Sector Focus

Finance Know the risks of crypto currency

A leading financial adviser is warning people against getting caught up in the latest craze of investing in crypto currency, without fully understanding the risks involved. Mike Jordan (pictured), whose

company, Jordan Financial Management, celebrated 25 years in business last year, said social media ‘buzz’ was driving people to invest in crypto, bypassing the checks and measures provided by seeking professional advice. A crypto currency is a digital

asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that does not exist in physical form, like paper money, and is typically not issued by a central authority. In recent weeks individuals

across the globe have been rushing to buy crypto currencies, spurred on by conversations on social media platforms such as Reddit. Mr Jordan said: “People need to

understand what they are getting involved in when they invest their money. “People get sucked in by these

types of fads because their experience of investing and investment history – how many times have similar fads led to investors losing money – is limited. Sometimes their only knowledge relates to the tales of the huge gains that people are talking about on certain investments.

“But these online conversations

rarely focus on the fact that you can lose money too. Crypto currency is tremendously volatile, often unproven and interest in it short lived. For example, the legal status of crypto currencies varies substantially from country to country.

‘People need to understand what they are getting involved in when they invest their money’

“You cannot understate the value

of gaining professional financial advice when it comes to investment, as opposed to following the crowd on social media. You also have to understand that stocks can go down as well as up, something that’s not always communicated properly in the social media world. “Our long experience shows that

only investing in conventional markets, with a well-constructed and balanced portfolio, can provide financial security for the future. “When you see a ‘buzz’ like there

is at the moment over crypto currency, you do become concerned that people may lose significant amounts of money if they are persuaded to invest in

schemes without understanding the full ramifications.” He said that the current interest

in crypto currency had echoes of the many previous fads that had led to investors losing large amounts of money, citing the ‘Southsea Bubble’ and the ‘dotcom boom’. “These examples are 200 years

apart but were in reality very similar. What tends to happen in

circumstances like this is that people who invest early and then sell fuel the good news story – but then everybody else who piles in later eventually suffers great losses. “It is more sensible to obtain

professional advice, so that a person actually invests their capital to try to obtain steady long-term returns, rather than gambling it on short-term gains.”

The importance of trade credit insurance

Most businesses would not hesitate to protect assets like buildings and equipment – however, the impact of payment default by one or more key customers can be just as devastating. Tim Chance (pictured), executive director of trade credit for Birmingham-based insurance broker Gallagher, highlights why, amid the economic uncertainty sparked by Covid-19, there has never been a better time for businesses to purchase trade credit insurance.

Despite there being light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 is shaping up to be another challenging year for businesses in Birmingham. After months with limited or no

trade due to lockdown restrictions, many businesses may be financially weaker and have less cash to withstand the impact of an unpaid debt on their balance sheet. In research conducted by

Gallagher, 63 per cent of businesses said they were expecting an increase in bad debts, with 28 per cent anticipating that supplier insolvencies could be a major threat. Even if suppliers are receiving

orders, some businesses will not be able to pay for goods upfront and therefore will be looking for either

56 CHAMBERLINK April 2021

new or extended credit terms. Companies may not be immune

to the impact of one of their customers failing to pay them and the ‘domino’ effect that it could have on their ability to pay suppliers. That is why trade credit insurance

has never been more relevant for businesses, providing them with protection in the event that their customers are unable to pay for the products or services they’ve ordered, or pay later than expected. With trade credit insurance,

businesses are provided with reassurance about extending credit to current customers or pursuing new customers that would have otherwise seemed too risky, knowing that invoices will be paid.

Trade credit insurance can also

act as an enabler, allowing businesses to take calculated risks to help them thrive. One key advantage is assisting

growth by supporting trade overseas, as companies who do this face the additional threats of non- payment as a consequence of war, acts of overseas governments, import or export restrictions, and currency transfer restrictions and inconvertibility. As international trade involves

buying and selling across oceans, borders, legal systems and regions with very different business cultures and environments, having trade credit insurance in place provides companies with peace of

mind in unfamiliar countries. Trade credit insurance can also help businesses obtain better finance terms. Banks look favourably on it, or actually require it in order to qualify for an asset-based loan, and borrowing costs are also often lower. Additionally, a trade credit

insurance policy allows businesses to free up capital that would have originally been set aside as bad- debt reserves in case a customer failed to pay – meaning more liquid cash flow is available to invest in other business initiatives, such as new products.

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