We are a Veterans business who want to improve the access and fairness to business insurance and other financial services.
The Services Family Limited (TSFL), was founded in response to the disadvantages suffered when accessing financial products by members of the Services (the Armed Forces, Veterans and the Blue light services and all of their families). These are due to both their career paths and a ‘non-standard lifestyle’ which give rise to ‘wonky’ or ‘thin’ credit histories. This can mean that many members of our Family do not match the financial assessment criteria of many financial institutions and this can extend to our young-adult children.
As veterans ourselves, we experienced and understood these issues but soon realised that other ‘niche’ groups also suffer similar disadvantages, namely; business start-ups, self-employed trades people, junior doctors, nurses, students, returning overseas workers, immigrants and others.
Really, ‘people like us’ with careers moving around the country or the globe have odd financial histories and this gives rise to real issues for us and our families.
High Street financial institutions often fail to assess adequately the risk profile of these customers (to the customers’ disadvantage); leading to either over-charging or a refusal to offer ‘best’ or automated products.
At the root of this unfairness is a predominantly backward-looking approach to credit/risk scoring– it often goes like this ‘have you had a loan and paid it off?’ No? then you can’t have a loan!’.
It can take several years before financial disadvantages fall away and a new personal applicant or a start-up business can ‘compete equally’ with more ‘mature’ people or businesses.
TSFL’s approach is different. Using intelligence and data gathering techniques to exploit common data (like social media or photographs) helps frame the customer’s current situation and then helps assesses their future risk.
So, our objective is to address the anomaly of some highly dedicated and trustworthy individuals being deprived of financial products, services and credit by reason of a lack of a track record or from poor analysis of the future risks they face.
Why Small Businesses?
As we started as a small business we thought we’d address that area first.
The current financial support paths disadvantage new entrants in what is one of the key sectors of our economy and the one where there is the greatest potential for growth. The SME sector suffers from rigid lending practices and reactive case management and 50% of SMEs fail or get wound-up in the first 3-5yrs. The direct costs of this “death rate” are huge but the knock-on effects on the financial well-being of those sole-traders, entrepreneurs and employees are greater.
Given that nearly 600,000 new small business owners started in 2018 and there are 5.2m businesses who have under 10 employees with over 250,000 run by veterans, TSFL ‘is on a mission’ to support our economy’s micro-businesses through better access to fair and affordable business and events insurance, support tools and, in the future, finance and funding.
We know that about 30% of military leavers go into the ‘skilled trades’ as electricians or plumbers etc. This is a career ‘sweet spot’ as there is about a 40% skills shortage in skilled trades and it’s a good place to start a business and you’ll know that skilled ‘construction’ workers are not badly paid!