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Author Archive

FCA Final Guidance on Guarantor Loans and Default Notices

The FCA has now published its finalised guidance (FG17/1) concerning default notices and guarantors under regulated consumer credit and consumer hire agreements.

The FCA previously consulted on its draft guidance twice during 2016, resulting in revised draft guidance in October which took a more burdensome view of funders’ obligations. The Final Guidance is largely unchanged from the October revised draft.

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Funder succeeds on Storage Charges and Lien

We recently successfully represented a funder at a High Court trial which reaffirmed a number of interesting points for asset financiers involved in funding parts of the motor trade.

The funder had arranged for one of its motor dealer clients to look after vehicles which had been provided by the dealer with finance from the funder but had subsequently been repossessed. There was a verbal agreement for payment of a commission for sales which the dealer achieved in respect of these vehicles.

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Revised FCA consumer credit information sheets

The FCA has published revised consumer credit information sheets to accompany arrears and default notices, which must be used by funders from 14 April 2017. Until then, the current versions (which have been in force since 2014) must be used after the initial draft of the new versions intended to come into effect this January were found to be defective and had to be withdrawn.

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Schools Leasing Showdown

Funders with experience in the education sector have for some time been aware of arguments that as a matter of law finance leases with local authority schools may not be enforceable on the grounds that they are ultra vires, and to compound this many schools have threatened legal action claiming repayment of sums paid under such leases. Many tens of millions of pounds are involved and the issue has led to many funders retreating from this type of business altogether.

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Rebecca Fan

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Consultant

Rebecca joined Bermans in September 2016 as a Consultant in the Property team.

She has a degree in law & French and qualified as a Solicitor in 2005.

Rebecca advises a variety of clients including SMEs, private individuals and international investors. She specialises in all aspects of commercial property, in particular acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant, property finance and property development.

She is also a volunteer for Henshaws Society For The Blind and is a member of Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Email: rebecca.fan@bermans.co.uk

Tel: 0151 224 0519

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CLIENT FOCUS: Q&A – The Isla Gladstone

We met up with Gemma McGowan (pictured below), Managing Director of The Isla Gladstone, a popular wedding and events venue in Liverpool to chat with her about her typical working day, business challenges as an SME, and exciting plans for the future.

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1. What is your business?

I am the owner of the business that operates the Isla Gladstone Conservatory and Kemps Bistro in Stanley Park Liverpool. We have over 100 weddings per year and look after the official off-site Hospitality for Liverpool FC.

Each year we host on average 200 events and provide outside catering for small and large events.

I am also the founder of HESTIA CAREERS, an Apprenticeship program for young people wishing to have a career in hospitality. I founded this after I saw how many young people had the potential for a career in this growing market – but didn’t have the understanding of what the industry actually was. Our young people have travelled to London for silver service and butler training and even to Dubai to work with the Emirates Training Academy.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans and how do we compare to other firms?

Fergal O’Cleirigh (Partner and Head of Property) is my point of contact at Bermans.

I have known Fergal now for a number of years and would not choose to work with anyone else. Not only is he excellent with his knowledge – he cares. He cares enough to take late night calls from me and have my best interests at heart. This type of relationship is priceless and I trust him implicitly – if I had a circle of trust he would be the ring leader!

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

As I am an SME risk is always seen as the biggest challenge. I personally don’t ever worry about risk – but sometimes to enable yourself to grow you need to take risks that some financial institutions might not be able to place a tick in a box next to. Through Fergal I have met a Bank now that I can work with and who want to grow with me.

The ever increasing utility charges, living wage and business rates have always been an issue when trying to maintain profits. The industry I work in is seen as not a necessity in everyday life. You can choose how much you spend on a wedding or a corporate event – it is not a ‘must’ in your life. Therefore when times are hard these are the first things people stop spending money on. Thankfully for us we work with our customers to ensure value for money and also for us to make a profit.

Also not many people will admit this – but being a woman in a man’s world is still an issue – as I have got older its not as apparent – maybe because I have proven a point – that I am equal to any man – but it still happens and it drives me insane!

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4. Tell us about your typical working day?

The school run for the school bus at 7.30am is really the only typical part to my day.

For the rest of the day it can either be spent working with the team at the Isla Gladstone, meeting with my team who are overseeing the Hotel development in Anfield or developing the CIC we have set up for Stanley Park to animate the park and bring more park users to north Liverpool. My day is never dull – and I always go to bed exhausted!

I like to be hands on and know everything that is going on!

5. What has been a highlight for The Isla Gladstone over the last 12 months?

Year on year our business has continued to grow. Particularly with the new hotels and venues opening in the city – this makes me proud that we have been able to continue the growth.

6. What are your plans for The Isla Gladstone for the year ahead?

We have just appointed a new head chef – so I am excited about the new menus and events that we will be catering for. Our demand for corporate and private outside hospitality is also growing. It’s good to see that our brand is being recognised and people chose to work with us.

With the Stanley Park CIC – we will also have lots of exciting weekly community and large scale events being brought to the park that we will be working with.

7. Is there are sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

For the past five years I have been working with Your Housing Group, Liverpool City Council and LFC to bring a training hotel to Anfield. We have finally got to a position where we will be signing a franchise agreement with a major brand to bring a 150 bedroomed training hotel to Anfield.

The community of north Liverpool will be able to work and train in the hospitality industry whilst gaining qualifications. This is something I am very proud and excited about. I understand that in this industry people like to learn by working and not by attending college. The way we teach will cater for this. I know first-hand how this feels, I went to University for half a day and I left at dinner time as I didn’t want to read 50 books – I wanted to learn… so I went to work instead!

Bringing a branded training hotel to a regeneration area in Liverpool will be my proudest moment to date – I just can’t wait to get the spade in the ground!

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8. Do you find social media assists your business and if so, how?

Our customers love to see new ideas and keep up to date with different trends. This is a major part of our business. In fact I have just employed someone to start looking after this for us as I realise how important it is. We need to have a regular presence and ensure we are always in our customers minds – but without being boring!

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

If I can be allowed two changes, reducing the burden on business of corporation tax/business rates and increased investment in providing employment opportunities for young people.

10. What are your passions away from business?

Whenever I can I jump on a plane to Portugal with my family – it’s my happy place and I love spending time with my husband and 2 children watching them grow up and enjoy life!

To get in touch with Gemma at Isla Gladstone:

e: gemma@theisla.co.uk

t: 0151 263 0363

WANT TO BE FEATURED NEXT TIME?

To feature your company in the next issue please contact our Marketing Assistant, Emma Bartram 0151 224 0506 or emma.bartram@bermans.co.uk

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Businesses must embrace technology

Article by Chris Maguire, editor and co-owner of the UK’s newest tech magazine BusinessCloud.


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“What do you know about tech?” asked an unnamed family member.

As ringing endorsements go this was hardly what I was looking for when I announced I was leaving my safe job as editor of the North West Business Insider for a leap into the unknown.

I’m the first one to admit that I’m not a ‘techy’ person. I don’t sit at my laptop in my underpants at 3am in my bedroom coding. I know very little nothing about HTML but throughout my 25-year career as a journalist I’ve realised there isn’t a single tech sector any more – every sector is tech.

Think about it for a second. From calling an Uber; booking a holiday; ordering the weekly shopping; staying in touch with friends; and downloading flight tickets, everything involves technology in one form or another.

Retail, healthcare, sport, property, finance, travel, education, manufacturing etc are all underpinned by tech. If you want to scale your business you need tech.

However, when I was the editor of Insider, I spoke to more than 1,200 businessmen and women and I was struck by how many chief executives, managing directors and business owners paid lip service to tech. “I’ve got a chief technology officer who takes care of that for me,” they would say. Ask them about their social media and a common reply was: “I’ve got someone who tweets for me.”

This struck me as odd. How can you shape the direction of a business if you don’t understand the benefits that technology can bring? And that’s how BusinessCloud was born with the simple aim being to demystify tech.

Of course I couldn’t launch BusinessCloud without a partner and I’m lucky to have Lawrence Jones in my corner. Lawrence is the co-founder and CEO of fast-growing Manchester headquartered tech firm UKFast. One of the country’s highest profile tech entrepreneurs he and I are committed to making a difference.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. So far we’ve produced five editions of BusinessCloud; hosted 40+ events; overseen a growing website; and launched a weekly newsletter. Our social media following is flourishing and the feedback has been brilliant.

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality; from automation to holograms; from bots to big data; from algorithms to social media; from cloud to cyber security; the list goes on.

We’ve held events in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast. We’ve interviewed start-ups to unicorns.

Because we’re a tech company we’ve embraced tech. We film our roundtables, breakfast events and conferences and upload the videos and podcasts onto our YouTube channel. Some people like to read stories; some like to watch videos; and some like to listen to interviews. In this day and age you have to be omni-channel.

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So how can Bermans clients and contacts benefit?

To learn about all that is going on in tech in the North West I suggest that you sign up to our quarterly magazine, which is the bedrock of BusinessCloud. It’s 80 pages and is completely FREE. If you want to subscribe just email subscriptions@businesscloud.co.uk or complete the form on our website – http://www.businesscloud.co.uk/subscribe.

Every quarter we like to get out and visit businesses in the region and help promote the interesting things they are doing. We’re gaining real momentum and working with some big name clients like KPMG; NorthEdge; Peel Ports; recruitment experts Search; Jumpstart; Watch This Space; and OBI Property. We have also recently featured Bermans clients, SRO Solutions Ltd and Smartlife Inc. If you are doing interesting things in tech we would be delighted to hear from you and feature you in the magazine.

We also host events for the business community to get involved. Some of these have been joint events with Pro-Manchester and Business Growth Hub. I have listed below details of our calendar of events that you might want to consider attending and if you have an idea for an event in your particular industry then get in touch and we will see if we can work together.

Business Cloud Events

17th Feb – Technology in Manchester

7th March – Technology in manufacturing

23rd March – How technology has changed PR and marketing

19th April – The Lancashire Powerhouse

If you haven’t seen BusinessCloud then you don’t know what you’re missing. Let us demystify tech for you.

About Chris Maguire


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Chris Maguire is the editor and co-owner of BusinessCloud and was previously Editor at Insider Media’s North West Business Insider magazine from January 2012 to March 2016. Over the course of a 25-year career he’s also worked for the Daily Mail, Gloucestershire Echo, Yorkshire Evening Post and his career started at Chorley and Leyland Guardian.

He can be contacted on chris.maguire@businesscloud.co.uk

Follow on Twitter:
@editor_maguire @BCloudUK

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Bermans new starters round up

At Bermans we are committed to continual development to ensure that our clients have access to the best service possible. Our recent additions to the firm reflect this and our dedication to providing high quality services to our clients.

Read on to learn more about Bermans recent new-starters.

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Dress Codes in the Workplace: Is a Makeover of Attitude Required?

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Workplace dress codes have been hitting the headlines recently as a result of the challenging (and potentially discriminatory) demands some employers have placed on their female staff.

In late 2015 the press reported that Nicola Thorp had been sent home from her agency role as a Receptionist at PwC’s offices in London as a result of her refusal to wear high heels in the workplace. She was informed that the smart, flat shoes she was wearing were not acceptable under the dress code policy as it required heels of a specific height to be worn. The agency had a particularly detailed dress code policy which specified, amongst other things, that female staff must:

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