Anne is the Principal Adviser - Small Business at the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and is responsible for Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement. Prior to her current role she was responsible for the legislation to create the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman which commenced operation in March 2015. The Ombudsman has legislated advocacy powers to focus on small business issues. Anne has recently led the Ombudsman Inquiry into banks and small business loans and is currently working on payment times to small business. Anne has 20 years’ experience working with the small business, start-up and supply chain sector in Australia. Prior to this she worked internationally across a range of industries in manufacturing, supply chain process control, research & development and commercialisation in the UK, Europe, USA, NZ, including running her own small business to assist small to medium business productivity across the South Pacific.
This distinguished panel looked at the much-discussed topic of how fair – or unfair – loans to SMEs had been.
Neil Slonim took the line that there needs to be more transparency on brokerage. Currently borrowers are getting put into loans that aren’t in their best interests because brokers re getting offered significant sums by fintechs.
Helen Gordon said that there have been positive steps made towards transparency and disclosure and the industry is making efforts to head towards a more transparent lending contracts.
Astrid Raetze noted that fintech lenders can and should do the right thing by SMEs and was optimistic about the future.
Anna Scott said that small businesses are time poor and often don’t have the lawyers to read through loan agreements.