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Bold Economic Vision outlined at Conister Bank sponsored Three Ministers Event

The Isle of Man’s leading political figures have delivered an upbeat economic message to the Island’s business community at the Conister Bank sponsored Three Ministers Event 2023 – despite warnings that this year is likely to be a tough one.

Organised annually by the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, the Comis Hotel- hosted breakfast event saw presentations from IOM Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan; Treasury Minister, Dr Alex Allinson and Enterprise Minister, Lawrie Hooper.

Conister Bank to sponsor 2023 Three Ministers Event

Conister Bank are delighted to announce the sponsorship of the prestigious 2023 Three Ministers Event.

This key annual business gathering, organised by the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, will enable the Island’s corporate community to hear directly from Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan; Treasury Minister, Dr Alex Allinson; and Enterprise Minister, Lawrie Hooper.

It is being staged at the Comis Hotel and Golf Resort on Friday January 20th from 8.30am – 10.30am.

Each Minister will discuss the pressing topics affecting the Island at the current time, outlining their vision and objectives for the year ahead. Following the presentations, delegates will be given the opportunity to take part in a full Q&A session.

2023 – A time to invest in alternative lending

Pandemics, war, the impact of Brexit and an economic recession now in full swing - on the face of it, not the ideal backdrop for a mega 2023!

But, according to one of the Island’s leading bankers, even though companies and consumers alike face undoubted headwinds this winter and probably beyond, with careful stewardship, this it could still be a time of fresh opportunities – especially for small and medium sized businesses.

Douglas Grant, Managing Director of Conister Bank, said that his priority was to ensure both the bank and its customers stayed in good shape during the next 12 months and onwards.

“Navigating the current economic downturn, the cost-of-living crisis and inflationary pressures are this year’s major challenges for SMEs,” he said.

“Many people have been incredibly disadvantaged by the cost of fuel and rising prices generally. And wage inflation has not kept up with price inflation. This impacts every family, but it also impacts every business, too. They are just as prone to the increases in inflation as everyone else,” Douglas commented, adding that the bank had already taken action to help vulnerable customers.

“It’s tough for businesses to become more strategic and resilient when they are being hit by generational economic problems – but it can be done,” he said. “Nurturing good talent, embracing technology, focussing on resilient sectors that you understand along with optimising your working capital, these are all sensible housekeeping rules to bear in mind,” Douglas advised.

Catherine Jack appointed Group Talent Acquisition Lead

Manx Financial Group (MFG) have announced the appointment of Catherine Jack as Group Talent Acquisition Lead.

Catherine will spearhead recruitment across all areas of the Group in making strategic hiring decisions relating to operations, audit, risk, sales and IT.

Commenting on the appointment, Group CEO Douglas Grant, said: “The expansion of our existing HR operation is a clear indication of our intention to pursue a high-quality recruitment programme, at a time of exciting growth. Catherine is a hugely experienced recruiter, with specific and invaluable knowledge of the financial services industry, which includes close involvement with the Manx Financial Group since 2019. Her strong industry connections, unrivalled knowledge and dedication will be hugely influential during such a significant phase of our development.”

Conister Bank employs - Star of the North!

There’s a fresh face in the Conister sales team! We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Shaun Kelly as our new Sales Manager.

Working alongside Tom Charmer, Lee Gale, and Andrew Moody, Shaun will have specific responsibility for the North of the Island, an area he knows like the back of his hand.

Welcoming him into the fold, Head of Sales Andy Bass said Shaun will be a great asset to the sales team. “I first met Shaun back in September at a sporting event in which we were both participating and, getting to know him, I immediately felt he could play a key role for us at Conister. He’s a great fit for my team and will really complement our existing sales force.”

Net Zero Matrix and the curse of Greenwashing

Net Zero Matrix – the title suggests it could be the title of a new blockbuster sci-fi movie. But it’s nothing of the sort!

It’s connected to the very real-life subject of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and the concept of net zero – a term relating to the desired balance between what’s being spewed out and what’s being removed.

It formed the subject of this month’s Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Group meeting – sponsored by Conister Bank.

The event held on 17th November at the iMuseum, attended by a broad cross-section of the Island’s business community.

The presentation was made by Jon Curtis, CEO of Energy Management Group, Curtis Associates, who specialise in managing data for the entire spectrum of the energy industry. Jon’s been a passionate advocate of replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives, advancing carbon sequestration projects. He is also behind the concept of Net Zero Matrix.

Read the article in full

Conister - the Island Bank that’s taking the UK by storm

Haseeb Qureshi, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Managing Director at Conister Bank, is interviewed by Business 365 and explains how he plans to take the UK by storm as he leads the expansion of Conister Bank into the UK.

His has been something of a meteoric rise since joining the Bank in 2017 as Head of Internal Audit. Within just 18 months, he was promoted to COO and, a year later, he’d become an executive Director on the Conister Board.

Now, this self-confessed man of action and routine is working out how best to divide his time between here and heading up the UK’s new headquarters in the South of the UK.

Throughout his time at Conister, one area has dominated his thoughts – digitalisation - and its role in optimising the customer experience. Fascinated by tech, especially its application in financial services, Haseeb’s been instrumental in driving Conister’s digital agenda, which has transformed the Bank’s IOM service offering in recent years.

The Kerbside Recycling Collection business inspired by Conister

Clara Isaac, founder of recyclecollect.im, joined the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Sustainability Group on the 20th October to share the recycling journey she has been on since the business launched in September 2021.

For a number of years, Clara was our Head of Accounts. Although she left recently to set up her own online payroll company with her husband, she has always had a passion for the environment.     

Clara Isaac, founder of recyclecollect.im, joined the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Sustainability Group on the 20th October to share the recycling journey she has been on since the business launched in September 2021.

In the first 12 months of operation, Recyclecollect has picked up 71,284 kg of recyclable waste and now collects from over 720 houses that have signed up to the kerbside recycling collection service around the island. Working together with local businesses, 2 local parishes, and implementing a modern take on waste collection to involve technology, recyclecollect.im aims to make recycling easier and convenient for everyone on the Isle of Man.

“I was absolutely blown away from where we started,” Clara comments. Currently, the most prolific recyclers appear to be in Santon (8.33% of households) and Arbory (7.45%). Both have benefitted from engagement with the local authority, which offers a discounted rate for collections. “Take up went up by 70% in the first month after working with the parish,” revealed Clara, who said the plan was to get similar arrangements in place elsewhere across the Island.

Read the full article to find out more about Clara's journey and her ambitions for Recyclecollect.

MFG Generates Strongest Group Profits in Over a Decade

Conister Bank's parent company, Manx Financial Group PLC (“MFG”) has announced that the Group’s latest set of interim results are its strongest half-year pre-tax profits for more than a decade.

The financial services group, which includes, amongst other operating subsidiaries, Isle of Man companies, Conister Bank Limited, Edgewater Associates Limited and MFX Limited, reported profits for the six months ended 30 June 2022 of £2.3 million, more than 105% ahead of the same period last year.   Total assets increased by 12% to £317.7 million; deposits increased by 10% to £253.6 million and shareholder equity grew by 17% to £27.0 million. 

Douglas Grant, Managing Director at Conister Bank and MFG’s CEO, said “This is a solid set of results for the Group and lays the foundations for further growth despite the adverse economic climate.  We will continue to seek market share in recession resilient sectors, and we will continue to work with the Government and the British Business Bank to support our customers through these difficult times.” 

Recognising the part played by Conister Bank’s loyal Isle of Man depositors, he added, “providing market leading rates and market leading customer service levels to our community is ingrained in Conister.  The support of our depositors is something we never take for granted.”

MFG takes a majority stake in Payment Assist

Manx Financial Group (MFG), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Manx Ventures Limited, has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in the UK lending provider, Payment Assist Limited (PAL).

Manx Ventures has taken a 50.1% interest in PAL, with the remaining 49.9% share due to be acquired at a later stage, at which point Payment Assist will become fully integrated within MFG.

Established in 2013, initially to help consumers spread their garage repair payments, Payment Assist has grown significantly during the last decade. Beyond its core automotive-based lending, the company is now a leading source of short and longer-term finance solutions across a variety of business sectors, including retail and legal. The company has been regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority since 2014.

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