In this Director Briefing, Rod Berryman from Flexible Capital discusses:
- Innovative finance solutions for business owners
- Current climate of the Australian finance industry and how Flexible Capital capitalises on market trends
- Flexible Capital’s strategic plans moving forward, and where they see the industry going
We spoke to Rod Berryman, co-founder and partner at Flexible Capital about the bespoke finance solutions that he provides to a variety of businesses and individuals. We also delve into the nature of the finance industry due to the banking royal commission, how lenders and businesses can succeed in the current financial climate, and Flexible Capital’s plans moving forward.
Eden Exchange: Thanks for speaking with us Rod. Firstly, what was your your professional background and experience before founding Flexible Capital?
Rod Berryman:Hello, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. I completed my graduate diploma of applied finance and investment at around the same time as the global financial crisis hit, so the only real opportunities for were in business development. I spent the best part of 10 years working in various professional service businesses as a business development manager until I secured a role in finance with a focus on cars and leasing. This lead to me eventually finding my passion assisting business to come up with effective finance strategies to assist their growth.
Eden Exchange: What does Flexible Capital do? What is your vision for the company?
Rod Berryman: Flexible Capital, as the name implies, specialises in offering bespoke & tailored finance solutions designed to assist businesses secure the resources they need in order to both better manage their working capital position and to provide the funds to facilitate growth. We believe finance is an enabler and that all business regardless of size should have options that accommodate this.
From a vision point of view, myself along with my fellow director John Giovannetti are looking to position Flexible Capital as being the primary go-to place to learn and access finance solutions. We have partnered with a number of specialists across the finance landscape to ensure we have a solution for any situation we work with.
Eden Exchange: How does Flexible Capital set itself apart from its competitors in the lending market?
Rod Berryman: We take pride in the fact that everything we do ultimately has the client and their desired outcomes in mind. We believe that a one-size-fits-all approach actually hinders businesses rather than helping them. Bearing this in mind, we have formed strategic partnerships with specialist lenders and advisors to be able to provide the best outcomes that reflect our core offerings.
Eden Exchange: What is the company’s primary focus? Small businesses, larger corporations etc.
Rod Berryman: Given the strategic partnerships we have in place we can accommodate both smaller businesses and larger corporations, although a number of the solutions are better suited to larger corporations given the structure of the facilities. Each level of business will have its own pain points that are unique to the size of business. Therefore our solutions can be tailored for a business regardless of size.
Eden Exchange: What stage of development is the company currently in? What has the market response been so far?
Rod Berryman: Flexible Capital itself is the rebirthing and rebranding of a couple of existing finance businesses. The new company comes with a depth and breadth of experience and we felt that incorporating all of this knowledge under the one umbrella of Flexible Capital really highlights what we do: provide flexible capital and finance solutions.
The market response so far has been one of overwhelming acceptance, not only of what we offer but also of the fact that we know where our expertise lies and how we utilise that through our partnerships to provide a complete solution.
Eden Exchange: Has the banking royal commission had any effect on the company? How do you capitalise on changes to the market?
Rod Berryman: It has had a huge impact on funding options and availability, with the biggest changes occurring in the consumer lending space. This has particularly affected small businesses’ ability to access the resources that they need to not only grow, but to manage their business on a day to day basis. Banks and lenders’ appetite for risk, as well as what they’ll look for in a business lending perspective has changed, so we’ve also seen an exit from the major banks from a number of sectors that they traditionally supported. Changes to and uncertainties over commission structures and a capping of the margins that can be charged are also presenting challenges for industry participants and making it harder for the consumer.
The real opportunities in the current market are for the smaller lenders and FinTechs (financial technology companies) to step in and fill the void left by the larger lenders. In addition, these smaller lenders are developing their own niche products to fill the void left behind and to bridge the gaps between traditional finance products.
Eden Exchange: Where do you foresee the greatest demand?
Rod Berryman: In the current economic climate the use of facilities such as single invoice factoring and supply chain finance are being used in combination to provide an immediate cash injection. However, due to the beauty of supply chain finance, a business can settle a supplier invoice early and in a lot of cases they can secure discounts, as well as provide some breathing space by offering extended payment terms. The use of asset finance from a specialist lender rather than a bank is also something we’re seeing more of. The ability to secure the loan against the asset rather than real estate is attractive for business people attempting to manage their personal exposure.
Eden Exchange: What’s the best thing about your job? What drives you to do what you do?
Rod Berryman: I love what I do, and that’s what drives me. I was always taught “seek first to understand, before being understood” meaning we seek to identify any pain points in the finance function before suggesting anything. Rather than have a solution looking for a problem we identify a problem then work toward a solution. Being able to assist a business owner to better match cash flows, finance a new piece of equipment, buy a property or just relieve some financial stress is an extremely rewarding experience and drives us to do what we do.
Eden Exchange: What strengths have your experienced group of founders and dedicated support team brought to the company? What opportunities does this create?
Rod Berryman: We are fortunate enough to have a great team whose respective strengths and weaknesses compliment one another. Experience in different industries and a diversity of both employment and personal experiences means we have a broad understanding of challenges that both individual business and sectors face, and has also allowed us to create a large network of industry experts. This understanding and experience provides us with the ability to help a client both identify where there is a problem and to find an appropriate solution, whether it’s direct through Flexible Capital or via our network of industry experts.
Eden Exchange: Who are the main clients of Flexible Capital? Has this client segmentation changed over recent years and where do you expect this to trend over the next few years?
Rod Berryman: Manufacturing, logistics and industries that have long sales cycles are our main clients. We also provide a number of groups in the employment industry with more varying solutions, due to the need for this industry to better match areas such as cash flows.
Eden Exchange: Finally, is there anything you wish to say to anyone interested in knowing more about their finance options with Flexible Capital?
Rod Berryman: Absolutely. For anyone wanting to have a confidential chat about finance options, whether immediately or at some future point, for business use or personal use, there are various ways of reaching us. You can put through an enquiry on the EdenExchange website or come over to our website www.flexiblecapital.com.au.
Eden Exchange: Thank you for your time Rod, it has been a pleasure
Rod Berryman: I thank you for the opportunity.
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