Alt Lending Week ended 18 March 2022

Big City Accounting firms Desert Russia and Belarus.

Not terribly surprising but the attraction of large Russian and Belarusian cheques seems to have been eclipsed by the potential reputational damage in dealing with Mr. Putin’s somewhat grubby and dishonest regime which seems to have no moral compass whatsoever. In this the big four consultancy firms should at least look at themselves in the mirror. I have seen them in action over a long period of time and their values I would venture to suggest are somewhat cynically directed towards how much the client can afford to pay. It has long been said in certain city circles that these companies will write  anything so long as the client is agreeable to pay the bill. I couldn’t possible comment but in my dealings with some of them I have not found the desire to get to the truth top of the priority lists. Never mind in this case they are leaving a discredited buyer well alone. However I cannot say from the wording of the various articles that have appeared over this that I am 100% sure what is actually going to happen. Maybe it is not the end after all.

Swiss Banks and Oligarchs.

Whenever Joe public thinks about where some people stash their sometimes ill gotten gains the thoughts often turn to the somewhat shady activities of the gnomes of Zurich and quite rightly so. When I ran a loan book for an extremely large multinational bank and we had a default which concerned a very wealthy individual the first place we would look as a matter of course would be to the beautiful country of Switzerland and, guess what, quite often we found what we were looking for. In the present situation it is hardly surprising that many of Mr. Putin’s rather rich mates who made fortunes off the backs of the poor Russian people are now being affected by the Western world’s revulsion at the tactics of their old comrade. However I don’t think we should worry too much about them. The Ukranians, although not perfect are more in need of a friend right now.

Trade Finance (various)

On a quiet week in the Lending world I decided to take a look at the world of trade finance and see if there was any interesting news. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything so instead I decided to look over the last trade finance deal that landed on my desk. Apparently this had been put together by a boutique merchant bank based somewhere in Western Europe and showed a complete lack of understanding of how credit markets work and what instruments are used in financing commercial transactions. I discussed this with a former senior banker earlier this week and he blamed the lack of knowledge on insufficient training and a lack of understanding of financial techniques.. In particular the conflation of trade finance instruments and fixed asset finance. Suddenly the name Greensill flashed into my mind.

Howard Tolman is a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London,We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior  Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.For context on Alt Lending please read the Interview with Howard Tolman about the future of Alt Lending and read articles tagged Alt Lending in our archives.

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