Onside Issue 5 - 5

What's it like running a SME in the North of
England - what are the most common challenges
in business?

Seneca has diversified into advising businesses
who were mis-sold swaps, as well as developing a
bridging finance operation for property developers.
What do those developments tell you about the
business and where things are going?
Our ability to move successfully and at pace into new
markets such as these reinforces the entrepreneurial
spirit which exists within the team. We continuously
review market developments and look for opportunities
to grow our business - our bridging and banking
businesses are good examples of moving into new
markets when the time is right and having the belief in
our own ability to make it work.
We entered the mis-sold Swaps market well before
anyone really understood the extent of the mis-selling
that had taken place and the damage that had been
caused to many SMEs. We covered the ground quickly
from the outset as we had a first mover advantage and
that business has been very successful.
Equally we established our bridging finance business
in response to demand for short term bridging finance
from a number of local property developers - we
quickly realised however that demand for bridging
finance, delivered with the high service levels to which
Seneca operate went well beyond the small number of
local contacts that we serviced in the early days. We
have subsequently scaled that business to broaden its
lending capability and remain committed to growing
that business given the scale of the opportunity which
exists in that market. With retained earnings in excess
of £2m in our bridging business alone we are well
placed to be able to fund its future growth.

Thinking about the investors - what do they look
for in their relationship with Seneca?

How do you see the opportunities for funding
businesses in the current climate?
Good businesses, with strong and backable leaders and
a clear vision will almost always get funding, whether
from Seneca or an alternate source - they tend to find a
way. If other lenders or investors pause for thought in
this post Brexit cooling-off period then this can only
help us in our objective of backing the strongest and
most exciting businesses. The UK is the world's 5th
largest economy and has proved very resilient in recent
years - there remain high numbers of businesses
looking to take the next step on their journey - whether
that is taking on investment to drive expansion or
looking at an exit, Seneca are well placed to be able to
provide the support these businesses need.

How do you think the result of the referendum to
leave the EU will impact on the kind of businesses
you deal with day to day?
I would hope that it doesn't change the type of
businesses we are working with too much. If you look
at the existing investment portfolio and corporate
finance mandates underway as a proxy for the kind
of businesses we like to work with, you will see that
not many of them have been significantly impacted
by the decision to leave the EU. There may well be
some further bumps in the road in the short term,
but I think the confidence amongst the entrepreneurs
and business owners will quickly win through - these
people are hard wired to create and grow businesses
and that spirit is exactly what is needed, particularly
at the moment. In a similar way we continue to grow
the Seneca business and we are very much open for
business - as you can sense, we are very optimistic
about the future.


This is probably best answered by our investors, but I
hope that they look for an accessible, open and honest
investment partner who acts with integrity and provides
good returns on the investments they make with us.

In short, it's a fantastic challenge! The North of England
is a great place to build a business such as ours. There
is a very strong professional community in addition
to high numbers of hugely talented entrepreneurs,
who are growing their businesses and seeking the
investment or advice that we can provide to help
make their venture a success. As a people business
however, the key challenge at Seneca, as for many
other businesses, is continuing to build and develop
our team in a way that will enable us to deliver on our
ambitions for growth - our team is without doubt our
most important asset and we are always looking to
add talented individuals who will fit with the Seneca
culture and help us deliver our strategy for growth.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Onside Issue 5

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