There can be no doubt that increased access to debt finance and supporting services is required. There are now some 5.5mn SMEs in the UK (representing phenomenal growth in recent years).
These SMEs have a turnover of £1.9tn, covering 51 of all private sector turnover in the UK. We are seeing a growing market with many diverse and complex needs; a market that needs better products, more tailored to financial services.
A tangible example of regulatory action is the recent formation of the Banking Competition Remedies Ltd, an independent body which will administer access to £775 mn of funding for those that can demonstrate they will address SME needs. The intent is clear: to increase access to capital and supporting services to the SME lending market and support the lifeblood of the economy.
At EY, we believe this is a great opportunity for the market — not only those bidding for funding but everyone involved — to re-examine and re-imagine their propositions, putting the needs of SMEs first.