Novus Initium, the specialist UK corporate and trade finance consultant, is launching a new banking advisory and implementation service aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who find that traditional High Street banks have a relatively low interest in servicing their requirements.


Called Novus Support, the service offers companies a range of services from, for example, simple directions as to how to go about arranging a letter of credit up to a complete review of the funding of the business and a restructuring of its finances.


Mark Runiewicz, managing director, comments: “We have undertaken research amongst some 400 companies with turnover varying between £500,000 and £5mn and almost 70% of them are unhappy with the services that they get from the traditional High Street bank. The most common complaints are: that they can’t speak to bankers when they want to, only when it suits the banker; a lack of understanding of their business; the solutions are product-driven rather than offering bespoke solutions; and generally slow service.”


Runiewicz claims Novus Support is unique in that clients can pay for the advice based upon usage. There are no big up-front fees before a company can access the service, which is available from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm.


The specialist advice will provide companies who are trading internationally with support in the following areas:



    • Access to 50 financial institutions


    • Reduction in banking costs


    • Letter of credit confirmations


    • Letter of credit discounting at favourable rates


    • Advice on letter of credit discrepancies


    • Financing of imports and exports


    • Post-shipment finance


    • Pre-shipment finance


  • Credit insurance


“Novus specialises in assisting businesses that wish to arrange export finance with a unique knowledge of the banking and trading regulations throughout the world,” adds Runiewicz. “It is estimated that there are in the region of 80,000 companies in the UK that export their products and services. However, the company can also arrange domestic finance.”


The initial cost of the service is £95 plus VAT which covers the cost of registration as a ‘member” and 60 minutes of telephone support. When the business has used all its minutes, it simply calls Novus to “top up “the minutes.


Members can renew at £95 for one hour or take a package:


Gold                                                                 £1,500 plus VAT for 24 hours


Silver                                                                £1,000 plus VAT for 12 hours


Bronze                                                             £575 plus VAT for six hours


If members need further advice on a consultancy basis, this will be costed separately through Novus Initium.


Runiewicz adds: “In most cases small businesses deal with the well-known banks and they may be relatively inexperienced in what level of service to expect; small businesses do not tend to attract too much commitment from the ‘traditional’ banks.


“By comparison Novus are happy provide basic advice to companies guiding them through their dealings or to work alongside them to ensure that they take the right decisions and get the best possible solution for their business. The client just has to decide what level of input they require.


“If asked why a company would want to use Novus Support there are a multitude of reasons. For example, all advice is impartial; it is given to benefit the client not Novus; it offers proven global banking expertise; a real understanding of the issues facing the client; a practical working knowledge of the workings of the international banking systems; access to a wide range of financial institutions bespoke solutions for each business; speed of operation and a competitive cost structure.


“In summary, through Novus Support companies are able to access a banking service specifically designed for them.”