Financial times changing for the better, says Marlin MD

There’s no doubt that the shockwaves resulting from the Covid pandemic have made life difficult for the business community.

But as we stand on the threshold of a new year, there are reasons to be optimistic about the future, according to Marlin Corporate Finance managing director Paul Griffiths.

The Stockton-based company has an experienced team of professional advisors who can formulate a business plan for the coming years.

That capability applies whether the end goal is the sale of a business, raising capital for growth or new premises, or a restructure of existing arrangements to make a business more efficient.

Paul has been taking a close look at what the future may well hold and how his firm can help its clients achieve their targets.

He’s also been reflecting on the huge changes to working practices and government initiatives that have been a direct consequence of Covid.

“As we go into 2022 with renewed optimism, there appears to be more willingness and desire to work hard and to succeed in business,” says Paul.

“During the last quarter, we have seen increased deal activity across all sectors and we have noted a greater uptake of borrowing to aid with different scenarios, including company purchases and buy-ins, where we have supported several clients with their growth plans.

“There has been a recent surge in property funding requirements, with a lack of supply in the residential investment market leading to increased prices.

“As a result, we are seeing traditional buy-to-let investors look for alternative properties such as commercial, HMO (multiple occupancy) and mixed-use schemes.

“With interest rates held at all-time lows, alternative lenders have overtaken many of the high street banks on the property funding side and have had to tweak their own offerings due to competitive pricing and competition.”

Companies both large and small have had to deal with problems resulting from lockdowns, including travel restrictions and social distancing regulations.

But it seems that workers, managers and executives are proving to be remarkably adaptable in the most trying of circumstances.

“Have the challenging times of late resulted in a decrease in production?” ponders Paul.

“Well, most of the businesses and leaders we speak with are reporting quite the opposite.

“Workers are saving time by not having to travel to meetings, meaning they save time and money.

“Benefits can include using less fuel, making fewer journeys and pocketing savings on childcare arrangements. Also, flexible hours throughout the day allow employees to fit work around their daily lives, and that means employees and business owners don’t mind picking the laptop up in the evening or earlier in the morning.

“As we look back over the last 12-to-18 months, the UK has seen dramatic shifts in working styles and ways to do business.

“Daily working life now includes working from home for many, with daily video conferences replacing the traditional office meetings. That’s led to employees prioritising a better work-life balance.”

Marlin Corporate Finance, which provides assistance accessing the capital that businesses need from a panel of more than 200 lenders, can help firms that don’t enjoy the traditional link between businesses and banking.

Paul says: “Trading companies on the high street and out-of-town business parks have taken up more products, with fresh funding capital being the number one requirement we are asked for from business owners.

“With the government-backed lending schemes scaled-down, more traditional facilities are being requested. What we’ve noticed is that with the changes in working conditions, many business owners don’t necessarily have the contacts they once did with their bankers.

“With around two million recipients of the Covid funding schemes, a lot of those businesses will require help and assistance over the next 12 months, with the repayment holidays and tapering of schemes for furlough and VAT ceasing.”

The message is clear: Marlin Corporate Finance is there to help.

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