Aldermore Invoice Finance Relationship Manager, Peter Birch, on the joys of his job, how clients can get the most out of Invoice Finance and his love of Star Wars and Barbados.
What did you do before joining Aldermore?
Peter Birch (PB): “I trained to be a PE teacher, at Chelsea Sports Science College in Eastbourne. It wasn’t for me and instead I went to work for American Express in Brighton, my hometown. I sort of fell into Invoice Finance at Amex, really, after a position became available. 15 years later, having fallen in love with the Invoice Finance industry, I joined Aldermore. I joined in June 2010, so it’s my 10-year anniversary this year.”
Why did you want to join Aldermore?
PB: “I was sold on the vision of a bank that would do things differently, remain close to its clients and – importantly – empower its employees to think for themselves. Aldermore allows you to use your experience to create solutions, which is extremely rewarding when they’re used to help clients. The bank is still doing this, which is just one reason why I am still here.”
What do you like most about your job?
PB: “Nurturing client relationships is the best part of my job. It starts from the first meeting. You have to judge the right amount of contact. Some clients are happy to see you when needed, while others want to see you much more. Striking the right balance is key when managing many client relationships.”
Anything else you enjoy about your role?
PB: “The autonomy I have and the freedom to arrange my work diary. I can easily balance the needs of clients, the bank, myself and my family. I also really enjoy working with new businesses all the time, learning about different sectors, the challenges clients face and decisions they make. I’m fairly self-sufficient, but I appreciate the support I get from experienced colleagues when I need it.”
How does your working day start?
PB: “I normally review my client portfolio, to check that we have funding requirements for the day prepared and covered. The rest of the day can be field-based, whether visiting an established client or welcoming a new one on board. Often I review clients’ existing facilities, so they can better plan for the future.”
What other key challenges do you face in your role?
PB: “Taking the time to get to know each client and fully understanding their business is critical. Anticipating their needs is a key challenge. Their businesses are often fast evolving, so, constant analysis is required. My mantra is ‘expect the unexpected’, which prepares me for anything that might arise when meeting a client.”
How can clients get the most use out of a Relationship Manager?
PB: “Where practical, think about your future financial needs. Relationship Managers find better solutions and plan around your business, so you get increased funding or more suitable products at the right time.”
How can they get the most out of Aldermore Invoice Finance?
PB: “E3 is a useful platform that can be accessed ‘on-the-go’ in various ways. It’s real-time and same-day funds are available, so clients should have access to E3 and their facility in whatever form is most convenient, whether that’s via your smartphone, tablet or PC. You should also have your Relationship Manager’s direct phone number. Our teams really care and want to provide a fantastic service, so pick up the phone and call us. We like to say ‘yes’ where possible.”
Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing at weekends?
PB: “I have a young family – two boys, aged seven and two. They keep me very busy, so I usually look forward to returning to work Monday mornings!”
What’s your favourite film?
PB: “I’ve loved the Star Wars saga since I was young, so its more recent resurgence has captivated me again. The great thing is being able to share that now with my son, Harrison, who is seven and can also appreciate it. At two, Oliver, my other son, is still a bit young yet.”
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
PB: “I’m lucky to have been to many places around the world, but Barbados has been my favourite to date. I love it there.”
Peter Birch, Relationship Manager, Aldermore.