Dermot has over 30 years of experience in financial services and growth capital as an adviser, investor and business owner. Born and educated in Ireland where his father was a bank manager, he trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London, working with clients such as Barclays Bank and UBS. This led to a career in financial services, including working for banks such as HSBC and NatWest in senior positions and then finally as a business owner, across Europe and further afield, handling over $20 billion of transactions for businesses of all sizes and across all main industries. This created a passion for working on capital raising and shareholder solutions for small-medium sized businesses, often in innovative ways — being able to make a real difference was a strong driver. In 2001, Dermot co-founded his own business in London, Acanthus, which over a 10 year period became a market leader in raising institutional private equity funds focused on small-medium sized businesses, typically raising about $1 billion per annum. He was also closely involved at the formative stages of two other successful financial services businesses: Magex which went on to become the payments platform for Zopa and LendingClub and NewDay which grew to become one of the largest and most innovative issuers of credit cards in the UK. Over the years, he was always struck by the lack of funding sources available for growing businesses, especially those with high quality customers and long payment delays - like his own! Along the way, he became involved as an investor on a marketplace lending platform providing confidential invoice discounting in the UK. This prompted some creative ideas on how to apply this in Australia. Dermot moved to Australia in 2011 with his Australian wife and children and started becoming involved in helping local businesses.
Dermot Crean opened discussion by saying that bank employees who understand how credit decision systems work are getting fewer in number.
Hornery said that banks exaggerate how much they lend to SMEs. The official figure is that 9 out of 10 SMEs that apply get their loans approved by the banks, but this is misleading as many never make it to the application process.
Tam pointed out that the market is highly varied and that there is no definition of SMEs. They’re all very different. She added that merchant cash advance are popular as they provide flexibility.
6th February 2018 | Dermot Crean