Spotlight on Ebury’s VP of Financial Products

Claire Hogarth02/Oct/2014International Trade

Sourcing the right funding solution for your business can be very challenging. UK SMEs need access to flexible credit to enable overseas trade and thereby open up new markets. If you need finance for purchasing goods internationally, Ebury’s Trade Finance might be able to help. We offer credit of up to £1,000,000 for up to 120 days and the service is backed by a dedicated team of professionals.

In this spotlight, we catch up with Roman Itskovich, VP of Financial Products, on the current position of the UK SME, his experience tailoring financial solutions to suit their needs and his own startup company.

Q: How long have you been working within Financial Services?
A: I’ve been involved with finance and financial services more or less since university where my undergraduate degree was in economics and accounting. I spent two years with Mckinsey & Company, where one of my major successes was streamlining branch operations for a large bank. During my time at Bain Capital and Foundation Capital, I was analysing business plans of small businesses, large multinational corporations and everything in between.

Q: Why do you have such an interest in SMEs in particular?
A: When I was building Qweek, a workforce management startup, I spent a considerable time understanding small business operations. You can’t do that and not appreciate how much time and effort entrepreneurs put in their businesses, and how hard it is to succeed. The combination of my finance experience and, as someone who knows what it means to run a small business, made me want to help SMEs. I’ve faced the same challenges they go through; I understand which services have the potential to make a huge difference to their business and I’m in a position to enable them to succeed. On the financial front, I also think that SMEs are a big market that larger banks don’t really understand, so it presents a good business opportunity – we’ve created the right product for SMEs and it has the capability to really help.

Q: Why are SMEs so key to the UK economy?
A: SMEs account for 95% to 99% of registered businesses depending on the country and constitute more than 60% of employment in developed countries, so for many economies they are vitally important. In the UK in particular, there are over 5 million SMEs so this sector is not to be overlooked and supporting their needs with the right services is vital to ensuring economic growth for the country.

Q: What are the main issues SMEs face?
A: There are numerous issues and potential pitfalls for SMEs, which includes access to finance, a lack of local market knowledge to support their international trade and a lack of attention to their particular needs. SMEs need to focus on sales and operations, they shouldn’t be spending all their time assembling documents for financing. Banks don’t seem to appreciate this factor.

Q: How can Trade Finance help?
A: Ebury’s Trade Finance has a sole aim, which is to help businesses grow faster by financing trade. It provides business funding for the supply chain by lending to UK buyers and by providing accelerated, non-recourse cash payments to suppliers. The facility can offer SMEs business up to £1,000,000 for up to 120 days. The facility is free to setup and maintain, simply providing a finance line for business opportunities and seasonal cash lows. It can also reduce lead time as SMEs are able to fund reliable repeat orders.

Q: What are the benefits of combining credit and currency?
A: For an SME, gaining funding for its supply chain is a huge step but it’s important to consider how the payments to the supplier are going to reach their destination and in what form they might be. Combining credit and currency means UK SMEs who benefit from Ebury’s Trade Finance can pay their suppliers directly in their local currency by drawing on Ebury’s Currency Services. This means there is one less thing to worry about. Paying in the suppliers’ local currency has shown to achieve discount supplier prices as the suppliers no longer need to price currency hedging into their costs. Risk management for this currency exposure is also entirely taken care of through Ebury’s comprehensive risk capabilities.

Q: How long does it take for an SME to register with Ebury?
A: It typically takes 1-2 weeks from initial enquiry to financing the first trade. The process ensures that Ebury’s compliance and regulatory requirements are met and includes qualification with our credit insurer.

To find out how Ebury Trade Finance can benefit your business, apply online now.

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Written by Claire Hogarth

Marketing Executive at Ebury. English Literature graduate from the University of York and a motivated professional.