The UK Government established the British Business Bank (“the Bank”) in November 2014 as a long-term institution charged with ensuring the finance markets in the UK serve the needs of UK SMEs and mid-sized businesses. It has a single shareholder, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”).
The mission of the Bank is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity across the UK by improving access to finance for small businesses, enabling them to succeed in the transition to a net zero economy, change the structure of the finance markets for smaller businesses and mid-caps so these markets work more effectively and dynamically.
The Bank is charged with 7 objectives:
- Increase the supply of finance available to smaller businesses where markets do not work well.
- Help create a more diverse market for smaller business finance with greater choice of options and providers.
- Identify and help reduce regional imbalances in access to finance in smaller businesses across the UK.
- Encourage and enable SMEs to seek the finance best suited to their needs.
- Be the centre of expertise on smaller business finance in the UK, providing advice and delivering on behalf of Government.
- Pursue the Bank’s other objectives while managing taxpayer’s money efficiently within a robust risk management framework.
- Support the UK’s transition to a net-zero economy.
The Bank is a government-owned economic development bank and is not a bank in a conventional sense. It typically does not finance businesses directly, but instead provides funds and guarantees to private sector partners, enabling them to finance a greater number of smaller businesses (either through debt or equity). It uses economic evidence to design programmes that address market failures affecting smaller businesses across the economy. It also works to improve smaller businesses’ awareness of the finance options available to them. The Bank supports SMEs throughout their full life cycle from start-up to pre-IPO.
The stock of finance supported through the Bank’s core finance programmes was £8.506bn at the end of March 2021. Covid-19 emergency support offered £80.4bn of finance to almost 1.7m businesses. This emergency support, which is not included under the Bank’s core programmes, was evenly distributed across the Nations and regions of the UK.
The Bank’s core programmes are designed to bring benefits to businesses that are start-ups, businesses with high growth potential that are looking to scale up, and those looking to stay ahead in their market. The Bank’s programmes are having a major impact, they have already supported the development of 4 UK Unicorns and the Start Up Loan company has lent over £500m supporting more than 70,000 new companies. Since the Chancellor announced at Budget 2017 the establishment of a £2.5bn subsidiary, British Patient Capital, the Bank has become one of the biggest investors in venture capital within the UK.
The Bank’s Shareholder Relationship Framework establishes that the Bank has operational independence and at arm’s length from Government, under the governance of a Board of Directors drawn from senior, experienced private sector bankers, investors and SME practitioners with one shareholder representative.
The Board is chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin and meets sufficiently frequently to fully meet its responsibilities and usually not less than 7 times per year.
The Bank has an organisational model similar to development bank peers and commercial institutions. In addition to the main operating company, the British Business Bank plc, it has two commercial subsidiaries, British Business Investments Ltd and British Patient Capital Ltd.
The main activities of the operating companies are as follows:
- British Business Bank plc
- British Patient Capital (including venture growth, growth and co-investment funds)
- British Business Investments (including debt funds, non-bank platforms, challenger banks, asset finance, regional angels and a fund of fund programme investing in venture)
- Venture Capital Solutions (Enterprise Capital Funds and Regional Investment programmes)
- Guarantee and Wholesale Solutions (Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme, Enable Guarantees – providing risk transfer – and Enable Funding – providing warehousing and securitisation services to asset finance companies
- Start Up Loans (lending of up to £25k to individuals)
- The Bank delivers the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Future Fund.
Currently, the Bank employs circa 500 people based within its two offices in Sheffield and London.
More information is available at the website: www.british-business-bank.co.uk
As a Non-Executive Director of the Bank, the successful candidate will be expected to play an active and integral part in the long-term success and the strategy of the Bank, given the collective responsibility of the Board. As a fully functioning financial services entity, the role holder should be able to contribute to matters ranging, for example, from the challenges facing SMEs with respect to finance, the management of a wide variety of risks and the technological challenges facing today’s financial services industry.
The Bank is seeking an outstanding individual with the highest levels of integrity and independence. Board members promote the highest standards of corporate governance with the personal credibility and presence to engage, as needed, with Ministers and senior Government and business stakeholders. This is a collaborative Board with a constructive approach and a strong belief in the Bank’s mission.
Matters reserved for the Board include the strategic direction of the business; significant investments; group policies; terms of reference of all committees; risk appetite; determining appropriate levels of remuneration for the executive directors; remuneration policy and appointments to the Board and its committees including Audit, Remuneration, Risk and Nominations.
Whilst all Board members should possess the appropriate balance of skills, experience and independence to discharge their duties and responsibilities, the Bank, seeks to bring different skills to the Board. An area of interest is the appointment of a Non-Executive Director who brings experience of the governance requirements relating to fraud, financial crime and the operational and controls environments of an organisation such as BBB.
The successful candidate will:
- Contribute to setting, monitoring and challenging the strategic direction of the Bank, by assisting in developing key strategic objectives, overseeing the achievement of those objectives and challenging the on-going appropriateness of those objectives.
- Contribute to open and honest debate at Board meetings and provide constructive challenge to the executive decisions, adding diversity of thought and industry experience to the Board.
- Promote the long-term success of the Bank and ensure the accountability of the Bank, scrutinising the performance of management in meeting agreed goals and objectives and monitoring the reporting of performance.
- Uphold high standards of integrity and probity and support the Chairman and executive directors by seeking to instil the appropriate culture, values and behaviours in the boardroom and beyond.
- Commit sufficient time and resource to fulfil all functional responsibilities and continually develop personal capabilities to do so.
It is important that the new appointee both understands and is aligned to the mission of the Bank appreciating the legal and regulatory parameters within which it operates. Whilst the Bank has operational independence, government ownership brings particular responsibilities both in terms of managing the relationship with the government as a stakeholder, but also in the governance aspects of utilising taxpayers’ money. Candidates will need to navigate these issues being comfortable and confident in developing and managing relationships with key stakeholders.
The right candidates are likely to have the following attributes:
- A good understanding of how financial markets work.
- Significant experience and relevance in the areas of fraud, financial crime and the controls environment of a significant financial services organisation.
- Managing relationships at Board level with some Board and/or NED experience.
- Experience in a digitally enabled business.
- Have the intellect and breadth of vision that will enable him/her to fully contribute to strategic and high-level operational discussions.
- Strong analytical and interpersonal skills.
- Credibility and communication skills to operate confidently and effectively both internally and externally.
- Be prepared to be appropriately challenging to the executive and able to scrutinise performance, whilst also providing appropriate support.
- Be able to work effectively as part of a team in a low ego environment.
- Flexibility, a sense of humour and good interpersonal skills are also important.
- Apply common sense, pragmatism and good business judgement to key issues.
- Be an enthusiastic, inquisitive and robust individual, committed to pursuing and exploring all issues relevant to the business and governance of the firm.
- Have the time to carry out this role effectively and the interest in BBB to want to add real value to the Board and the business.
- In addition to the essential characteristics above, knowledge and experience in developing environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies within a business is highly desirable.
The Board values diversity in all forms and continually seeks to strengthen its already diverse Board composition. The Board would welcome the addition of further gender and ethnic diversity to its number.
At the Bank, we value a diverse workforce and inclusive culture where all employees feel included, empowered and able to bring their full selves to work. Employing people from different backgrounds and with unique and different experiences and perspectives helps us develop better ideas and to be a stronger and more successful business. It also supports and strengthens the Bank’s culture and reinforces the company as a great place to work. Our goal is to be a company which is open and accessible, recruiting unique, diverse and talented people.
The Bank’s diversity and inclusion efforts focus on:
- Leading and managing inclusively
- Creating opportunities that enable development and learning
- Creating a work environment where all employees feel involved and valued
We guarantee to interview all disabled applicants, provided they meet the criteria of the post, and confirm on their application, their eligibility for the guaranteed interview scheme.
Please click here for further information.