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The UK’s key invoice finance players

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In light of our focus on invoice finance this month, Real Business has put together a list of the key players in the market for you. 

Still not sure whether invoice finance is the right choice to boost your business growth? Watch this space. Later this week, Real Business will examine which businesses really are suited to invoice finance; and whether it’s for you.

Or have you worked with any of the invoice finance providers below before? Share your experience in the comments! 

ABN Amro Commercial Finance

In February 2012, Venture Finance officially adopted the name of its longstanding parent, ABN AMRO, becoming ABN AMRO Commercial Finance PLC. Venture had been part of ABN AMRO, the second largest bank in the Netherlands, since 1992. The Manchester-based financier provides funding from start-ups to large corporates with a turnover of £250m. With their no-call centre approach, they claim to offer a personal service, working “in the real world”.

Bibby Financial Services

With a network of 16 local offices throughout the UK, Bibby Financial Services is the UK’s largest independent factoring and invoice discounting company. In 2012, they announced a 17 per cent growth in pre-tax profits to £41.2m, pushed by the opening of its New Zealand business and the strengthening of its Hong Kong operations. In the UK, the business has established a market leading position, writing one in seven of all new invoice finance business contracts within the domestic market.

Close Brothers

Established in 1878 and employing over 2,500 people, Close Brothers are a major banking, asset management and stockbroking group. They are listed on the London Stock Exchange and are a member of the FTSE 250. The Group has been performing strongly in 2012, posting pre-tax profits of £134.9m for the year. Close Brothers provide factoring, invoice discounting and asset-based lending for the mid-market, throughout the UK, Ireland and Germany.

Hitachi Capital

Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance is a division of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, part of Hitachi Ltd. Based in Telford and Goring, it is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. In 2012, Hitachi launched Inspired Cashflow, a new invoice option for business that features no set-up costs, and usually costs one per cent to two per cent of sales turnover. Hitachi Capital was established in 1982 and today provides finance for 650,000 consumers.

HSBC

HSBC is the UK’s most international invoice finance provider. As an organisation, HSBC has around 7,500 offices in 87 countries across Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North, Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa. This makes them suitable for international invoice finance. Exporting businesses might choose HSBC invoice finance for the advantage of offering open account terms.

IGF Invoice Finance

IGF is part of the Greater London Enterprise Group of Companies, an economic development and investment company owned by the London Boroughs. Established in 1997, they offer a range of commercial finance services from invoice discounting and factoring to payroll, asset finance and development loans, for businesses turning over up to £10m. A smaller, albeit fast-growing company, IGF prides itself with a personal approach and local staff who understand the challenges today’s SMEs are facing. They claim to have greater flexibility than larger providers, and to meet any individual business’ needs.

Lloyds Commercial Finance

With a 23 per cent market share of the commercial finance industry, Lloyds is one of the biggest players. Large firms account for 30 per cent of the Lloyds’ total invoice discounting – even though they represent just six per cent of the lender’s customer base. Similarly to RBSIF (see below), being part of the Lloyds Banking Group enables Lloyds Commercial Finance to offer businesses access to a wide range of financial services, and to draw on these resources if need be.

Market Invoice

Market Invoice offers a refreshingly unconventional approach to invoice finance, that reminds a bit of crowdfunding. Launched in early 2011, the company acts as an exchange channel for business “sellers” to auction top quality invoices to a community of “buyers”, who are largely asset managers and high net-worth individuals. Market Invoice acts as the middleman in the transaction, scrutinising the quality of seller and buyer. Unlike typical invoice finance, the seller is free to choose when to use the service. There are no ongoing fees. Today, invoice auctions total close to £4m per month, and the company is plotting its next stages of expansion.

RBS Invoice Finance

RBS Invoice Finance is the largest provider of invoice finance solutions in the UK. Part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, they can be expected to work closely with banking colleagues, often co-located on the same premises. This connection with other finance services is RBSIF’s main advantage, since most other independent invoice finance providers can’t provide it. Its network of offices throughout the UK and international affiliates make this large provider a good choice for businesses considering expansion.

Santander Invoice Finance

In 2009, having just rebranded their banks under one banner, Santander bought the small independent invoice finance company Liquidity and rebranded it as Santander Invoice Finance. Sanander is notably proud of their record when it comes to funding UK business: despite overall bank lending shrinking by 20 per cent in 2010, their lending to small and medium sized businesses increased by 25 per cent.

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