Below you will find a list of the most “frequently asked questions” (“FAQ”) about our services whether you are a business owner, accountant, lender or otherwise. Hopefully, we have covered all the FAQ you would have wanted answered, but for anything else you may want to enquire about, please fill in a contact form or call us direct on 0845 388 9725.
1. Who is Touch Financial?
Established in 2008, Touch Financial is the UK’s premier, award winning asset finance brokerage specialising in invoice finance.
2. Who do you act for?
We act for ‘you’ – our customer at all times.
3. What is your role?
Our main role is to introduce you to a choice of the most appropriate invoice finance funders on our panel in order to find the option which suits your business requirement.
Although we do specialise in invoice finance, we are also able to help you consider certain alternative options and have a separate panel of providers who may suit your needs.
4. What qualifications do you have?
We have a policy of ensuring that all our Consultants achieve certain qualifications awarded via the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA). For more information about the ABFA please click here www.abfa.org.uk/.
5. Are you part of a group?
Yes. Touch Financial is part of the award winning SFP Group. For more information about the group click here www.sfpgroup.com.
6. Are you independent / impartial being part of a group?
Yes. As fully detailed on the SFP website, the group provides a wide range of other services to businesses, accountants and lenders. Touch Financial is entirely independent and impartial, allowing the team to recommend appropriate funders based on the client’s needs. By working with a panel of more than 30 funders, we ensure that we provide the widest choice for our customers and cover the majority of the commercial finance market place.
7. What are your Terms of Business?
Please click here for full details of our Terms of Business http://www.touchfinancial.co.uk/terms-of-business/.
8. Are you regulated?
Touch Financial is a trading name of SFP Brokers Limited, Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 727220). We are also approved members of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) which also carries a requirement for its members to hold a Consumer Credit Licence.
9. Why do you recommend Invoice Finance as a source of finance?
Invoice finance is a slowly growing market that is only just beginning to realise its potential as a viable and effective replacement for a bank overdraft or loan. Where it particularly wins is that it facilitates business growth without the need for large amounts of assets to act as security. This often means that invoice finance – in the right circumstances and with the right funding partner – can provide up to four times as much cash for a business compared to a more ‘traditional’ funding line such as a bank overdraft.
10. Can you help me compare invoice finance vs. a loan or overdraft?
Yes – That’s part of our job. Please see several simple working examples of comparisons between Invoice Finance vs overdraft/loan Example 1 – Small Business, Example 2 – Medium Size Business , Example 3 – Large Business. Our free service is designed to assist you at every step of the journey with funders, to compare, and make recommendations about which facility will best suits your business.
11. Why does Invoice Finance have a poor reputation and why are Invoice Finance companies sometimes referred to as “the lenders of last resort”?
This is a common misconception and a tired argument. Put simply, Invoice Finance was traditionally delivered via the High Street banks but never as a mainstream commercial finance product. The lack of exposure given to the product, coupled with a poor understanding of its use and effectiveness, meant that it was often only recommended once all other funding options had been explored. Businesses were therefore recommended Invoice Finance that were wholly unsuitable to the product, or who were already failing. To assist you please click our link to invoice finance pros and cons and ‘myth busting’ here (Pros and Cons of Invoice Finance, Invoice Finance Myth Busting).
12. How many IF providers are there in the market?
There are over 30 banks and independent providers of invoice finance. This number is constantly growing and we always open a dialogue with any new entrants to the market.
13. Do you deal with all the IF providers?
We have relationships with the majority of commercial funders to offer our customers the widest choice. We select our panel of funders carefully and value the importance of the broker/funder relationship but not all funders are the same and some do not want to work via a third party introduction. New funders are coming to the market on a regular basis, and as such we constantly review and refresh our panel as well as monitoring the service levels of our longer-term partners to ensure they are consistent, current and meeting our customers’ needs.
14. Are the funders on your panel regulated?
Not all of our Funders are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) but the majority are members of the ABFA.
ABFA members are subject to maintaining a satisfactory code of conduct when dealing with their Clients. The Code of Conduct is subject to the Independent Complaints procedure which is monitored by the Professional Standards Council, the Council is charged with keeping the code up to date and applying sanctions on ABFA members who do not meet the minimum standards required.
We would however always recommend before proceeding with any funding option that you carry out your own checks on whether or not the lender is regulated and ensure you feel comfortable before agreeing to any proposed facility.
15. How do you decide which IF product is appropriate for each prospect?
The process is simple. Our consultants are all trained in Invoice Finance and certain related products. They will spend a short period of time consulting with you on the phone to obtain all of the relevant information required for us to make an introduction to any relevant funders. The information you provide will dictate the relevant products / funder suitable for you.
16. Why is it so important to select the right invoice finance provider?
Invoice finance is not a ‘one size fits all’ product. Over time, funders have evolved different products, often to match the demands of different industries. One of our particular USPs is in constantly monitoring and assessing new products, and in matching those products (and by definition the lender) to the business need.
17. Why do you normally refer two or three funders?
Again this is about choice, transparency and ensuring that the customer always has the final say in which funder to choose. Giving customers an opportunity to compare and contrast service levels and prices is important, and our consultants are always on hand to discuss any of the quotes provided.
18. How do you know those funders are the best for me?
We meet with the majority of the funders on our Lender Panel on a quarterly basis in order to stay up-to-date with the latest products and innovations in services. The customer location, industry and individual requirements will be taken into account when comparing lenders.
Our consultants will then provide a choice of funders that fit the customer’s specifications best, allowing a final, informed decision to be made.
19. Why do some other IF brokers refer just one funder?
There may be occasions when it appears clear that your specific circumstances could be perfectly matched by a particular lender. We believe, however, that alternatives should be provided whenever possible. In more than nine out of every ten occasions we will refer you to up to three funders unless you specifically request contact with only one. Even then we would prefer you to have a choice; funders may look to improve their terms if they know they are in competition.
20. What makes Touch Financial different to other invoice finance brokers?
Firstly, we are the largest invoice finance brokerage in the UK dealing with a majority of the invoice finance providers in the marketplace. We are also FCA regulated and are constantly striving to refine our systems and procedures to further improve our customer’s journey. We are also a very proud award winning brokerage having been awarded the Asset Based Finance Broker of the year by the prestige Money Facts on 4 separate occasions.
We have our own unique in house training programme as well as ensuring that our consultants take appropriate external ABFA exams. A number of our Consultants have previously worked for lenders and therefore have underwriting and credit experience which allows us to quickly work through any barriers to entry.
We subscribe to Feefo which is an independent rating service which allows customers to provide honest and open feedback concerning their experience of the work undertaken by Touch in securing their business finance. To see what our customers think about us, click this Feefo Link.
We are keen to assist you compare offers you have received and give our recommendations on the right facility for you as well help negotiate terms with lender.
21. What is your after sales service like?
Once your facility has commenced you are allocated your own Consultant at Touch. Their role is not intrusive but to ensure that any problems you experience are dealt with properly (sometimes with our involvement) or to act as a sounding board should you have any ongoing questions about the operation of your facility. From time to time we might also be able to assist with other funding or business requirements you might have.
22. How many companies have you helped get invoice finance?
We have assisted thousands of businesses obtain an asset based finance facility since 2008.
23. Do some lenders provide better service / cheaper options?
Service levels and rates will of course vary across the marketplace, and will often depend on the type of facility that the customer prefers. Some of our customers, for example, will be entirely price driven and require less service assistance from the lender. Others will require lenders to be far more ‘hands on’ and this might be the principle driver for them.
24. What happens if I want to leave the funder / do I get penalised / am I tied in to a lengthy contract?
You will enter into a formal agreement with a lender detailing what happens if you want to leave so depending on the contract length, a leaving or cancellation fee may apply.
If this is a concern for you, the Touch Financial team will be able to recommend funders that offer monthly rolling contracts reducing any termination penalty if you want to exit the agreement, or even a rolling contract facility (which is more like pay-as-you-go).
25. What happens if I want to switch from one funder to another?
Most of the funders we work with are members of the ABFA and there is a seamless inter-factor transfer process that these lenders adhere to. That said, there are typically transfer fees that apply when businesses move from one funder to another. We will seek to identify these early to ensure you can make informed decisions rather than finding out about any transfer penalties at the 11th hour.
26. How do you get paid?
Touch Financial work on a commission basis with funders for successful introductions. Our Consultants are not aware of the commission rates and therefore cannot be influenced when making introductions to the appropriate funder. Funders will disclose to you that Touch is being paid an introductory fee and full details are available on request.
27. Can I get a better deal if I approach the lenders on your panel myself?
A proportion of funders on our panel will charge the same whether or not you come to them via a third party, whilst others do have pricing models that take into account any third party commissions.
All the funders on our panel however know that any businesses we introduce to them will normally receive quotes from more than one funder. This encourages them to offer market competitive rates for equally competitive service levels.
In any event, we are confident that we could beat any quote you obtain direct yourself with any invoice finance lender in the market and would welcome that challenge.
28. Can you help me negotiate on rates and fees?
Yes, Touch Financial consultants can help you to secure market competitive rates. We recommend that any quotes you receive are discussed with us especially if you are considering multi quotes and seeking assistance in comparing them.
29. Are there hidden costs from the lenders?
Not as a rule. As with any finance facility, however, there can be additional costs that inflate the headline rates, which sometimes makes ‘like for like’ comparisons more challenging. Funders on our panel should be transparent about their fee structure, although we would encourage you to ask for a full breakdown of any additional charges. Further, a number of the funders we work with also have fixed cost facilities that can help for budgeting purposes and reduce disbursement fees.
30. What are the average advance rates?
The average advance rates are usually between 80-95%. Advance rates do depend, however, on the individual circumstances of the business especially in sectors such as construction where a business owner or contractor may only enjoy a 60-70% advance.
31. Who do I complain to if I am not happy?
Touch Financial is an affiliate member of the Asset Based Lending Association and is fully compliant with their ‘code of conduct’ whose contact details can be found here http://www.abfa.org.uk/. However, should you have any problems with our service our Director Annabel Ah-Lim will be very pleased to speak to you directly – firstname.lastname@example.org.
32. Do you always act for me rather than the lender?
Yes, the group does however have strong relationships with our Panel and provides other services directly to them, but will not act for any of the funders where Touch has in the first instance successfully assisted you obtain an invoice finance facility.