Money Advice Group, one of the UK’s leading financial solutions companies, is embarking on a comprehensive growth strategy after securing an asset based lending facility worth £10 million, with PNC Business Credit.
In conjunction with, Dow Schofield Watts, Money Advice Group negotiated the credit facility to enable continued growth through a combination of working capital funding and finance for acquisitions.
Boasting a solid 10-year heritage, Money Advice Group currently holds approximately 8% market share of the fee charging financial solutions industry, with a turnover of £15million. Handling £250million of consumer debt, the financial solutions company has 28,000 clients that it hopes to grow by a third, with the help of the cash reserve from PNC.
Money Advice Group’s expansion plans have been stimulated by increased attention from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), resulting in a compliance review in 2011, which saw a significant number of debt management companies either voluntarily exit the market or be forced to close due to lack of compliance. No longer open to flexible and often lax regulations, the debt management industry is now governed by the OFT’s more stringent ‘Debt Management Guidance’ published in March 2012 – and the enforcement of such has led to an industry trend of consolidation. This has created significant opportunities within the industry for larger players, with the potential to gain more market share by assisting those smaller players who wish to exit completely or sell their book of customers, in light of the cost associations of becoming compliant.
Money Advice Group’s proactive stance has allowed it to anticipate this shift in the debt management industry, and prior to its partnership with PNC, had self-funded an exercise in acquiring a small player exiting the market. The success of such a venture was the catalyst for its ambitious plans for growth and prompted the discussions with PNC to facilitate an acquisitions strategy.
The agreement with PNC is part of Money Advice Group’s overall expansion plans, which will see it take on an additional 3,500 feet² of office space within its existing premises, and boost its workforce with several new appointments within the management and client services teams. Money Advice Group has already recruited 60 members of staff in order to facilitate expansion, bringing the company workforce to 285.
Simon Brown, Managing Director, Money Advice Group commented: “With the introduction of more stringent compliance guidelines than our industry has ever witnessed, we spotted an opportunity in the market. We are extremely proud of our compliant culture but the costs associated with becoming compliant are too excessive for some of the smaller players, so what we find is they want to exit altogether or just sell on some of their books or assets. We trialed this approach last year with the successful acquisition of a smaller company, and it was from this we saw a clear direction for Money Advice Group.
“Our decision to work with PNC stemmed from its reputation in this arena, and its innovative approach to facilities based on loan to value rations against specific assets. This offered a more substantial funding line, enabling us to take advantage of the opportunities in the industry – specifically acquiring both medium-sized and large competitors, and to expand into new markets.
“We have ambitious plans for expansion and growth, and the partnership with PNC has assisted us in realising these plans. We look forward to continuing the working relationship with PNC Business Credit.”
Mark Shackleton, PNC Business Credit said: “Money Advice Group has the infrastructure, industry knowledge and experience to facilitate steady growth through acquisition. There is a clear strategy to grow the business and we are pleased to be adding Money Advice Group to our growing portfolio of clients”.