How Bath women turned around the fortunes of finance company
Research suggests women are still struggling to reach the boardroom but the growing success of a Bath finance company is showing the female of the species should not be under-estimated.
A little over two years ago lease asset finance firm 1pm reported a £400,000 loss before tax. This spring, however, the company reported profit before tax of £436,000 – up 116 per cent on last year's figure of £202,000.
The firm's growing success is being attributed to its finance director Helen Walker, 48, and managing director Maria Hampton, 34.
The female leadership is rare for the finance industry and makes 1pm the only company on the Stock Exchange's AIM market with women in both top jobs.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
AIM is the London Stock Exchange's international market for smaller growing companies.
Ms Walker said: "There aren't as many women in the positions we're in but that might be because they don't want to; they've decided to take another path.
"Equally with men not every man makes it to the top."
The pair say turning around the company's fortunes has helped put them and 1pm on the map.
Ms Walker added: "The company has struggled in the past and it's been hard to get where we are but people within the industry realise that and appreciate that and we've gained a lot of respect for what we've done."
1pm, which stands for one payment monthly, started trading in 2000 based in the sub-prime market.
In 2006 1pm became a public company and in 2007 came out of the sub-prime market and focused on small asset leasing but when the recession hit the firm faced an uncertain future.
Ms Hampton said: "2009 was a bad year – the recession hit us hard and we had a lot of bad debt in one month. We had financiers pull out of the market as well."
In early 2010 the two women took the helm and put in place more vigorous regulations on clients, allowing them to take control of the company's finances.
This tough approach has paid off and 1pm has just celebrated 24 months of consecutive profit.
1pm now lends between £1,000 and £50,000 to small and medium sized enterprises secured against a business asset – an asset is anything that adds value to a company.
Ms Walker said: "We will look at any sector as long as the business is sound and they can demonstrate they have the ability to pay us."