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13 July 2012

£1m finance boost by The North West Fund for Development Capital for Bolton’s UK Finance Online

Press Release 13th July 2012

The North West Fund for Development Capital (NWFDC), which is managed byYFM Equity Partners, has invested £1m of mezzanine finance into UK Finance Online Limited (UKFOL), which trades as Money Health Check, a business that handles claims from the mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance Policies (PPI). This is the sixth investment that YFM Equity Partners has made from The North West Fund for Development Capital and its first in Bolton.

UK Finance Online Limited was set-up in 2002 and acquired in 2007 by experienced entrepreneur, qualified accountant and licensed insolvency practitioner Ges Ratcliffe and his business partner James Dean. Ges, managing director of UKFOL and James, Chief Operations Officer have considerable experience of the financial services industry having built two previous businesses together. UKFOL is headquartered in Bolton and is authorised by the Ministry of Justice to handle PPI claims on behalf of individuals.

The high streets banks have to date set aside £5.5bn to compensate those that were mis-sold PPI policies. UKFOL buys pre-qualified leads which it then processes as a formal claim and negotiates with the PPI provider to obtain a full refund and associated compensation on behalf of the consumer. It operates on a national basis and only takes fees if the claim is successful. To date UKFOL has successfully claimed over £19m on behalf of its customers.

The North West Fund for Development Capital is a sub-fund of the £185m North West Fund that is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Ges Ratcliffe, Managing Director, UKFOL says: "This £1m investment from the North West Fund for Development Capital will enable us to accelerate the growth of our business and employ additional staff to handle quickly and professionally the large number of claims for PPI. We look forward to working with Deborah, Sarah and the YFM Equity Partners team as they help us with our ambitious growth plans."

Deborah Heyes, Investment Director and Sarah Riley, Investment Manager at YFM Equity Partners worked on this mezzanine finance deal from the NWFDC.

Commenting, Deborah Heyes says: "Ges and James lead a strong team at UKFOL and are well experienced in growing financial services businesses. We are very impressed with their robust systems and strong customer service ethics. We look forward to helping them grow UKFOL into a leading player in the claims management market". 

Deborah adds: "For thirty years YFM Equity Partners has worked hard to transform fast growing businesses by offering a variety of funding solutions. We used our Mezz product to back UKFOL, which allows repayments up to seven years and is a good alternative to typical bank lending. We have seen a sharp increase in interest for Mezz finance from local entrepreneurs looking for a long-term source of funding without having to give up a significant shareholding in their business."

The North West Fund for Development Capital, managed by YFM Equity Partners invests between £100k and £2m in businesses across all stages of development. Other businesses looking for growth investment or an investment partner can find out more at www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk

Gary Houghton, Baker Tilly comments: "We are delighted to have worked with UK Finance Online on this transaction. The funding will allow this first class management team to significantly accelerate its growth strategy. It is good to see the North West Fund actively supporting ambitious growth companies."

YFM Equity Partners were advised on financial due diligence by Jason Hiley at PKF and on legal matters by Andrew O'Mahoney at Brabners Chaffe Street. Gary Houghton, James Wild and Nick Wyatt at Baker Tilly advised the management of UKFOL on corporate finance and James Sheridan and Nicky Davies at Turner Parkinson provided legal advice.

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