So Skerritts consider key situations which could pose a risk to maintaining your current lifestyle and standard of living or achieving the financial objectives in the plan we design with you. For businesses, Skerritts specialise in tailored investment from across the whole market place; advising owners and directors of businesses on their pension options both during the accumulation phase and the benefit crystalisation phase, and business protection. Skerritts have built their brand on personable, effective financial advice for

“Our mission is to provide enduring financial advice to aid the realisation of our client’s long term financial objectives” us to deal with this. However, due to the sheer numbers of Employers that will be seeking advice, we know that we will struggle to cope with the demand, so advise Employers to engage in the process sooner rather than later.” The Call of the Sea “Skerritts was established in Hove in 1990 and we moved into our current, purpose-built premises in Coleridge Street four years ago. We also have a London office, situated just off Cannon Street in the financial district of The City, where we deal with clients worldwide, but our main focus is on the South East of England. Because our Head Offices are in Hove, we are able to provide a very personal service to our Sussex based clients, both corporate and individual. We love being based in Brighton and Hove and clients love to come to Brighton to see us. It’s

“Skerritts considers how all your plans and investments overlap and interact with one another in order to formulate the most efficient strategy for your needs. We like this way because it is focused entirely on customer needs, delivering the results our customers want.” Skerritts understand that planning and building your wealth requires discipline, motivation and regularity, but doing it well can give you financial independence later in life and or for specific lifetime events, so they have developed a special range of products and services to assist in wealth creation. For those who have already amassed significant monetary worth, Skerritts can help you to enjoy it by ensuring that you manage your wealth with tax efficiency and appreciate the correct levels of risk to which you are exposed. Wealth protection is another area

individuals and businesses. Get in touch to see how they can make your money work for you. T 01273 204999 F 01273 204480


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Triple ‘A’ Downgrade - What Does it Mean?

The UK has lost its triple-A credit rating for the first time since the 1970s. Moody’s, one of the three biggest credit rating agencies in the world, has downgraded its assessment of the outlook for the UK economy. But what does this downgrade mean - and does it matter?

What are credit ratings? Finance Credit ratings are Insight issued by credit rating agencies, private companies who sell their financial analysis to investors. They mark potential investments using a scorecard system and each agency uses different ones. The main one used by Moody’s goes from Aaa to C. The UK was moved down one step on the scale from Aaa to Aa1. In the case of countries, agencies are assessing their credit worthiness - their ability to pay back money lent to them. The less likely a country is to be able to pay back its debts, the lower the rating.

“Politically, the downgrade could be much more significant with implications for how we address our Debt and Deficit”

Why have we lost our Aaa rating? Moody’s now expects that economic growth will be “sluggish” into the second half of the decade. This means it will take longer for the government to reduce its budget deficit - the amount it has to borrow every year because it is spending more than it receives in tax revenue. The lack of growth makes cutting the deficit more difficult because when an economy is not growing, less tax is coming in from companies and individuals, while the government has to spend more on welfare payments, such as unemployment benefit. And as the UK’s debt problem will take longer

to get under control, there will be a deterioration of the country’s “shockabsorption capacity”. In other words, it will make it harder for us to cope with any external problems, such as a worsening of the crisis in the Eurozone, our main trading partner. There were some positive remarks, too, however. Moody’s said the UK’s creditworthiness was still “extremely high”. It pointed to strengths such as a highly competitive economy and a strong track record in being able to get debt under control. On Friday 22nd March Fitch another major ratings agency announced that it was placing the UK’s Aaa credit rating on negative watch. The ratings agency said that subdued economic growth combined with rising debt meant there was a “heightened probability of a downgrade in the near term”. The decision was influenced by the Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest forecasts - published alongside the 2013 UK budget - which suggested that British GDP would only grow by 0.6% this year, and the debt-toGDP ratio would peak at 85%. This announcement puts the UK’s coveted triple-A sovereign credit rating one step closer to a second downgrade. How bad is the UK debt? It currently stands at around £1.2 trillion and is growing. Although the Chancellor has managed to reduce the


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deficit – the annual overspend – we are a long way off having our debt under control. Official figures show that we are currently borrowing approximately £121bn to balance our books and the last time we did not have a need to borrow was 2001. When the OECD last measured gross debts for each country in 2010 and compared them to GDP – total economic output – it put Britain’s debt at 82% compared to 126% for Italy or 199% for Japan. Germany was also higher at 87% and America was at 93%. The difference is that the likes of Germany and the US are perceived to have more dynamic economies that will generate better tax revenues. Only Germany and Canada, of the G8 major industrialised nations, have retained their AAA ratings from all ratings agencies. What is the difference between Debt and Deficit? The national debt is the extent of our ‘overdraft’ and credit card balances – the £121bn. The deficit is the country’s annual overspend (similar to our household budget or our businesses overheads compared to income. For the government in the UK it is the difference between all its revenues (taxes) and items such as North Sea oil, and spending on health, education, welfare and so on. Despite the measures announced to curb spending, overspending is likely to continue until 2016. Was the downgrade anticipated? Thanks to the ‘negative outlook’ warning last year, the downgrade did not come as a surprise, The stock Market actually rose in reaction to the news, as did the price of gilts, investors had seen it coming. This is not to say that was unaffected. Then value of the pound fell further against the dollar and the euro spelling bad news for importers and holidaymakers.

Does the downgrade really matter? It looks as though it will continue the decline in the value of sterling, as investors move their money into currencies used by countries with better growth prospects. A weaker pound would help exporters, but it also makes imports more expensive. The weaker pound may also drive up inflation as the cost of imported goods rise – such as food and energy. We have already seen the price of petrol go up over the past month and further increases like these could put more pressure on household incomes and company profits, and therefore on economic growth as a whole. In theory, a lower credit rating could also make it more expensive for the UK to borrow money. It works in a similar way to when you are borrowing from a High Street bank. If you are in a well-paid job and are living within your means, you will have to pay a lower interest rate on a loan than someone who the bank thinks is overstretched and may have difficulty keeping up with the repayments. And this matters, as the UK currently needs to borrow more than £100bn a year from investors,

both at home and around the world. However, after the US lost its Aaa rating in 2011, the amount it had to pay to borrow actually went down, as investors still viewed the country as one of the safest bets in the world. What’s more, some have said that the agencies are just stating what was already clear that the UK’s economic problems, in line with many other countries, will take longer to resolve than expected. It is also important to point out that the credit rating agencies themselves lost credibility after the financial crisis, when they were found to have given top ratings to investments that turned out to be worthless. What does it mean for the FTSE 100? Britain’s largest companies derive 27% of their revenue from emerging markets and 40% from Europe. A weaker currency makes British exports more competitive and, because of London’s large exposure to emerging markets (greater than the Eurozone or the US) the boost is magnified. However smaller companies with domestic focus would suffer as British consumers disposable 17

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“Realistically the deficit and debt positions will need to improve significantly before Triple A can be talked about as being on the horizon. That is unlikely that will be before the second half of this decade”

incomes get squeezed by rising costs of essentials such as food and petrol. What does it mean for the government? Politically, the downgrade could be much more significant with implications for how we address our debt and deficit. Labour was quick to describe it as a “humiliating blow” for the government because, throughout his time as Chancellor, George Osborne has used the threat of a downgrade as a justification for the scale and speed of deficit-cutting measures. When others said he should pull back on spending cuts and tax rises, because of the possible negative impact on the country and the economy, the chancellor cited the need to maintain credibility in the eyes of the markets. They needed to be convinced that the government was serious about getting its finances under control, he said. It was seen as an achievement that the UK was one of only three major industrialised nations to maintain a triple-A rating from all agencies - Canada and Germany being the others.

So will the government now change its economic policy? Not according to George Osborne. “Far from weakening our resolve to deliver our economic recovery plan, this decision redoubles it,” he said in response to Moody’s announcement. “We will go on delivering the plan that has cut the deficit by a quarter.” Others, however, will see the downgrade - and Moody’s suggestion that recovery may not come until after 2015 - as a reason to reduce borrowing more slowly and to focus on measures to boost jobs and growth. Conclusion To the Sussex businessman the loss of the Triple A rating may appear like something that is more macroeconomic and pretty irrelevant to normal day to day activity. Directly that may be the case but indirectly there could be a tangible cumulative effect. It will be dependent on how much the business and its competition is influenced by the strength of the pound, and by how much of your overheads may be affected by materials or services not derived in the UK. For

some businesses therefore the cost implication could be significant, but for others less so. Aside from the exchange rate implications the effects are less significant and more cosmetic. For the time being the headline debate is in the political arena and judging from the recent Budget, and the ensuing political language, the likelihood of a change of economic strategy from the government appears unlikely. Even if a change of approach was seen, the fact that we have now lost the Triple A with Moody’s means the likelihood of it being restored before results are clearly evidenced is unlikely. The Triple A rating is something that for prestige reasons if nothing else is desired, and it does matter, however realistically the deficit and debt positions will need to improve significantly before Triple A can be talked about as being on the horizon. That is unlikely that will be before the second half of this decade.

Graham Carn, Senior Partner, Blackstones Consulting - email:


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Is Simple Availability of Commercial Finance the Answer? As calls continue for banks and mortgage companies to push out lending again is a return to how it was actually what is required and, with funds likely to be more limited in availability, how does business ensure the best chance of achieving the funding it needs? We hear often from politicians and certain Finance elements of the press that ‘banks’ Insight must lend more because without this vital ingredient in the economy growth will not be seen. Certainly the availability of funding is a very important component for growth enabling businesses to expand but I do find it somewhat strange that this message to open the floodgates comes from those who previously were equally vocal in criticising the banks for irresponsibility with their lending in the past. Equally odd is that when calls are made for more finance for small businesses there is no qualification as to what actually is specifically needed and no attempt to manage expectations within an economic environment that has changed significantly in recent years. Growth is elusive in the UK, as it is in Europe and other countries around the world. Without growth economies cannot address their debt problems or satisfy the expectations of populations. In the UK there is total consensus that growth is desirable but surely we want to rebuild the country’s finances in a sustainable way? History will judge that a significant reason why we are where we are today is because, aside from the banks clear failures, our governing classes also failed to recognise the risks of the lending boom that they were overseeing and the stable door

had clearly come well and truly off its hinges before the realisation that credit had been too available was recognised. To me it is somewhat contradictory for politicians and press to one minute blame lenders for poor lending and reckless activities and the next call for more lending without qualification. We need to learn our lessons and avoid the risk of any repeat performance in the future. In calling for increased availability of funds there needs to be understanding that there needs inevitably to be changes to the way money is lent. Is there less lending now - has lending policy changed? The calls for lending follow statistics showing new advances still low, but is this really that surprising? In fact the overall availability of credit to the corporate sector did increase significantly in Q4 2012, according to respondents to the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions Survey, but there are two main reasons why many still believe that lenders are still not active enough. Firstly, lenders have to acclimatise to new higher capital ratio requirements, an important component part of which is the condition of their existing loan books, and the reduction of riskier debts. Until they stabilise their ratios there are regulatory constraints on the extent of new money they can make available. Secondly, with the economy struggling it is a difficult environment for lenders to be confident when advancing 19

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“Despite the headlines that the banks and other lenders are not lending is not completely true. The figures for February for loans approved by the British Bankers’ Association dropped to 30,506 in February, missing forecasts of 33,500.”

their more limited funds. Businesses naturally have to show their ability to repay and in uncertain economic times being able to do so is more difficult. I appreciate there is an argument around chicken and eggs here, but cautious lenders are never going to want to make the first move! When mentioning repayment ability it is worth reminding ourselves that although this is clearly fundamental to any lending request from the viewpoint of the lender it is also extremely relevant to potential borrowers not wanting to

be encouraged into acquiring finance that subsequently goes wrong. In that scenario it will be our businesses, our assets, and our futures that are first on the line. A return to lending based more on security rather than repayment ability is unlikely and not in anyone’s interest. Once capital ratios stabilise and new lending potential increases lenders will not revert to the days of easy money, lending is already far more considered. For over thirty years, I was involved in the banking world, particularly in the commercial sector and for the last five

years as a consultant to businesses with a commercial broking licence enabling me to help with lending needs. With this background I can clearly see how the emphasis within the lending industry has returned to traditional standards of assessment. I do not see that the component parts in assessing a proposition have changed but they have tightened considerably with the analysis of information, the depth of understanding of the business and the avoidance of factors that are considered unknown and possibly risky. The pendulum has probably swung back too far in terms of the depth if analysis, and the paranoia that some credit underwriters encounter when assessing a deal is sometimes surprising, but in time all this will ‘balance’ better. In the meantime businesses have to operate with where we are and there is no point waiting for things to get better if ‘better’ means we revert to how it was – that will not happen. I do not think that anyone should be too critical of lenders trying to learn their lessons. In my experience, despite the headlines that the banks and other lenders are not lending is not completely true. The figures for February for loans approved by the British Bankers’ Association dropped to 30,506 in February, missing forecasts of 33,500. The unexpected -6% decline raised doubts over the functionality of the Bank of England’s new Funding for Lending Scheme, which was designed to help stimulate the real economy by offering banks cheap loans on the condition that they lend it to consumers and small businesses. However, if you look at the numbers a slightly different way the banks achieved 94% of target! I find that sourcing funds for clients, provided they have a well presented and reasonable proposition, can definitely be more frustrating as the process is very thorough and forensic, but where there is a sound case and rationale, with evidence of affordability, funds are there. The process does generally take more time, undoubtedly there is more paperwork and verification required, and different lenders have different sector appetites and so on which can be confusing, but lenders are lending and definitely do not have closed doors.


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Small enough to care, yet large enough to cope We understand how lonely it can be to run a business. So we’re here to support you and make your life easier by taking care of your financial matters, leaving you to do what you do best.

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Working with you, not just your business 21

Moore Stephens (South) LLP are registered to carry out audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. P 16-23 Finance SBT April2013.indd 21

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How Best to Present Your Lending Proposition For successful fund raising in the current climate here are my top ten tips:


Clearly and succinctly set out your requirements.


Explain what you need, exactly what you will be doing with it, why it is enough, and what benefits will the funds bring to your business.


Evidence that you have a stake in what you are asking for. Lenders only lend money, their function is not as pseudo venture capitalists as they cannot take a share of your business. If it is more risk capital that you need a high street / standalone lender is the wrong route. A stake often means offering security, directly or indirectly, and this shows commitment to your plans, and the lender, so is always desirable.


Explain how you have the personal and professional financial and business capability and experience necessary to make the proposition work.


Reassure that you have the ability to repay the facility requested, including a margin to cope with unforeseen events or future higher interest rates. Serviceability is a major focus for lenders. The financial accounts of your business, for example, need to be sympathetic to a borrowing request and not written solely to mitigate tax retained profits evidence serviceability.


If your proposition involves other businesses or individuals ensure that arrangements with them are properly formalised. If you have a tenant on commercial premises, for example, a formal lease over a defined term is better than a looser agreement AST’s for residential tenancies.


If you know that your business has weaknesses do not try to gloss over them as lenders will normally find them out. Recognise them but explain what you are doing about them. If the weaknesses are significant then you may be better addressing them before you present a proposal. It is sometimes therefore better, if possible, to plan ahead for when you anticipate you may need funds and work to present the best picture of your business for that time. If you know you have business strengths (USP’s), shout about them!


Involve professional advisors - an application for funds needs to be right first time and presented in as professional a manner as possible. A poorly put together request may not be recoverable. Despite many businessmen being very capable DIY finance requests can now. put a business in danger of not getting what they need or the costs being greater. Involve a trusted accountant or a commercial broking specialist - their involvement ensures lenders sharpen their pencils with terms and will more than recover any fees involved, even if you want to approach your own bank. Sometimes broker fees are effectively paid for by the lender so there is no cost to expert advice.


Involve a potential lender also with your plans early on. This will ensure it fits their lending criteria and any wrinkles in your proposal are ironed out before submission to credit underwriters.


Finally, throughout your application, do not forget to keep selling yourself and your business. The facts and figures are one thing but it is going to be you who will make the plans work. Confidence in your ability is very important so don’t be shy.

Graham Carn, Senior Partner, Blackstones Consulting - email:


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Graduate Voted Most Likely to Rise to Top A recent graduate of the University of Portsmouth Business School has won a national professional award as ‘The One to Watch’. Catherine Ellis, 25, was voted winner at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) Company Secretaries Awards. The award recognises recent achievement and future potential in those in the early stages of their careers. The judges looked at the impact candidates had in managing tasks and activities and contributing to overall performance, and the likelihood that each candidate was destined to be a top company secretary. Catherine said: “It was a great sense of achievement winning the award and a professional accolade. More than anything it means I’ve been doing my job right. “My employer is delighted too, and thinks it’s a great achievement – it was my employer who nominated me for the award.” Catherine embarked on her career

as a company secretary while writing her dissertation in her final year at university. She said: “The best aspects of the job include all the project work that you get involved in – you go to meetings and hear what all the issues are affecting the business. Anything that is of sensitive nature often goes through the company secretary so you get to see a lot of interesting items. No two days are ever the same and the workload is varied. “Company secretaries are independent and are there to advise and steer the chairman and other board members on good governance. That is the main definition, but in industry, different markets and different types of companies require different things.” Catherine obtained her Grad. ICSA qualification upon graduating from the University of Portsmouth’s School of Law with her Master’s in LLM Corporate Governance and Commercial Law in 2010. She had

Winner: Catherine Ellis

earned her LLB Law with Business degree in 2008. She said: “While writing my dissertation I started working for Computershare Investor Services plc in their company secretarial services department as an administrator. I then was offered a permanent position there and started working fulltime two weeks after handing in my dissertation. After 18 months I then moved to work for Amlin plc as a Company Secretarial Assistant, where I still work.”

Show you mean business. Go back to school. Portsmouth Business School’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) will provide you with the opportunity to develop your strategic problem-solving skills whilst mastering the latest business knowledge and practice: • • • • •

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To find out more about our wide range of degrees, come along to one of our regular open evenings – details of which can be found at

‘The Portsmouth MBA has been a lifechanging experience and one that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.’ Heather Short, Entrepreneur P 16-23 Finance SBT April2013.indd 23

For more information or to apply: T: +44 (0)23 9284 4888 E: mba.admissions@ 23 W:

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The Budget contains fewer significant changes than last year’s. Most changes had been telegraphed in the Autumn Statement in December. As with last year’s, the Budget promised to support work and aspiration, and to back business against a background of uncertainty in Europe.

The Economy The Office for Budget Morrisons Responsibility (OBR) Solicitors has revised the forecast for growth from 1.2% to 0.6% for 2013 and from 2.0% to 1.8% for 2014. The OBR has also revised its inflation forecast but predicts that it will return to target by 2016.

The threshold for the means test on residential care will rise from £23,000 to £118,000, this will also come into force in 2016.

Tax-Free Childcare Scheme Working families will be supported by a saving of 20% on childcare costs of up to £6,000 per child per year.

Housing The First Buy scheme is to be extended with the Government providing an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of a new build home, repayable once the home is sold. The Government will also create a mortgage guarantee for lenders who offer mortgages to purchasers with a deposit between 5%-20% on homes with a value of up to £600,000. SDLT avoidance is being targeted and anti-avoidance legislation is to be introduced to two types of subsale scheme retrospectively to 21 March 2012. Legislation will be introduced in 2013 to extend the Capital Gains Tax charge on high-value residential properties (charged at 28%) to properties owned through “non-commercial” collective investment schemes, wherever based.

Social Care Funding Following on from the Dilnot Commission’s recommendations, a cap of £72,000 on reasonable care costs will be set from April 2016.

Inheritance Tax The inheritance tax nil rate band will be frozen at £325,000 until 2017-2018. The Government plans to legislate to remove an IHT loophole allowing

Income Tax The personal income tax allowance will be raised to £9,440 from 6 April 2013. At the same time the basic rate limit will be reduced to £32,010. The personal allowance will increase to £10,000 from 6 April 2014 and increase in line with the Consumer Prices Index in following years. The basic rate limit will be reduced to £31,865 with effect from 6 April 2014.

the deduction from the value of an estate the value of an outstanding debt regardless of whether or not the debts are then repaid after death, or of how the borrowed funds were used. If borrowed funds are used to buy assets to which a relief or exemption applies, the value of the debt may be set against the value of that asset to reduce the relief or the amount of the exemption. Equitable Life Policy Holders The compensation scheme for Equitable Life policy holders will be extended to include those who bought their policies before 1992. Each of them will eligible for a compensation payment of £5,000 and policy holders in receipt of pension credit will be eligible for a further payment of £5,000. Corporation Tax And National Insurance Contributions (Nics) The main rate of Corporation tax will fall to 21% from April 2014 and then a further 1% to 20% for Apr 2015. The marginal rate fraction and rate for ring-fenced profits will be adjusted accordingly. From Apr 2014, businesses and charities will be given an entitlement to £2,000 Employment Allowance per year towards their employer NICs bill.


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£ Budget

However, the Bank levy on short-term liabilities will be increased to 0.142% from January 2014 “to ensure that Corporation Tax cuts do not benefit the banks”.

VAT The VAT registration and de-registration thresholds are to be increased in line with inflation. Legislation will be introduced to change the place of supply for the provision of consumer telecommunications, broadcasting and e-commerce services within the EU.

Pensions The single tier state pension will be introduced in 2016-17 thereby ending the option to contract out of the State Second Pension. This will mean an increase in NI contributions for those already contracted out of the secondary state pension. The flat rate pension will be worth £144 per week. Legislation will be introduced to increase the capped drawdown limit for all pensioners from 100% to 120% of the value of an equivalent annuity. The Annual Allowance for pension

Tax Avoidance The Government has announced that the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey have agreed to enter tax information exchange agreements with the UK. The presumption of self employment will be removed for limited liability partnership partners. As previously announced, a General Anti-Abuse Rule will be introduced to tackle abusive tax avoidance schemes. Details will be published in the next Finance Bill.

“The new employee shareholders will have different employee rights and will hold shares worth at least £2,000 in the firm they are employed by” Public Sector Pay Public sector pay increases will be limited to an average increase of up to 1%.

Fuel, Cigarette And Alcohol Duties The fuel duty increase due in September 2013 has been cancelled. Tobacco duty rates will increase by 2% above RPI from 20 March 2013. General beer duty will be reduced by 2% (1p per pint of beer) from 25 March 2013. For beer of strength below 2.8% the duty will be reduced by 6%. The escalator for beer duty will be cancelled from next year onwards and will instead increase by inflation thereafter. No change is to be made to other alcohol duties, including the escalator.

savings will reduce from £50,000 to £40,000 from 2014-15 onwards.

Employee Shareholders The Government is legislating to introduce a new employee shareholder status from 1 September 2013. The new employee shareholders will have different employee rights and will hold shares worth at least £2,000 in the firm they are employed by. The Government has decided that the first £2,000 of shares will be free from both Income tax and national insurance contributions. Employee shareholders will also benefit from an exemption from capital gains tax for gains up to £50,000.

Disclaimer This bulletin is for information purposes only and represents our current understanding of those parts of the Budget that we consider relevant to the interests of the majority of our clients. Many provisions contained in the Budget have been omitted. Nothing in this bulletin should be considered in the nature of legal or tax advice. If you require advice from us on the content or effect of the Budget, you should arrange an appointment with one of our legal advisers. 25

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BUDGET 2013 Continued

Mike Wakeford, tax partner at Moore Stephens South based in Chichester explains 2 planning opportunities brought about by the recent Budget.

Capital allowances In a dramatic U-Turn Moore announced in the Stephens Autumn Statement late last year, the Chancellor has increased the capital expenditure Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) limit from £25,000 per annum to £250,000 per annum for a two year period. This ten-fold rise took effect on 1 January 2013 and is clearly aimed at encouraging businesses to incur capital expenditure with a view to kick-starting the economy. The AIA is available on most plant and machinery, but excludes motor cars. It also extends to expenditure on long-life assets (those with an expected lifetime of more than 25 years) and integral features within buildings, which normally attract annual capital allowances at a rate of just 8%, compared to the 18% available on most plant and machinery. It is intended that the allowance will drop back down to just £25,000 on 1 January 2015, so careful planning will be necessary to achieve the maximum amount of relief on capital expenditure over the next two years. In some cases it may be worthwhile changing business year end dates to maximise the overall relief available. This is something that needs to be reviewed if you have or going to be incurring substantial capital expenditure early this year and do not have a 31 December year end. Remember that for groups of companies there is only a single AIA of £250,000 available between them all, but this may be allocated between companies in the group in the way that is most beneficial to the overall business. A similar restriction may apply in

certain circumstances to businesses that are under common ownership, but are not part of a corporate group. If you think that this may affect you, now is the time to seek advice. Remember that there are also 100% capital allowances available on certain “environmentally friendly” expenditure on assets included with the Enhance Capital Allowance regime. This applies to assets that are designated as Energy Saving or Water Saving Technologies and there is no restriction on the amount of such expenditure on which the 100% allowance may be claimed. Pensions It is all change again on pensions! There are three main changes covering the application of the annual and lifetime allowances, together with a very welcome increase in the maximum income that can be drawn by pensioners who have an income drawdown arrangement. The first two of these changes are not going to be coming into effect until 6 April 2014, leaving another year under which the existing limits will continue to apply, but the third has already come into force.

limiting the amount that may be paid into pension schemes is being reduced from £50,000 to £40,000. The rules permitting the carry forward of unused relief for three years is unaffected by this, so in calculating the amount of any unused relief being carried forward from 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 at 6 April 2014, the limit from which amounts actually paid must be deducted will remain at £50,000. Currently there is a lifetime allowance of £1.5 million on an individual’s pensions savings before penal rates of taxation are applied to amounts drawn. This is an overall limit and all pensions owned by an individual are added together in working out whether this limit has been exceeded. For those in defined contribution schemes the value of pension savings is the market value of the assets held in pension funds at the date of retirement. For defined benefit (‘final salary’) schemes the calculation is more complex. From 2014/15 the limit will be reduced from £1.5 million to £1.25 million, but there will be transitional arrangements to protect the position of individuals who are already at or near the £1.25 million limit.

Who is affected? • Individuals making substantial contributions to personal pension schemes • Taxpayers with pension scheme pots currently worth more than £1.25 million or that are likely to be worth more than £1.25 by the time that they are drawn down • Individuals with pensions already in drawdown

Drawdown pensions The amount of pension that may be taken from an income drawdown scheme increased on 26 March 2013. It had been limited to 100% of an equivalent annuity (as determined by the Government Actuary’s department), but has now increased to 120%.

The lifetime allowance and annual allowance for pensions savings From April 2014 the annual allowance

Mike Wakeford Tel: 01243 520618


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Corporation Tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICS) It is the stated aim of the Government to make the UK the BDO most competitive place in the G20 in which to do business. With this in mind, the 2013 Budget provided further reliefs to businesses and investors – as well as warnings for businesses and individuals entering into arrangements which are considered as unacceptable tax avoidance. The headline news for companies was the reduction in the main corporation tax rate to 20% from April 2015, part of the downward progression from 28% in 2010. This is one of the lowest rates in the G20 and reinforces the point that the UK is “open for business”. An important additional relief has then been provided for large companies undertaking research and development. From April they can claim a payable credit of 10% of R&D expenditure. This will benefit both companies with a tax liability and those making losses, as the latter can then claim a cash refund. Further tax reliefs have been introduced for companies in the creative sector generating animation, video

games and high-end television. These reliefs operate in a similar way to the R&D regime for small and mediumsized companies, with an enhanced tax deduction for expenditure and the ability to surrender losses for a repayable tax credit. National insurance contributions can be a substantial cost burden and the Employment Allowance - a reduction in employer NIC of £2,000 from April 2014 - will be universally welcomed. The new employee shareholder status, taking effect in September, aims to encourage wider share ownership. Employees may receive between £2,000 and £50,000 worth of shares, which will be tax free when they are sold, but there will be initial income tax and NIC charges on shares valued over £2,000 at the outset, which people need to be aware of. For investors into smaller businesses, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) provides income tax relief at 50% on the investment made and no capital gains tax when the shares are sold (regardless of any rise in value of the shares), subject to conditions and limits. It has been confirmed that the final tranche of SEIS relief, the elimination

Jo Gilbey

of previous capital gains made from other disposals, will continue in a reduced form. Although the Budget contained few surprises, with a number of the changes already flagged, it is hoped that the majority of entrepreneurs and businesses should feel a little better off once all of the tax measures have taken effect. Jo Gilbey, Tax Partner, BDO LLP 27

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The Brighton and Hove Business Awards are LIVE! The Brighton and Hove Business Awards (in association with The Argus) are back for the eighth year and are set to be the biggest celebration of business success Brighton has ever seen.

Eight leading Brighton Businesses, three major titles, Awards four trade organisations and one of the most iconic and fun venues in the city have come together to create a competition which acknowledges the diversity and uniqueness of our City and celebrates those companies, organisations and individuals who really build the Brighton brand. Organiser Caraline Brown from Midnight Communications said: “It’s an absolute pleasure to bring the BAHBAs back to Brighton. The Brighton and Hove Business Awards occupy a unique place in the heart of the business community and it was really humbling to see so many business leaders rally to the call to support this event in 2013. It’s a testament to the fact that Brighton is on the up once more. We could not do it without them!” Our sponsors include Allied Irish Bank, Brighton & Hove, Cardens Accountants, The Treatment Rooms, The Montefiore Hospital, The

British Engineerium, Qualifa and The Eventa Group. Our Media partners will be The Argus, Absolute Brighton and Juice 107.2FM. The BAHBAs are supported by the MDHUB, Chamber of Commerce and B&H Tourism Alliance. Tony Mernagh, Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership, will chair the proceedings once more. Chair of the BAHBAs, Tony Mernagh, comments: “It’s great to see the BAHBAs back in the city celebrating all that’s good about our dynamic economy. It’s even more important that we celebrate in these difficult times; Brighton & Hove has got lot to shout about and there’s no better platform for shouting than the BAHBAs…” The judges will be looking for companies and organisations that really capture the spirit of Brighton & Hove. Innovation and leadership are considered more important than size or revenue. Visit to find out more about the various categories. The competition closes 31st April. The Awards will be presented at the end of the Brighton Pier on Thursday 6 June. Put the date in your diary!

Award categories and criteria Businesses based in Brighton & Hove are invited to submit up to three entries in any of the following categories, as well as making their own nomination for the Outstanding Brightonian. How to enter Businesses based in Brighton & Hove are invited to submit up to three entries in any of the following categories, as well as making their own nomination for the Outstanding Brightonian. All entrants are invited to submit their entries on no more than 2 pages of A4 saved in pdf format. Entries should be presented in three parts Part One – Please state clearly: Company Name Established Nature of business Turnover Number of employees Contact details (postal Address/ Telephone Number )


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Launch of the Brighton & Hove Business Awards at Brighton Pier

Part Two – Tell us about your business. The judges will be looking for evidence of the following: • Business success • Innovation • Leadership • Sustainability • Uniqueness • Future ambitions • Overcoming adversity to succeed Part Three - Address the specific question for the award you have entered There is a small charge to enter to cover our administration costs. £50 for one entry and £100 for up to three plus a free entry for your Outstanding Brightonian nomination 1. The Award for the Greatest Contribution to the Community Recognising the role businesses play in their local communities this Award seeks to identify those commercial organisations who are doing most to develop initiatives which give something back to the community whether it be education, sports programmes,

enterprise, preparation for the world of work etc. Q: Tell us about the initiatives your company has set up in the city and the impact they have had on the community. 2. The Best Place to Visit in Brighton & Hove More than half of Brighton & Hove’s visitors are people who have been before and who love to come back for more! Your place might be an undiscovered secret or one that attracts visitors each year. The judges are looking for a place that enriches the city and makes Brighton a great destination to visit. Q: Tell us why you believe that your place is so special that makes visitors want to keep on coming back for more. The Best Event in the City So many different events happen in Brighton throughout the year but which one was the best and why? Q: Tell us about a one-off single event that you hosted or organised and why

you feel it was the best in the last twelve months. The Best Environmental Industry Company For the environmental industry firm or consultancy that is trailblazing the green economy due to its market-changing ideas or innovative business model. Q: Tell us about your business practices, products and or services that are making such a difference. The Best New Kids on the Block This category is open to all independently owned businesses, which are based in Brighton & Hove and are under three years old. Franchises are not permitted to enter. The judges are looking for new businesses and organisations that are really creating waves. Q: In what way has your business made such an impact so quickly? What makes you so different? And how will you keep ahead of the game in the future. The Best Customer Service 29

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Business Awards

Customer care and innovative customer services can make or break a business. Q:Tell us how your organisation is delivering really great customer service in the city. What is it that makes your customers come back again and recommend you to their friends and colleagues? The Best Place to Work This award is open to employers of any size or type in Brighton and Hove who have achieved excellence in providing an environment in which employees can develop their full potential and achieve outstanding success for their business. The judges are looking for entries from both employers and employees who are keen to tell us why their organisation is the best place to work in Brighton & Hove. Q: Please be clear about whether you are an employer or employee? Tell us about the initiatives which make your company or organisation is such a great place to work. The Award for Business Beyond the City There are many Brighton businesses who have had great success trading beyond the City but who does the most to put the Brighton name on the national or international stage? This category is exclusively for businesses which have been trading for more than one year and do at least 40% of their business outside of the city. Q: Tell us about the strategies you have adopted to take your distinctive Brighton persona our business and make it such a success beyond the city.

Launch of the Brighton & Hove Business Awards at Brighton Pier

Q: From performance to fashion, visual arts to music, ďŹ lm and TV to the digital sector, tell us what makes you special and uniquely successful.

opportunities for everyone to enjoy. Tell us about your business strategy for sustainable growth and how successful you have been.

The Professional Services Award Most businesses in the city will call upon the support of the professional services in some capacity or other - from accountants and actuaries to business consultants, recruiters, law ďŹ rms and marketers. Q: Tell us how you differentiate yourself from the competition with high service standards across all areas of your activities.

Outstanding Brightonian We want to know who YOU think has done the most in the previous 12 months to place Brighton on the national stage. What do they do to put Brighton on the national map? Have they improved the quality of life for people in the city? And how do they bring attention to the positive aspects of living in Brighton? Do they have an impact on the city and will they leave a legacy?

The Best Independent Retailer As one of the fastest growing visitor destinations in the UK, shopping plays a massive role in the city economy. Please note, franchises are not permitted to enter. Q: Tell us how you have set new standards in retail excellence and are pushing the boundaries of the Brighton shopping experience. What makes you stand out from the crowd?

The MD of the Year The award is open to any businessperson of any age running a Brighton & Hove-based organisation. Individuals can submit their own entry. Alternatively an employee, colleague or other interested party can nominate an individual. Tell us about how you get the best from your team, your commercial success, entrepreneurship, creativity, business strategy and vision. What makes you the managing director of the Year?

The Creative Industries Award This award is for the brightest and best creative industries business or organisation in the city!

The Fastest Growing Business Award Growing businesses are the lifeblood of the local and national economy, generating new jobs and creating new Follow them on twtter: @bahba


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Guinea Pig Village – Open Farm Aldingbourne Country Centre The Aldingbourne Trust has worked in partnership with their local radio station – Spirit FM in Chichester with a very unique community project – A model village for guinea pigs! Not only is this a very different and unique project it is built with model houses all based on West Sussex landmarks. Spirit FM kindly have organised this community appeal since early this year; the first step involved asking their listeners to design buildings based on local landmarks for the village. Many entries were received and the judges found it exceptionally hard to choose the final nine. After much deliberation the winning designs were: Arundel Castle - Sefton Jones; Chichester Cathedral – Malcolm Galloway; Halnaker Windmill – Isla Sturrock; Chichester Theatre – Rosa Guariglia; Spirit FM Radio Station – Joint winners Leah Moore and Rosie Chappell; Goodwood House – Paul Bennell; Selsey Lifeboat – Lily Collyer; Fontwell Racecourse – Jeremy Thomas and a Timber framed Tudor house – Jessica Gowing. Malcolm and Liz Galloway from Caldotec Design Ltd in East Preston, kindly offered to draw up architectural drawings of each of the winning buildings which replicated miniature life like models of their West Sussex landmark. Malcolm said, “All of us at Caldotec were glad we could help. We had some great fun with this project, learnt loads and met some very nice people.” Spirit FM sourced the materials required to build and paint the model village; many local companies and organisations kindly donated materials, paint and labour which was very much appreciated by the Aldingbourne Trust. Sue Livett – Managing Director said, “It has been overwhelming how much support we have received, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping to build the best (if not only) Guinea Pig village in West Sussex.” The Trust wish to thank South Coast Contractors; KSA Contractors; Covers; Eazylay Flooring; Affordable Roofing; Hawthorne Building Supplies; HomeBase; Brewers; ISS Facility Services & Landscaping; South Coast Skips; Bognor Models, The Beneficial Foundation; B&Q; Knight Fencing; C&M Trophies; Express Printing and

Newlife Paints for their support and everyone who has helped make this project a success. Team Spirit worked alongside clients of Aldingbourne in teams and built, painted and varnished all nine buildings as close to their design brief as possible. Marie Allen – Media Consultant at Spirit FM said, ‘The Guinea Pig Village was a successful project that involved Team Spirit, our listeners and local businesses. It was quirky, creative and fun, but most of all a practical and positive contribution to the Aldingbourne Trust’. If you want to know more about this project or you have an idea for future projects please contact Enterprise and Development Manager - Michelle McKinley Bell on 01243 544607 for more information.

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Working Lunch

GB1in Brighton This stylish seafood restaurant and bar offers a unique dining experience where guests and local residents alike can enjoy some of the south coasts finest and freshest fish caught daily. Simon Skinner and Luke Mould report back from the new and glamorous culinary hotspots. Address:The Grand, 97-99 King’s Road Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2FW Email: Website: Tel: 01273 224300

When we heard from our friends at Brighton’s Platinum Review Club that the brand new Seafood Restaurant & Bar, GB1 was opening, we couldn’t resist the invite to take the short hop across from our Eastbourne office to sample the wares for our regular working lunch feature. The completely refurbished and scaled down space at the east side of the hotel is very impressive upon arrival. Overlooking the busy promenade, the centre of the room is almost entirely taken up with a huge, oval bar, just high enough to invite you to take a tall chair, sample some of the freshly prepared seafood that’s on display and pick up the enticing cocktail menu. This then, could be the perfect alternative to a pub meeting and certainly much classier than most bars that even Brighton has to offer. Those who are here for a longer stint however can seat at various tables dotted around the bar including the enviable, private conservatory, which on a sunnier day than ours would be a delight. It seems pointless to spend more than a short paragraph outlining transport links for Brighton, as we have done for some reviews in further flung parts of Sussex. It’s clear and obvious that if you can’t get to a business meeting anywhere in Brighton via train, cab, bus etc, you’re probably unlikely to be the kind of person heading for this venue. Or perhaps even running a business in the first instance! Served as we were by two delightful and knowledgeable young ladies, we were pleased to see some curve balls

within what we expected to be an entirely seafood menu. Along with an impressive vegetarian selection, four steaks (one served with tiger prawns), roasted chicken, Sussex pork from Redlands Farm, Horam lamb cutlet and Gressingham duck breast all happily feature here. We however, stuck with what makes up the lion’s share of the menu and enjoyed a hugely enjoyable, thoughtfully presented and occasionally bold selection from this impressive menu. We implore you to do the same. Restaurant Manager, Erwan Mauro has joined GB1 from a far less corporate background and this, makes him an excellent choice for the ambiance and setting that’s been created at the Grand. Thoroughly charming, I’m certain that he would easily accommodate even

“We’re pleased to see some curve balls within what we expected to be an entirely seafood menu. Along with an impressive vegetarian selection, four steaks, roasted chicken, Sussex pork, Horam lamb cutlet and Gressingham duck breast all happily feature here”


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Working Lunch

GB1, Brighton 33

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Working Lunch

the most difficult of customers and his passion for this place is evident in abundance. This is a young restaurant but the buzz in the room is palpable. Erwan tells us that early bookings have been strong since both the soft launch at the start of Feb and the launch proper a month later. We will definitely return when in Brighton to find out if this trend continues. The Grand in Brighton has long been a pleasant and popular spot for business meetings. GB1 offers a better reason than ever for that tradition to continue

Drinks Still water Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) - £10.50 250ml. Argento Chardonnay/Viognier (Argentina) - £7.00 250ml. To Start Seared scallops, Stornaway black pudding, cauliflower puree, quail eggs & bacon - £7.00. Locally caught crabmeat, crème fraiche, lime & black pepper, served with wholemeal toast - £7.50. Main course Chef’s signature - Lobster burger. Minced coastal lobster & smoked bacon, brioche bun, fries & slaw £18.00. Tikka marinated locally caught monkfish with fragrant rice and sultanas and a coconut naan. Dessert Valrhona chocolate fondant with banana and peanut butter ice cream - £7.00. Great British cheese board served with quince, apple chutney and Millers Damsels biscuits – 3 for £5.00 (other options, 5 for £7.00 or 7 for £9.00). 1 Course - £9.95 2 Courses - £12.95 3 Courses - £15.95 35


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What Do You Do When All Else Fails?

It might still be a taboo in business, but insolvency is a reality for many. Even in good economic times, one in three small businesses fail every year, so it pays to know what to do if your company faces financial distress and the implications of going insolvent, whatever the current state of your business. SBT consults three corporate recovery and insolvency experts from two Brighton based companies for essential advice.

When SBT spoke to Chris Latos, a Partner Financial of White Maund and John Walters and Advice John Beard, Partners of Begbies Traynor, there was one piece of advice that was a the top of their list - to seek help as soon as there is a hint of a problem.“The first thing is not to bury your head in the sand,” said Latos, “you really have got to take professional advice.” Whilst the first port of call is to consult your solicitor and accountant, all three experts spoke of how they regularly receive referrals from these professionals and to SBT’s amazement, offer an initial consultation for free. This is crucial for determining the extent of the problem and the types of procedure that might be applicable to a business in trouble. “The earlier we get to look at the business the better,” note Walters and Beard, stressing that directors should not be tempted to leave things too late or to feel that seeking help from an insolvency expert necessarily means

that they will eventually face insolvency. “The aim is to rescue businesses and there are a lot of aspects we look at outside of the insolvency procedure, so for example, it could be that the company needs restructuring” whilst inside the procedure “it could be that part of the company is profitable and can be saved.” In fact, Walters and Beard speculate that “50% of the people we see, leave with the facts to turn their business around and so we don’t do further business with them or it could be that an insolvency expert can be involved for a long period without implementing an insolvency procedure.” Yet what is key, is catching any problem early. “This is what we class as the decline curve,” they stress. If problems are left to escalate, “the higher the chance that it will be terminal.” Latos is also keen to point out that it is imperative to seek early advice for a second reason: to notify your suppliers. “The main thing” stresses Latos, “is to have a good understanding of where you are, then you can manage

expectation to under-promise and overdeliver. Don’t be tempted to paint a rosy picture” not least to suppliers, he notes. “Suppliers get very nervous when they are kept in the dark and are repeatedly told that the same ‘cheque is in the post’ story. People don’t like bad news,” he acknowledges, “but if they get it early on, they can plan, especially if they have a clear and concise message. The majority don’t adopt this strategy and by the time they go cap in hand for help it’s too late and any goodwill has disappeared.” Often, a resistance to seek advice early is down to personal and professional pride. “With a family firm that’s been operating for years, there maybe embarrassment at the helm if it goes down, but it’s a fact of business life. 95% of the people we deal with,” claim Walters and Beard “are honest people with unfortunate circumstances, they have problems and they haven’t got the ability to react to them, or a mistake might mean that an insolvency process is applicable to them” they


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Money Matters

claim, stressing that insolvency should not always attract a stigma of failure through negligence or ineptitude. “It could be, for example, that the business has failed to react to a changing environment, that their main creditor has gone bust or their largest contract, on which they have become reliant, is for a business that has failed. “It is a good idea not to be reliant on one customer, it is a great business model to spread the risk,” Walters and Beard advise, on this point. As for family businesses in particular, there are often other contributing factors for failure. “On the south coast we have seen quite often that directors see us too

it’s too late, what are the personal implications of going insolvent? Is there still a stigma in the business world to doing so? Latos says that since the Government have brought in recent Enterprise Acts in the last decade, “there have been a huge leap in the number of bankruptcies as restrictions have been watered down. So whereas once the term would be a minimum of three years, now it is for a duration of 12 months, so unless the person is a repeat offender, and there are some out there, the stigma is less. Anyone going insolvent or bankrupt will have a credit history for seven years and will need to do an IVA, but there is nothing stopping

wound up and they have to set up from scratch.” Other personal implications depend on which business model a company has appropriated. If a sole trader has a liability, their debts fall on their personal assets “but if they have a company voluntary arrangement or a limited liability partnership, the money they paid for their shares, or directors loans will be at risk rather than their personal assets,” Latos outlines. Finance aside, Latos also sees the psychological effects of insolvency. “It’s important to remember that it’s a business failure and to be as open as possible when looking for help. Some

“Don’t be worried to go to an insolvency practitioner, the aim is to rescue businesses” - John Walters and John Beard, Begbies Traynor late because they have been running successfully for many years and have found it very hard to dismiss staff that are family and friends when they have needed to. It is difficult to have the commercial instinct to cut back at the right time when a business is part of the family and we do see directors who put money in to the business to pay the wages, hoping things will get better.” Furthermore they explain: “with owner managed businesses with long term relationships with their workforce, it can be financially difficult to make cuts to turn the business around. Redundancy costs are too high sometimes” they offer by way of example. “You can’t avoid redundancy costs so it’s a tricky scenario for smaller businesses, a pointer would be to get decent employment advice.” If professional pride sometimes stops those seeking key advice before

you or another director setting up another company the next day, unless you have been disqualified as a director by the BIS (who disqualify some 900 directors a year) or have been bankrupt personally. Usually this disqualification is because the director didn’t undertake their obligations as they should have done and they therefore can’t act as a director for a minimum of three and a maximum of 15 years. This is something that will happen within two years of liquidation and another reason why it is important to take advice if trading insolvent - for example, to be aware that there are duties to the credit as a whole. There is usually nothing to stop a director trading again as long as they have a reasonable prospect of returning to credit. However, when seeking that advice too late, say when a company has a petition from HMRC, then there is little that can be done. The company is

people can get despondent, but it’s important that directors keep things in perspective. It can lead to health issues and problems at home if they keep things bottled up.” Of course, all businesses hope to succeed and in tough times, not only do companies have to have plans that are flexible and be ready to “react to change in the market place,” claims Latos but they must also be aware that the HMRC are taking a tougher approach to failures when they are seeing businesses coming back for a second, or third time in trouble, and so are banks. “They want to see businesses cutting costs and businesses that are very lean, whatever their scale. They want to see that businesses can keep within their budgets.” It is not an option for management to be blinkered. 37

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Money Matters

What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is one way of dealing with debts you cannot pay. Via bankruptcy proceedings: • You will be free from overwhelming debts so you can make a fresh start, subject to some restrictions; and • It will make sure your assets are shared out fairly among your creditors. Anyone can go bankrupt, including individual members of a partnership. There are different insolvency procedures for dealing with companies and for partnerships themselves. How are you made bankrupt? A court makes a bankruptcy order only after a bankruptcy petition has been presented. It is usually presented either: • by yourself (debtor’s petition); or • by one or more creditors who are owed £750 or more by you and that amount is unsecured (creditor’s petition). A bankruptcy order can still be made even if you refuse to acknowledge the proceedings or refuse to agree to them. You should therefore co-operate fully once the bankruptcy proceedings have begun. If you dispute the creditor’s claim, you should try and reach a settlement before the bankruptcy petition is due to be heard. Trying to do so after the bankruptcy order has been made is both difficult and expensive. What are your duties as a bankrupt? When a bankruptcy order has been made, you must: • Comply with the official receiver’s request to provide information about your financial affairs. The official receiver may request that you attend at their office for an interview - the court will give you the address of the official receiver. (Note: usually before the interview, you will be sent or given a questionnaire which you should fill in as fully and accurately as possible.) If the official receiver does not ask that you attend at the office for an interview, you will be sent a letter, which will set out what is required of you. Again it is likely that you will be asked to complete a questionnaire. You should note that in either circumstance, any questionnaire completed before the bankruptcy order, supplied to you by an adviser or another third party, will not be acceptable; • Give the official receiver a full list of

your assets and details of what you owe and to whom (your creditors); • Look after and then hand over your assets to the official receiver together with all your books, records, bank statements, insurance policies and other papers* relating to your property and financial affairs; • Tell your trustee about assets and increases in income you obtain during your bankruptcy. (Note: by law you must inform your trustee of any property which becomes yours during the bankruptcy. Such property includes lump sum cash payments that you may receive, for example redundancy payments, property or money left in a will); • Stop using your bank, building society, credit card and similar accounts straightaway; • Not obtain credit of £500 or more from any person without first disclosing the fact that you are bankrupt; • Not make payments direct to your creditors. You may also have to go to court and explain why you are in debt. If you do not co-operate, you could be arrested. *Your books and papers will normally be destroyed after your trustee has finished with them. However, you can have them back, provided they have not already been destroyed. How will bankruptcy affect you? a) In relation to your creditors If you are made bankrupt, you must not make payments directly to your creditors. Creditors to whom you owe money when you are made bankrupt make a claim to your trustee (either the official receiver or an insolvency practitioner). They should not ask you directly for payment; if you receive any requests, pass them immediately to your trustee to deal with and tell the creditor that you are bankrupt. There are some very limited exceptions to this non-payment rule. The main ones are: • secured creditors, such as creditors who have a mortgage or charge on your home; Note: If mortgage payments are not made, the lender may sell your home. • non-provable debts, such as court fines and other obligations arising under an order made in family proceedings or under a maintenance assessment made under the Child Support Act 1991. Non-provable debts are not included

in the bankruptcy proceedings and you are still responsible for paying off such debts; • Benefits paid to you which have been overpaid may be able to be included in your bankruptcy. It is important to look at the dates the benefits were paid to you and the dates you were notified both of the overpayment and the decision of the benefit provider to recover that overpayment. If any of the dates are after the making of the bankruptcy order, the overpayment will not be included in your bankruptcy, and you will still be liable to repay it. • student loans; and • any monies owed after 19 March 2012 to the Department for Work and Pensions for budgeting loans and crisis loans will still be repayable during and after discharge from bankruptcy. Suppliers of services to your home (gas, electricity, water and telephone) may not demand from you payment of bills in your name which are unpaid at the date of the bankruptcy order. But they may ask you for a deposit towards payment for further supplies or could arrange for the accounts to be transferred into the name of your spouse, civil partner or partner. You must pay continuing commitments such as rent (if you rent your home), together with any debts you incur after the bankruptcy. b) Payment to creditors The official receiver will tell your creditors that you are bankrupt. They may either act as the trustee or may arrange a meeting of creditors for them to choose an insolvency practitioner to be the trustee. This happens if you appear to have significant assets. You may have to go to this (or any other) meeting of your creditors. The trustee will tell the creditors how much money (if any) will be shared out in the bankruptcy. Creditors then have to make their formal claims. The costs of the bankruptcy proceedings are paid first from the money that is available. The costs include fees that the official receiver or the insolvency practitioner charge for administering your case. At least part of the claims from your employees (if any) may be preferential and are paid next, along with any other preferential debts. Finally, other creditors are paid, together with interest on all debts, as far as there are funds


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Money Matters

available from the sale of your assets. If there is a surplus, it will be returned to you. You would then be able to apply to the court to have your bankruptcy ‘annulled’ (cancelled). If your trustee makes a payment to your creditors, they may place an advertisement about your bankruptcy in a newspaper asking creditors to submit their claims. Depending on how long it takes your trustee to deal with your assets, this advertisement may appear several years after the bankruptcy order. c) Your assets You must disclose the following items to the official receiver: • tools, books, vehicles and other items of equipment which you need to use personally in your employment, business or vocation; • clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment and other basic items you and your family need in the home. The official receiver will let you keep these items unless they can be replaced with a suitable cheaper alternative. The official receiver/trustee will take control of all your other assets on the making of the bankruptcy order. They, or any insolvency practitioner who is appointed as trustee, will dispose of them and use the money to pay the fees, costs and expenses of the bankruptcy and then your creditors. If appointed, the insolvency practitioner’s fees for acting as trustee are also paid from the money raised by selling your assets. The trustee may apply to the court for an order restoring property to them if you disposed of it in a way which was unfair to your creditors (for example, if before bankruptcy you had transferred property to a relative for less than it was worth). The trustee may claim property which you obtain or which passes to you (for example, under a will) while you are bankrupt. A student loan made before or after the start of a student’s bankruptcy is not regarded as an asset that the trustee may claim, if a balance of the loan remains payable. If you have made a claim against another person through court proceedings, or you think you may have a claim (a right of action) against another person, the claim may be an asset in the bankruptcy. d) What happens to your home?

If you own your home, whether freehold or leasehold, solely or jointly, mortgaged or otherwise, your interest in the home will form part of your estate which will be dealt with by your trustee. The home may have to be sold to go towards paying your debts. If your spouse, civil partner or children are living with you, it may be possible for the sale of the property to be put off until after the end of the first year of your bankruptcy. This gives time for other housing arrangements to be made. Your spouse, civil partner, a relative or friend may be able to buy your interest in your home from the trustee. Such a purchase would prevent a sale of the property by the trustee at a future date. Your spouse or any other interested party should be encouraged to take legal advice about the home as soon as possible. If the trustee cannot, for the time being, sell your home, they may obtain a charging order on your interest in it, but only if that interest is worth more than £1,000. If a charging order is obtained, your interest in the property will be returned to you, but the legal charge over your interest will remain. The amount covered by the legal charge will be the total value of your interest in the property and this sum must be paid from your share of the proceeds when you sell the property. Until your interest in the home is sold, or until the trustee obtains a charging order over it, that interest will continue to belong to the trustee but only for a certain period, usually 3 years, and will include any increase in its value. Therefore, the benefit of any increase in value will go to the trustee to pay your debts, even if the home is sold some time after you have been discharged from bankruptcy: the increase in the value will not be yours. If, after a certain time, usually 3 years, your trustee has not sold or obtained a charge over your interest in the property, or applied for an order of possession or obtained a charging order against the property, or you have not come to any arrangement with your trustee about that interest, it may be returned to you.

John Walters and John Beard of Begbies Traynor outline some of the most common pitfalls when it comes to corporate insolvency Addressing the problem too late. Make sure you surround yourself with professionals and don’t be worried to go to an insolvency practitioner, their aim is to rescue businesses. Not having the financial information on where the company is at that particular time in order to take a decision as to whether it is, or could be profitable. Make sure you have good management information and accounts. Not spreading the risk with customers. It is a common mistake to rely on one large company who might unfortunately fail and take down smaller businesses it can no longer pay, or trade with. Don’t rely on one contract. Spread your risk. Not spotting when the market you are involved in is coming to an end. Successful businesses are often flexible and diversify when necessary. Not making cuts when they are necessary, hoping that things will get better. Get advice as soon as you see warning signs, from day one. Shareholders and directors not being aware that if they take illegal dividends as a method of drawing a salary because of the tax benefits of doing so, there will be no funds for them to draw back and they will be asked to pay the money back if they go insolvent. Not being aware of the terms and conditions of contracts a company has with their suppliers. It is sometimes the case that the T&Cs make a director personally responsible for the amount owed if their company goes into liquidation, or even some of that company’s debts. Always be aware of what you sign and read the T&Cs. 41

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More Losers in “No Win, No Fee” Shake Up The subject of “no win, no fee” personal injury claims is a controversial one with a deeply misguided perception that lawyers are simply out to make a quick buck.

In reality, many highly qualified and skilled solicitors have Insight helped hundreds of thousands of people claim rightful compensation for other people’s negligence, which has had a major impact on their lives. However, far-reaching changes to personal injury (PI) legislation that will come into force from April 1, means claimants will no longer receive 100% of the compensation they are awarded. The changes approved by the Prime Minister will also erode people’s ability to gain quality local independent legal advice as many smaller law firms will be forced to close their PI departments. Most people have no idea how much a claim for an accident is really worth or how to make a claim. In the simplest of terms, from April 1st, anyone who wins a compensation claim will have to pay 25% of their award to the lawyer who helped them win it. So, someone who wins £10,000 will, in principle, have to give away £2,500 to their legal team. This may sound in the lawyer’s favour. But a lawyer in a PI case will, under the changes, not be able to claim the full cost of his or her time from insurers, meaning many will be far worse off under the new legislation. PI lawyers will instead receive a fixed fee for their work, which for some will mean they have to throw in the towel.

“From April 1st, anyone who wins a compensation claim will have to pay 25% of their award to the lawyer who helped them win it”

Many people desperate for recompense following an accident will have to turn to so-called “factory” legal providers, staffed by non-qualified call handlers who chase work. So what’s the bottom line? The public should be aware of two things. Firstly, they will no longer receive 100% of their compensation win. Secondly, they may well struggle to find a local, qualified law firm to act on their behalf as smaller firms dramatically reduce staff or close altogether. Anyone considering a claim still has time to act before April 1, and so should make contact as soon as possible with a reputable law firm such as Howlett Clarke.

By Richard Shaverien, Personal Injury and Litigation Lawyer at Brighton’s oldest law firm, Howlett Clarke. 43

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Car Review

Test Drive

Maarten Hoffmann, SBT’s Motoring Editor, is impressed with the huge character of the Fiat 500

“It looks tiny but through some magical Italian trickery, they have managed to make a very spacious interior with plenty of room for four adults wearing top hats”

OPPOSITE: Fiat 500 outside the Pavilion, Brighton


Fiat 500

There are a few things that are guaranteed to make me smile. My daughters giggling; when the cheque is actually in the post; the thought of the odd banker swinging from a tree; the viability of the Brighton Eye and now, driving the Fiat 500! This little car is a joy and darts around town like a gnat with its ass on fire. Fiat kindly delivered this 500 Therapy model, which l was concerned about as l thought the chaps at Fiat might have knowledge of my fragile mental state but no, it is actually called The Colour Therapy. The original Fiat 500 was launched in 1957 and in 2007, to coincide with its 50th anniversary, the all-new 500 was launched but now with its engine in the front driving the front wheels. They have also done away with the front opening ‘suicide doors’ from the original, which is a shame as that would just add another funky aspect to the car although when the opening of these doors was misjudged acted as a form of population control. The design is remarkably similar to the original car that as a kid l would see flying around Rome killing pedestrians with gay abandon. It looks tiny but through some magical

Italian trickery, they have managed to make a very spacious interior with plenty of room for four adults wearing top hats. It has an innate style and flair about it that is missing from most other small town cars. They have managed a fusion of retro and futuristic without it ending up with a split personality. It is one of the only cars l have ever parked in Churchill Square that made me turn around and smile every time – and l hate small cars! The model range is extensive with the Pop, Colour Therapy, Lounge, Street and just arrived, an extended version called the L and prices range from £9,960 - £13,760. Then there’s the souped up Abarth, a Maserati version and even one designed by Gucci. My TwinAir Colour Therapy is priced at £11,960 with an 875cc engine giving 85hp, a top speed of 108mph and 0-60 in 11 seconds but l can assure you it feels much quicker than that. First gear is a tad short but 2nd and 3rd pull like a train and the joy is the utter shock on the faces of the drivers of much larger cars as you shoot away from the lights like a scolded cat. There’s also a convertible version with a canvas roof that folds right back which seems to be a bit of a cross between a large sunroof and a convertible. The boot is a decent size and with the rear seats flat, you get a reasonable load space. Fun is the word for this pocket rocket. When it comes to today’s cars,


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Robert Griffin Photography © 45

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Car Review

there really isn’t that much fun left out there with all the Euro boxes with a personality bypasses and boring little Japanese city cars trying desperately to feel like a big car. The 500 is fun through and through and refuses to be something it isn’t. There are endless customisation options to choose from with a vast variation of wheels, colours, seats, transfers, key colour, gear knobs and so on but that just adds more fun to buying one. In fact, there are over 500,000 ways to personalise your car and it has a 5 star Encap safety rating which is the same as a Volvo! On top of that, you pay no London congestion charge or road tax as the emissions are so low. And joy of joys – you can turn off that bloody annoying start/stop system meant to save the polar bears and it doesn’t default on when you turn the engine off – it’s worth buying the car just for that. So, this is a funky, stylish, fun little car with a unique personality and great price, low emissions and no road tax – l ask you, what’s not to like. Go and buy one IMMEDIATELY.

The Details Price: From £9960.00 - £13,760 Like: Huge character;

liveliness; style; stop/start that turns off

Loathe: Sounds a bit like

a hairdryer TOP: Fiat 500 Interior ABOVE: 1970’s Fiat 500

Alternatives: BMW Mini, Toyota Aygo, Nissan Micra Technical stuff: 875 cc, 85 HP, 0-60 mph 11 seconds Fuel consumption: 70 mpg

Motoring Editor Maarten Hoffman


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Overline in the Community

As Overline approach their 20th year in business we are noticing that they are fast becoming a well-known business name locally and with big expansion plans in the pipeline we got the story on Overline’s ambitious growth strategy and involvement in the local community from co-founder John Davis.

Sussex based Overline was established in 1994 by Directors Jason Young and John Davis and operates as a provider of bespoke communication services across the South of England. Young and Davis were colleagues prior to their collaboration on setting up Overline in the early 1990s. We have taken that level of service to another platform by working within our community to work with people to ensure we are giving everyone opportunities they deserve. We recently took part in the World Record made by Dan Lawson of AITC and are charity partners to The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home in Worthing and are also in talks with a number of other local charities to play our part in making our county the best place to live and work. Overline’s initial headcount of two has grown to above 50 and plans to boost staff numbers further this year are already well advanced with a staff recruitment drive designed to expand the business into new product areas

“Our founding philosophy was, and continues to be, to provide the highest levels of service and customer satisfaction in all areas of our business” and across broader regions. A central plank of the firms’ strategy is to operate as a single solution provider that is adept at providing products and services across all end user telecoms requirements. “Telecoms is one of the fastest evolving markets with continuous innovations” commented Davis. “Demand for products and services will continue to surge in 2013 driving up data usage. This market growth will be driven predominantly by two

Unit 8, Quoin Estate, 73 Marlborough Road, Lancing, BN15 8AD

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factors – the combination of work and personal communication devices and the convergence of telecoms and computing.” “Having worked for companies within the communications industry we realised that most were falling short on customer care and service. We decided that we wanted to offer not only good quality product and competitive pricing but also ensure that the after sales and customer service was just as high on our list of priorities. This is something that we still work towards today.

If you would be interested in working for or with Overline or would be interested in receiving more information in their services and products do get in touch with Marketing Manager Amelia Stone on the following details: amelia.stone@ 01903 855008 47

0844 324 0600

11/04/2013 14:44


Audi A6 Avant

My wife was very excited that l was reviewing the Audi A6 Avant (estate to you and me) as she has one from 2002 and adores it and therefore was very keen to see what the new one was like. She was either destined to be very disappointed or my bank balance was about to be decimated as she puts one on her Christmas list. Looks like l will have to make nice to the bank manager as the new A6 is very good indeed with all the features of the original retained and additions that just make it an even better car. The most appealing thing is that it doesn’t drive like an estate and you literally forget that you are hauling a small living room around with you. It pulls and corners like a saloon car yet you can load 565

litres into the rear with the seats up and a massive 1680 with the seats flat. This is not as much as the Mercedes E Class estate but this is much more rewarding to drive. The cabin is very well laid out with a good list of standard extras and there is that familiar excellent build quality and the reassuring clunk when you slam the door. This is a well built car that will hold its value better than most. Personally, l would always choose the Quattro (4 wheel drive) version as you will always know that you can make it through the snow and sleet of any British summer. Having said that, this is a well planted car that holds the road well and feels solid and safe in all conditions. So, into some details. They have put a perfectly good screen in the car for computer and sat nav info but not added a reversing camera. When you change gear there is a tendency to

hit the sat nav control button which causes all manner of things to occur on the screen meaning you have to re-set the screen each time you change gear. Lovely floating dials on the dash with bundles of information on offer and fabulous high quality leather seats. Many news cars now have a dash display that tells you what gear you are in – surely if you are not aware of what gear you have currently selected, you should not be driving in the first place. That’s the thing with all this new technology. The designers tend to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the car which just makes it more confusing, more to go wrong and it is becoming ever more pointless. There are things that are great additions, such as the display to let you know that all your passengers have their seat belts on or reversing cameras but it would help if the designers were monitored to ensure that only what is really of benefit makes


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it into the finished product. Ok, that’s enough ranting back to the Audi. The combined fuel consumption is quoted at 56.5 mpg but if you aim for the 0-60 mph quote of 9 seconds, you can be assured that your fuel will be sucked away faster than this but whatever way you look at it, this is a frugal car. If you really want to blow your budget and your mind, you could go for the RS6 that is so quick it has the tendency to rip your face off as you accelerate and corners so incredibly well that you have to be aware not to smack your head on the widow in each corner. In short, this Audi A6 Avant is a very well built car and great to drive. It looks good, drives well and will lug that sideboard to the boot sale with ease. The biggest problem – it’s on her flaming Christmas list now and l either have to sell a child or a kidney – oh well, l really don’t need two kidneys!

The Details Price: from £26,116 - £35,408 Like: Build quality, great seats, loads of space; great to drive.

Loathe: No reversing camera; stop/start system. Alternatives: Mercedes E Class; BMW 5 Series. Technical stuff: 2.0 litre TDi 177ps, 0-60 mph 9 seconds, 56.5 mpg Motoring Editor Maarten Hoffman 49

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Service Service Directory Directory

Avenue Snacks The Avenue Eastbourne East Sussex BN22 3YA Tel: 07868369940

Eurovans Eastbourne, BN24 5NH Tel: 01323 325859 Brighton, BN41 1DW Tel: 0844 818 8712 Crawley, RH11 8DU Tel: 01293 279082

Brighton & Hove Albion Stadium American Express Community Stadium Village Way Brighton BN1 9BL. Tel: 01273 878288. Fax: 01273 878238

City Gym Express No.2 Furness Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN21 4EY Tel: 01323 648863

Eastbourne Property Shop 7 Mimram Road Stone Cross Pevensey, East Sussex BN24 5DZ Tel: 01323 764122 www.eastbourneproperty

New Wharf Fresh Cleaning Brighton Road Park View House Shoreham-By-Sea 19 The Avenue West Sussex Eastbourne BN43 East 6RN Sussex Tel: 0844 5793999 BN21 3YD www.edgarscool Tel: 01323 411 601 Fax: 01323 411 654

Gemini Press Unit A1/Dolphin Way Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 6NZ Tel: 01273 464 884

Graves Jenkins 1 N Rd Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YA Tel: 01273 601 060


Hopkins & Partners 1 Ivy Terrace Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4QU Tel: 01323 416123

Identity Signage and Printing Westham Business Park Eastbourne Road Eastbourne, East Sussex BN24 5NP Tel: 01323 469111

Ross & Co. 13b High Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1AL Tel: 01323 841814 Fax: 01323 849281 Eastbourne Office: BN21 4RB Tel: 01323 642426 Fax: 01323 417171 50 48

MDJ Services Limited Third Floor Map House 34-36 St Leonards Road Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3UT Tel:01323 646477 Fax: 01323 646412

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The Innovation Centre Highfield Drive Churchfields St Leonards-on-Sea East Sussex TN38 9UH Tel: 01424 858285

Smith Osborne Downsview House, 31A Cornfield Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 34QG Tel: 01323 649418

The Long Room 8 Bolton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 3JX Tel: 01323 723023

The Best Of Eastbourne 8-9 The Business Suite The Old Print Works 20 Wharf Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN21 3AW Tel: 01323 458121 www.thebestof

11/04/2013 10:54 12:19 17/12/2012




for busin in Suss ess ex








How Nikwax prospers when it’s pouring down

FULL OF BEANS We meet a coffee supplier who’s on a high PAGE 62

10 easy ways to guarantee your business is seen and heard PAGE 12


How to get the cash flowing again PAGE 22

P 01 Cover SBT FEB2013.indd 3

BY GEORGE! We lunch at the George in Rye PAGE 28 WE’VE GOT EVERYTHING COVERED Mobile accessories experts Proporta tell us how PAGE 32 GROWTH FORECAST: Mother and daughter make business bloom PAGE 62

19/03/2013 12:22




Shout it Out! Think Like + PAGE 18


for busin in Suss ess ex

a Winner Kevin Byrne, Sussex Businessperson of the year, tells you how + tips and advice from two more award winners! PAGE 13

P 01 Cover SBT.indd 1

HERE’S THE FINANCIAL FORECAST Why 2013 could begin to banish the blues PAGE 24

+ TEST DRIVE: BMW M6 Convertible PAGE 18 WORKING LUNCH: The Curlew, Bodiam PAGE 29 COMMERCIAL PROPERTY: First stop, Worthing… PAGE 44

28/01/2013 14:47



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11/04/2013 12:20

SBT Recommends

SBTBook Club in partnership with

In each issue, we will be searching out and offering you the cream from the latest, business relevant titles at the very best prices. Choose from a host of titles, including our featured books from any issue and join us online at to view more SBT recommends at your leisure. You can order these to be delivered to your door or, alternatively, select your favourite bookshop and pick up from there. Enjoy...

What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences This book explains why experience is everything and how the future of business will come down to shared experiences. Aligns the tenets of user experience with the concepts of innovative leadership to improve business performance and engagement and to motivate readers to rethink business models. Publisher: Wiley Publication Date: 06 March 2013 ISBN: 9781118457191 £19.18

The Failure and the Future of Accounting: Strategy, Stakeholders, and Business Value In The Failure and the Future of Accounting, David Hatherly rethinks accounting in the light of a financial crisis which exposed its limitations. Publisher: Gower Publishing Ltd Publication Date: 01 January 2013 ISBN: 9781409453543 £55.00

Branded Gentry: How a New Era of Entrepreneurs Made Their Names In the twentieth century, came a new era of entrepreneurs, who made their names by making their names into brands. This is a book about thirteen such individuals; from Johnnie Boden to Julian Richer; from Lord Sainsbury to Paul Smith; from Emma Bridgewater and John Hegarty to Robert Hiscox and others Publisher: Elliott & Thompson Publication Date: 04 April 2013 ISBN: 9781908739797 £10.47

How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having It All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity In Robert Peston’s new book he explains in his characteristically straightforward way how the world got itself into the current economic mess - and how we might get out of it Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division Publication Date: 11 April 2013 ISBN: 9781444757125 £7.19


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LET THE PLATINUM CLUB TAKE THE ‘WORK’ OUT OF NETWORKING The Platinum Club, in partnership with The Grand Hotel Brighton, has developed a highly effective networking forum believing that less is more. We have removed much of the periphery that surrounds many business clubs such as seated meals, speeches and sponsors presentations. The Platinum Club offers a relaxed and informal Champagne cocktail party each month where local businesses come together from across Sussex to develop and build relationships, catch up on industry news and events and meet an eclectic group of business people in the splendour of The Grand Hotel. We strive to host an informal and enjoyable event that is highly effective for large and small companies alike and the finest testament we have received is a 100% membership renewal rate

For more information about joining The Platinum Club please contact:

THE PLATINUM CLUB Tel: 07966 244046 8

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11/04/2013 12:00 30/01/2013 13:11

Home Grown Hero

Made In Sussex: SBT chats with Jeremy Burbidge, director of Ticketmedia based in Hove, East Sussex

Did you get the bus to work this Brand morning? If not you, Focus then perhaps your son or daughter made their way to school or college using local public transport. Every day in the UK millions of people use a bus to get around and most of them will have held a bus ticket printed by a company in Hove. Ticketmedia prints 98% of the UK’s bus tickets. Daily that means approximately 7 million are distributed from their Old Shoreham Road headquarters. Most significantly of all, for businesses looking to target passengers in the 15 to 24 C1 socio- economic group, Ticketmedia also sell advertising on the back of the tickets. Ticketmedia work with a shopping list of national brands – McDonalds, KFC, Nestle, Burger King, Subway – the names go on and on. But it isn’t just the national players who are taking advantage of the bus ticket campaigns. Because Ticketmedia can plan short print runs and target specific areas with bespoke advertising, the public sector and local businesses use the bus tickets to promote everything from recycling campaigns and sexual health and drug awareness initiatives to big events, the opening of new shops and restaurant special offers. Glenn Haynes. National Sales Manager, said: “People jump on the bus and most will hold their ticket until they get off. Most will also read what’s on it. The recall rates for the campaigns we run are very high and that feedback comes from our advertisers, not our own research. It really does work and not just on the buses, we’ve also started working with train tickets and putting advertising on the back of those too.” Last year WH Smith was amongst the first names to sign up for the train advertising and offered passengers, most in the ABC1 group, 10% off books in all


Ticketmedia Managing Director, Jeremy Burbidge

their station outlets. Jobsite and BT have also run significant campaigns in the last 12 months. Jeremy Burbidge (pictured) is the brains behind the in-house printing technology and the Ticketmedia Managing Director. An engineer by trade, Jeremy has developed unique production processes that allow Ticketmedia to deliver tickets of any specification – even scented – giving them a key competitive advantage. Jeremy said: “There remains massive potential in this business. Not only are there sectors for ticket advertising that we’d like to engage more extensively with, such as sports and entertainment, but the technology is now so advanced that we can print images on the back of tickets that are coded to give passengers a 3-D augmented reality experience viewed through their smartphone. If you’ve seen the film Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s a bit like that but without the risk of death or serious injury!” Printing millions of bus tickets each year obviously means Ticketmedia get through a large amount of paper, but Jeremy doesn’t duck that issue and is well aware of their environmental responsibilities. Jeremy added: “Much like the motor industry, I’m pleased to report that printing technology is cleaner and greener than ever before. For example, the old

plate making machines were awash with chemicals. The one we use now is awash with water. It is water based, virtually no chemicals at all. Not only is this good news for the environment, it is good for our production schedule too because it speeds up the process like never before. “Plus, recycling is really important to us and I make it my business to know that the people collecting it are doing their bit too. Where is the recycling going, what are the costs involved, does the environmental benefit bear scrutiny.” Looking ahead, Ticketmedia plan to continue to combine the rapidly evolving world of communication, whether digital, social or virtual, with their own advancements in printing technology, and are looking at new markets all the time, all under the watchful eye of the main investor behind the business, Tim Davies. Tim said: “I don’t like to over complicate my approach to business. I think I know what works and what doesn’t. The Ticketmedia rationale is a simple one. Whether you run a bus company or a football or cricket club, you need tickets. We print their tickets for free by putting high quality advertisers on the reverse. What’s not to like about that?”


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Friends of the Albion Networking Group


al c o l t i ng


s with s e n i us

in Sussex

Join the Friends of the Albion Networking Group today and promote your business to over 130 other Member companies. Enjoy monthly breakfast meetings with superb facilities at the Amex stadium and the chance to belong to the most interesting and enjoyable affinity group in the area. Your business will also have a Member listing in every Albion home matchday programme.

01273 878278

Call Albion Commercial on or email for more information.

Visit the P 54-55 MIS SBT April2013.indd 55

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Sussex Business Times April 2013  

SBT - Issue 368

Sussex Business Times April 2013  

SBT - Issue 368