Barclays specialist claims it has never been so easy to borrow money

Conditions are favourable for brokers looking to borrow from banks, since there is a surplus of capital at cheap rates, according to a senior banker.

Speaking at the Insurance Times Capital Conference, Des Potter, corporate director for Barclays, an insurance sector specialist, said: "The lending market is very soft, I have never known conditions like it. It has never been so easy to borrow money."

He added that Barclays had even walked away from some deals where the returns "did not stack up".

Potter stated that the "past six months had seen a record number of requests for finances from brokers" and that they were benefiting from competitive deals, with "the prices of loans dropping".

He added that consolidation was ongoing and lenders were favourable to brokers bringing mergers and acquisitions to the table. He explained these would be judged on a number of key areas such as projected revenue, relationships with insurers, the integration plan, investment in IT and the quality and depth of leadership.

But he warned brokers to select stable lenders. "We all know the insurance industry is cyclical and volatile and there are some fair-weather friends about."

What are investors looking for?

Sir Laurie Magnus of Lexicon Partners and Des Potter of Barclays revealed the deal-making factors sought by investors.

  • Performance over time
  • Return on investment
  • Strategy
  • Brand awareness
  • Good relationship with regulators
  • Quality IT
  • Evidence of sound budgeting
  • Effective risk management
  • Solid business processes
  • Controls in place and management awareness
  • Positive corporate governance
  • Staff loyalty
  • Personal qualities, such as passion, attention to
    detail and communication.