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John Spellman is appointed as Conister Bank's new Chairman

We need to be flexible, says Conister Bank’s new chairman.

Flexibility is key in terms of dealing with uncertain times.

That’s the message from the new chairman of Conister Bank, John Spellman.

Mr Spellman, who has been a director at Conister for two years, succeeds David Gibson, who has retired as chairman of the bank and director of its parent the Manx Financial Group.
During the pandemic Conister, as an independent bank headquartered in the Isle of Man, had the flexibility to tailor its support for Manx businesses.

Mr Spellman, 55, is a well-known figure in Manx business circles, having been part of the scene since 1987, save for a five-year spell working in the UK at the turn of the century. One of Mr Spellman’s most high profile previous roles was with the government agency Isle of Man finance, where he was the strategic adviser to the national strategy group and director of inward investment for finance. A qualified banker and account, he was also chairman at Duncan Lawrie and has been a director at a number of companies. Away from the workplace, he is chairman of the Isle of Man Children’s Centre.

As an independent bank in the Isle of Man, with more than 85 years in the community, Conister has built of a level of trust through its good track record and its flexibility to meet Manx needs.

‘At the core of our business are the values of customer focus, working together, a sustainable future and integrity,’ Mr Spellman added. ‘That is how we try to run things and how we try to reach our decisions.
‘It is about the community we are part of.’ He said: ‘We are subject to the same regulations as everyone else, but our decision-making, what products to offer, it is all done here. ‘People will always need a safe place for their money. They will always need the ability to borrow money at the appropriate rate and they also want financial advice.

‘That never changes. It is how you change your business model. The ability to work with the Manx community is a key part of that.’

How does a Fossil Fuel Company transition to Net Zero?

On the face of it, it sounds like a tall order for a gas producing company, with one revenue stream, to become green and sustainable – and to have a clear strategy in place for doing so. But that’s exactly what Manx Gas are fully committed to, as part of the Isle of Man’s move towards its stated goal of becoming net zero by 2050.

At a specially convened meeting of the IOM Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Group – once again sponsored by Conister Bank – delegates heard what steps Islands Energy Group (IEG), the parent company of Manx Gas, are working towards in order to achieve these ambitious environmental targets.

Speaking publicly on the subject for the first time, their presentation featured Jo Cox, the CEO of IEG, Alex Herschel, the MD of Manx Gas’s sister company Guernsey Gas and Manx Gas Marketing Manager Sarah Jarvis.

Outlining the Group’s intentions regarding the transition towards net zero, Alex said IEG were not here to provide answers, but “to walk the walk and not talk the talk. The hardest part is how are we going to deliver it,” said Alex, a chartered environmentalist with more than 25 years of experience advising organisations in the energy and public sector.

Andy Bass takes on Ventoux in 2022

Our Head of Sales, Andy Bass, is a keen cyclist and is about to embark on his toughest endurance test yet…

In July, Andy, along with 14 others, will be heading to the Alps to take part in The Children's Centre's Annual Cycle Challenge. Andy Bass will be participating in Geneva to Ventoux in 2022 which is an overseas cycle challenge with The Children’s Centre. Over 7 days the challenge will see Andy along with X fellow competitors cycle in excess of 500 miles and climb over 76,000 ft. Andy will leave the island on Saturday 2nd July to Sunday 10th July, starting the challenge immediate with the first leg of 26.8 miles from Geneva to Thonon les Bains and then following the Route des Grandes Alpes for a couple of days, taking in some of the iconic TdF climbs (including Alpe d'Huez) before heading to Mont Ventoux for a final ‘Triple’ climb up the Géant de Provence.

Andy's goal is to raise a minimum of £1,200 for the Isle of Man Children’s Centre, in support of all the fantastic work they do for our Island’s vulnerable young people, families and our local community. The Children’s Centre is an independent Manx charity supporting children, young people, and families in their time of need, and who would otherwise fall between the gaps not being able to access services elsewhere.  Addressing factors that have a significant impact on their development such as; bullying, disengagement with learning, poverty, substance misuse, criminality, domestic violence, and family issues. In 2021 the charity worked directly with over 600 individuals, and their families delivering over 5,244 hours of individual support. 

Engaging with Government is essential for meeting Net Zero targets, Business Sustainability meeting is told

The Isle of Man business community needs to be fully engaged with Government if the Island is to successfully transition to a net-zero economy.

That was the strong message stemming from the latest IOM Business Sustainability Group meeting, organised by the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. The Group, a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce Climate Change Programme (COCCCP), is fully supported by Conister Bank. In turn, the Bank has spearheaded engagement with the Energy & Sustainability Centre Isle of Man, recognising that Island businesses have a common goal in tackling the transition towards net zero.

The event was attended by more than 50 Chamber members from across the business community. It featured a panel discussion, led by Business Sustainability Chair, Ralph Peake, with expert input from Dr Christa McCartney, University Lecturer and Further Education teacher at UCM in Business Ethics and Social Responsibility; Jon Curtis, founder of Curtis & Associates, an energy management company specialising in energy industry data; and Chris Gledhill, Climate Change Programme Lead for the IOM Chamber of Commerce.

Read the full article to find out more of the issues raised by the local business community.

Manx Financial Group acquires a 50.1% stake in Payment Assist

Manx Financial Group PLC announced that Manx Ventures Limited has agreed to acquire a 50.1% interest in UK focused, point of sale lender Payment Assist Limited for a total initial consideration of £4 million payable in cash.

Manx Financial Group has been working with Payment Assist since 2015, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Conister Bank Limited, having provided the primary wholesale funding agreement to support Payment Assist’s growth during this period.

The acquisition is conditional on the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent including approval of the change of control by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”).

In addition to the Acquisition, Manx Ventures has agreed an option to acquire the remaining 49.9% of Payment Assist for cash consideration of up to £5 million.

The Option can be exercised by Manx Ventures at any time for a period of two years after publication by Payment Assist of its audited accounts for the period to 31 December 2024. MFG will fund the initial £4 million consideration and deferred consideration of up to £5 million from its cash resources.

Entries open for Coast to Coast Walk

The fifth annual ‘Sight Matters Coast to Coast Walk’ is set to return this September, with Conister Bank as its headline sponsor.

The popular event will take place on Sunday 4th September when participants walk from Douglas to Peel, clocking up approximately 12 miles. Walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to sign up for the reasonably flat and gentle route. The event will start with a lap of the NSC track, before heading west via the Heritage Trail and crossing the finish line in Peel.

Coast to Coast participants will help Sight Matters raise funds that will provide much-needed support to the Island’s blind and visually impaired community.

Conister Bank supports Isle Listen’s school activities during Mental Health Awareness Week

Conister Bank are proud to be involved with Isle Listen and their work in schools, encouraging our Island’s young people to use their creativity and explore important Mental Health themes. We were keen to support Isle Listen’s vital early intervention work, giving younger children new ways for them to familiarise themselves with common feelings and emotions, which is key in developing emotionally healthy young adults.

Manx Collections is Open for Business

A new dynamic name has emerged in the UK collections industry, with the launch this month of Manx Collections.

The FCA regulated Manchester-based company is a subsidiary of the diversified financial services organisation, Manx Financial Group (MFG), who are listed on the London Stock Exchange (AIM: MFX). Manx Collections will focus exclusively on the UK market, to assist businesses of all sizes with the recovery of both regulated and unregulated debt, at any stage of the trade or consumer debt cycle.

To ensure loan book continuity, Manx Collections can also act as a stand-by service provider, underpinning the operational resilience of companies, as well as offering the skill set to monitor a client’s internal processes and procedures. Where required, in order to minimise disruption, Manx Collections also has the ability to step in and collect debt on behalf of a client.  

“With a strong emphasis on compliance, efficiency and outstanding service delivery, we are ideally positioned to manage the recovery of trade and consumer debt for clients nationwide,” explained Managing Director, Stuart Reid.  He said that, with rising inflation, increasing interest costs, continued supply chain disruptions along with new economic uncertainty now was a right time to enter this market to aid consumers, SMEs and funders.

Taking the Active Travel Challenge

As part of the drive to facilitate this change, the Bank’s Sales Team has embarked on an Active Travel Challenge. The Team thought it would be constructive to show how long a typical commute to work actually takes if you compare going by car, bicycle, or on foot. What transpired has been condensed into a lively and informative video, which is now available for viewing on the company’s website.

With two of the team driving an electric vehicle, one cycling on an eBike and the other relying on good, old-fashioned shoe leather, the aim of the exercise was to see who could arrive fastest at the Conister office in Victoria Street, Douglas. The starting point for the “race” was the Shoprite car park in Onchan, a journey of about 2.5 miles.

Read the full article to find out the results.

Conister engages with IOM Chamber of Commerce to create a task force to help businesses achieve net zero emissions targets

ff The IoM Business Sustainability Group is a task force that has been set up as a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce Climate Change Programme (COCCCP) to assist local businesses in achieving net-zero emissions.

The Chamber’s Climate Change Group was set up in 2019 to allow businesses the opportunity to exchange ideas on environmental initiatives and best practices. The idea of the sub-group is to share best practice and knowledge with local businesses and to promote action towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Chair of the COCCCP Chris Gledhill commented: the role of the COCCCP is to oversee the strategic side and work in parallel with the Government’s climate change strategy along with support and feedback to Government solutions to assist the business community in delivering on climate change. The new sub-group will focus on the practical aspects on how the business community can drive ideas and initiatives forward no matter what size or sector. The forum plans to work with existing members of the COCCCP and welcomes the wider Chamber members by encouraging knowledge sharing, and promoting collaborative solutions for lowering emissions and improving environmental impact

The initiative originated from Conister Bank’s initial engagement with the Energy & Sustainability Centre Isle of Man, who both recognised that local businesses on the Isle of Man have a shared goal to tackle the transition to net-zero and together can achieve better results through a collaboration by sharing and developing new ideas to advance the transition to a green economy.

The sub-group is open to any Chamber member.

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Conister Bank Limited, Clarendon House, Victoria Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 2LN

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