London-based credit asset manager Channel Capital Advisors has hired Tim Wilkinson as a director for business origination, as the company looks to expand its Amsterdam-based invoice factoring technology platform.

Wilkinson starts with immediate effect and reports to Tony Smedley, who joined Channel as head of SME business development in February, and who is in charge of extending the platform into the UK market.

Channel’s Dutch subsidiary, an invoicing factoring platform called Togather Finance, has been live since 2017 and finances the working capital requirements of SMEs across Europe.

Smedley says his team, which includes credit, marketing and support staff, is working to replicate the platform in the UK and is preparing for a Q1 2021 launch. He is currently recruiting for additional sales and relationship team members.

Once live, the platform will service both UK and Dutch companies’ domestic working capital and cross-border needs.

According to Smedley, the platform will help SMEs better manage their cashflow requirements, performing credit checks on companies that its customers are doing business with – both new and existing – to ensure that they are able to pay for goods and services.

Other functions will include credit insurance for invoices, as well as digital reminders to overdue debtors, which Smedley says will mean its clients “remain top of the list of invoices to be paid”.

The platform will support transactions worth up to £5mn, though Smedley says the “sweet spot” will be for deals valued between £250,000 and £750,000.

Speaking about Wilkinson’s appointment, Smedley says that he will be tasked with using his “established network” of brokers, accountants and previous clients to bring in customers and boost revenue.

Wilkinson served as a sales director at SME-focused alternative finance provider Nucleus Commercial Finance for nearly three years in his most recent role, prior to  joining Channel Capital.

He took on that role in 2017 after five years at asset-based lender Ultimate Finance, and more than 15 years at Bibby Financial Services. During his time there he served in a number of different posts, and was a founding member of the specialist finance team.

Having been founded in 2006 as a credit derivative investment company, Channel Capital turned its attention to trade finance in 2013.

When it launched its first trade finance fund – a sharia-compliant fund – in July 2019, Channel Capital’s chief investment officer Paul Wilson said at the time that it would launch other, and more conventional, funds in the coming months.

A new trade finance fund was initially mooted earlier in the year, and in November, Dutch-firm NN Investment Partners (NNIP) announced it was teaming up with Channel to launch a new trade finance-focused fund.

According to a statement from NNIP, the NN (L) Flex Trade Finance fund invests in a diversified portfolio of short-dated trade finance loans.

NNIP notes that the asset class is “short in tenor which provides natural liquidity and which allows portfolio managers to react quickly to changing circumstances”.

“Strict investment guidelines ensure a highly diversified portfolio in terms of geography, sector and counterparties, without employing leverage,” it adds.

The NN (L) Flex Trade Finance fund has a medium-term target return of US$ Libor plus 3-4% gross with a weighted average credit rating of BBB-/BB+, and an average maturity of less than one year.