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British Business Bank looks to SME bonds

/ 22 July 2014

The British Business Bank is planning to use “securitisation” to create SME bonds in order to boost lending to SMEs. The state bank is considering using the financial tool to support independent lenders, particularly those who help small companies invest in equipment and machinery. Keith Morgan, the bank’s chief executive, said: “We are looking at areas where creating markets for bundled debt can work. The asset finance industry is interesting. Some of the lenders who are strong in their own right are not sufficiently large to be able to access the market. We think there is a role to bring those together and create a mechanism whereby their funding can be bundled and then financed through SME bonds.”

Source: The Times

We say…
What a fantastic idea. Why haven’t we heard of that before? Oh, wait a second – we have. In March 2012 we attended a briefing by Tim Breedon, then CEO of Legal & General, who chaired a taskforce appointed by Vince Cable to explore boosting finance options for business. One of their recommendations was to facilitate SMEs accessing the public corporate bond markets. We thought SME bonds were a great idea then (and remain a great idea now). We fully appreciate that this idea would be very complex to execute but it is a shame that in a period during which numerous SMEs were unable to access finance nothing was done by the powers that be to launch SME bonds in the last 28 months.