Spring has arrived, and at last the sun has come out, though I cannot remember a period in London where an umbrella was such an essential daily accessory after the wettest winter on record. However, with blue skies on the horizon according to the economic data, perhaps the worst is over on both the weather and business front.
We may be at the end of a difficult period but you would not know it from the City restaurants. Booking has now become essential in the most fashionable eateries, and Thursday night is the old Friday night with youngsters filling the pubs and wine bars until the early hours. (How do they get to work on time in the morning?).
I had a delightful lunch with the Reverend Bill Dost, founder and owner of D&D Leasing. Bill’s photo can often be seen in Leasing World magazine attending many of the conferences, and hosting his own charity functions. He spends his time between London and Toronto, where his business was founded, and has recently joined one of the committees of the FLA. He is also a patron and strong supporter of the NACFB.
We talked about some of the more serious issues in our business – the continued repeat of fraud cases, and lack of bright newcomers joining the industry. We both share a great enthusiasm to put the Leasing Industry higher in a higher pecking order, and with Bill’s increasing involvement in our governing bodies we are in a better place.
Talk of the Town is the growth of peer-to-peer lending, and I was delighted to attend one of the London seminars sponsored by Funding Circle. For those not familiar, Funding Circle has a round 30,000 active investors who can view online a range of financial transactions from property to asset finance and make an offer to participate.
Their investment can be as little as £20 at their targeted rate, and investors spread their risk across hundreds of businesses. When the loan is fully funded on the marketplace, the transaction is closed often as quickly as 2 weeks from start to finish. Funding Circle advanced a record £20 million in February and their loan book is now in excess of £240 million.