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Accounts Receivable Financing – Yesterday

Most people intuitively understand the time value of money from first time they received an allowance from their parents. All other things being equal, you would rather get your allowance today instead of having to wait for the weekend. Go to the movies today instead of waiting for the money. Instant gratification.

In business, if you have the money today you are positioned to increase the future value of your business by increasing sales of services or products over a period of time. There are several mathematical concepts to compute the time value of money such as present value, future value, present value of an annuity, and future value of an annuity. These computations are beyond the scope of this article.

Uneven cash flow is a challenge to B2B businesses that have to meet regular obligations such as payroll, rent and supplies. One solution to this problem is accounts receivable financing which is also known as factoring, factoring receivables and asset based lending. With accounts receivable financing you can get cash for your invoices immediately and give terms to your customers to pay you in thirty, sixty or ninety days.

The financial markets today are exceptionally volatile. There are grave concerns regarding a meltdown in the mortgage finance market and several major providers of home mortgages than have declared bankruptcy or exited this market. The secondary market for certain types of mortgage securities has virtually closed the door on securities known as subprime home loan securitizations which makes these types of bonds, not having any liquidity, virtually worthless. Why is this relevant to accounts receivable financing?

A little known fact is that many commercial finance firms that provide accounts receivable financing are not using their own money to fund their transactions. This is sometimes called “refactoring”. Their funds may be available from three sources: bank lines of credit, investor participations and the equity of the firm. Bank lines of credit, or asset based credit lines from major non-bank commercial finance firms are by far the largest source of funds for most firms that offer “refactoring” accounts receivable financing.

These firms are under more pressure from their lenders to make safe and sound loans. The pressure comes from Banks, Federal regulators such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve Banks. This may affect how long it takes to get financing.

There is a process called due diligence which is a pre-requisite to accounts receivable financing. Several components are: analyzing the credit of the borrower; analyzing the credit of their customers, and running a UCC-1 search in each state where the company operates. The UCC-1 search and filing is required to give the lenders the legal right to collect the accounts receivable that are being sold or pledged for the financing. This can take 5 to 10 days depending on the state bureaucracy and how busy they are with such requests. If the UCC-1 report is not “clean” meaning first lien status is not available to the lender, there will be no financing. Tax liens, legal judgment liens, and earlier financing liens can delay financing until they either are paid or subordinated.

Why Early-Stage Startup Companies Should Hire a Lawyer

Many startup companies believe that they do not need a lawyer to help them with their business dealings. In the early stages, this may be true. However, as time goes on and your company grows, you will find yourself in situations where it is necessary to hire a business lawyer and begin to understand all the many benefits that come with hiring a lawyer for your legal needs.

The most straightforward approach to avoid any future legal issues is to employ a startup lawyer who is well-versed in your state’s company regulations and best practices. In addition, working with an attorney can help you better understand small company law. So, how can a startup lawyer help you in ensuring that your company’s launch runs smoothly?

They Know What’s Best for You

Lawyers that have experience with startups usually have worked in prestigious law firms, and as general counsel for significant corporations.

Their strategy creates more efficient, responsive, and, ultimately, more successful solutions – relies heavily on this high degree of broad legal and commercial knowledge.

They prioritize learning about a clients’ businesses and interests and obtaining the necessary outcomes as quickly as feasible.

Also, they provide an insider’s viewpoint and an intelligent methodology to produce agile, creative solutions for their clients, based on their many years of expertise as attorneys and experience dealing with corporations.

They Contribute to the Increase in the Value of Your Business

Startup attorneys help represent a wide range of entrepreneurs, operating companies, venture capital firms, and financiers in the education, fashion, finance, health care, internet, social media, technology, real estate, and television sectors.

They specialize in mergers and acquisitions as well as working with companies that have newly entered a market. They also can manage real estate, securities offerings, and SEC compliance, technology transactions, financing, employment, entertainment and media, and commercial contracts, among other things.

Focusing on success must include delivering the highest levels of representation in resolving the legal and business difficulties confronting clients now, tomorrow, and in the future, based on an unwavering dedication to the firm’s fundamental principles of quality, responsiveness, and business-centric service.

Wrapping Up

All in all, introducing a startup business can be overwhelming. You’re already charged with a host of responsibilities in which you’re untrained as a business owner. Legal problems are notoriously difficult to solve, and interpreting “legalese” is sometimes required. Experienced business lawyers know these complexities and can help you navigate them to avoid stumbling blocks.

Although many company owners wait until the last minute to deal with legal issues, they would benefit or profit greatly from hiring an experienced startup lawyer even before they begin. Reputable startup lawyers can give essential legal guidance, assist entrepreneurs in avoiding legal hazards, and improve their prospects of becoming a successful company.

Think Twice Before Getting Financial Advice From Your Bank

This startling figure comes from a recent review of the financial advice offered from the big four banks by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Even more startling: 10% of advice was found to leave investors in an even worse financial position.

Through a “vertically integrated business model”, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, ANZ and AMP offer ‘in house’ financial advice, and collectively, control more than half of Australia’s financial planners.

It’s no surprise ASIC’s review found advisers at these banks favoured financial products that connected to their parent company, with 68% of client’s funds invested in ‘in house’ products as oppose to external products that may have been on the firms list.

Why the banks integrated financial advice model is flawed

It’s hard to believe the banks can keep a straight face and say they can abide by the duty for advisers to act absolutely in the best interests of a client.

Under the integrated financial advice model, there are layers of different fees including adviser fees, platform fees and investment management fees adding up to 2.5-3.5%

The typical breakdown of fees is usually as follows: an adviser charge of 0.8% to 1.1%, a platform fee of between 0.4% and 0.8%, and a managed fund fee of between 0.7% and 2.1%. These fees are not only opaque, but are sufficiently high to limit the ability of the client to quickly earn real rates of return.

Layers of fees placed into the business model used by the banks means there is not necessarily an incentive for the financial advice arm to make a profit, because the profits can be made in the upstream parts of the supply chain through the banks promoting their own products.

This business model, however, is flawed, and cannot survive in a world where people are demanding greater accountability for their investments, increased transparency in relation to fees and increased control over their investments.

It is noteworthy that the truly independent financial advisory firms in Australia that offer separately managed accounts have done everything in their power to avoid using managed funds and keep fee’s competitive.

The banks have refused to admit their integrated approach to advice is fatally flawed. When the Australian Financial Review approached the Financial Services Council (FSC), a peak body that represents the ‘for-profit’ wealth managers, for a defence if the layered fee arrangements, a spokesman said no generalisations could be made.

There are fundamental flaws in the advice model, and it will be interesting to see what the upcoming royal commission into banking will do to change some of the contentious issues surround integrated financial advice.

Many financial commentators are calling for a separation of financial advice attached to banks, with obvious bias and failure to meet the best interests of clients becoming more apparent.

Chris Brycki, CEO of Stockspot, says “investors should receive fair and unbiased financial advice from experts who will act in the best interests of their client. What Australians currently get is product pushing from salespeople who are paid by the banks.”

Brycki is calling for structural reform to fix the problems caused by the dominant market power of the banks to ensure that consumers are protected, advisers are better educated and incentives are aligned.

Stockspot’s annual research into high-fee-charging funds shows thousands of customers of banks are being recommended bank aligned investment products despite the potential of more appropriate alternatives being available.