James Rainbird’s Pink Pig Loans is the latest firm that Y3S has taken a stake in. Loans Insider finds out the reasons why.
Y3S Group’s business investments continue apace. Following its taking of a 50% stake in Chaseblue Loans at the end of 2014, and last year’s investment in B2B Financial, the Cardiff- based finance group has just done a deal with Pink Pig Loans, also based in South Wales. Pink Pig Loans becomes an associated business to Y3S Group which has acquired 50% of the shares of Pink Pig Loans in return for a significant investment, not just in terms of the capital sum that was paid, but for the work that is now going into developing the business.
As a shareholder, Y3S will offer its services to help the business grow. Pink Pig Loans, which was set up and is run by managing director James Rainbird, now has the power of a much larger organisation to tap into at will. Y3S’s philosophy is to look for small companies that have plateaued in their evolution, and, following investment, to employ the necessary skills, such as marketing, training and recruitment, in order to remove the barriers to growth and allow the business to reach its full potential.
Pink Pig Loans is 10 years old, being incorporated just before the credit crunch. The business not only survived the downturn but remained profitable throughout the financial crisis and beyond, which Matt Cottle, director at Y3S Group, says is testament to Rainbird’s leadership.
“It’s geographically close to Y3S and we do the same thing – provide brokering services to mortgage brokers and IFAs,” says Cottle. “Acquiring a stake in the company strengthens Y3S’s overall market position.”
“We’ve all known each other a long time, but over the last three years or so we have been doing more stuff together in business and as mates,” adds Rainbird. “We’ve talked about a potential investment several times and decided to make it happen. The timing was right for both companies whereas before, it perhaps wasn’t quite there yet.”
As long as a broker is FCA registered with the correct permissions, they can transact business through Pink Pig Loans, just like all other Y3S companies: “There is no difference between a broker that deals with Y3S Loans, Chaseblue Loans and Pink Pig Loans,” explains Cottle. “We all chase the same market,” says Rainbird. “Because the market is so big, there is plenty to go around and we rarely ‘bump’ into each other from an introducing broker perspective.
A key benefit for Pink Pig Loans is the sharing of resources: compliance, accounting, marketing, mentoring, training, recruitment, courier services, to name but a few. Centralising these resources allows the firms to share costs and services, and employ strict, methodical corporate governance across the group. For example, Pink Pig now has full use of Y3S’s fleet of six couriers so that they can get documents hand-delivered to a client anywhere in the UK and returned within 72 hours. Pink Pig Loans staff are also using Y3S trainers and training facilities to get all of their staff through the CeMAP qualification without disturbing their normal office routine; this would have been expensive and time- consuming for them otherwise.
Y3S’s group accounts department has also now taken over their accounting and banking facilities, freeing up time for Rainbird and PPL’s office manager to do other tasks.
“We have just appointed our brand experts Bluegg Creative to analyse the Pink Pig Loans brand and its impact upon brokers and develop its appeal and a strong new message over the coming months,” adds Cottle. Pink Pig Loans currently writes around £1.5m a month in second charge loans, taking Y3S Group’s output to £12.5m a month, or around 17% of all seconds written in the UK.
“Despite Pink Pig Loans’s figures being relatively small, we are in a great position to grow quickly. Doubling our output over the next 12 months will not be a huge task,” says Rainbird. “Beyond that we would expect to double its size again within another two years.”
“When we invested in Chaseblue Loans in December 2014, it was the same size [as Pink Pig Loans] in terms of staff and turnover/profit,” recalls Cottle. “Chaseblue has grown by 250% and has grown its staff from eight people to 23. It has just signed terms on a new office capable of holding 60 employees. That is the difference that Y3S Group brings to an organisation.”
So with Y3S holding 50% stakes in three businesses now, does Cottle anticipate making more such investments in 2017?
“We get offered new investment opportunities fairly regularly, but for us it’s about the person or people we are investing in,” he says. “It has to be right to make it happen; that may happen again in two months or in two years. You just never know. We are not planning on investing in anyone and everything. We have to be able to work with the people at the helm, and we want to be able to add value so that our investment is not stagnant.”
With the secured loan market in 2017 widely predicted to eclipse the levels achieved last year, Y3S’s investment in Pink Pig Loans looks timely and should prove to be a win-win for both parties. Cardiff’s take-over of the market continues…