Coffee with … Graham Toy, CEO, NACFB

Trade associations are a crucial part of every industry, providing a platform for its members to make their voice heard. The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, better known as the NACFB, is one such association. Eva Schueckel, Spotcap’s PR & Communications Manager, sat down with Graham Toy, chief executive of the NACFB, to talk about the state of the industry.

Eva Schueckel: You have worked in the industry for about 40 years and joined the NACFB as their CEO nine months ago. Speaking to commercial finance brokers on a daily basis—what is one of the important issues where you can really help your Members?

Graham Toy: Four letters – GDPR! We engage a lot with our Members, as well as the lenders we work with, about the General Data Protection Regulation. The EU law, which comes into force in May this year, will restrict the use of data to protect personal information of individuals and businesses. So far, many brokers have a sporadic understanding and there is a need to provide more education to help them prepare. We do this by providing workshops, information days or written guidance, for example.

Eva Schueckel: And apart from GDPR, what else is topical and might signpost a material change in the sector?

Graham Toy: The next interesting piece will be the Financial Ombudsman consultation. At the moment, only consumers and micro-enterprises can refer disputes to the Ombudsman. But in January this year, the Financial Conduct Authority launched a consultation on proposed new rules to allow more small businesses to lodge complaints against banks and other financial services firms. We are watching the consultation closely and expect the policy statement with the final rules later this summer.

Eva Schueckel: You travel up and down the country and try to speak to as many Members and lenders as possible. What is the current overall sentiment in the industry, in particular when it comes to alternative finance?

Graham Toy: The general feedback at the moment is that brokers and lenders are having a reasonably good time. They are a great touchstone as to how life out there is going. Conversations are very upbeat on both sides of the fence which is great news and very encouraging for the future. With regards alternative finance, it is incredible to see the number of new players coming to the market. The constant change and growth of the industry is fascinating and I don’t see that trend changing in the near future.