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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.

Conister Bank awards staff an extra £1,200 this winter to combat inflation and rising fuel bills

Conister Bank, one of the Island’s leading employers, has pledged across-the-board financial support for staff this winter to help meet mounting energy bills and cost of living increases.

The company has promised every member of staff an extra £200 per month for the next six months.

The scheme, which takes effect from the end of September, not only covers everyone who works at Conister Bank, but all employees of the wider Manx Financial Group, Conister’s parent company. The Group employs over 140 staff in the Isle of Man and throughout the UK.

With the expected hikes in gas bills, the volatility in oil prices and the worsening impact of rampant inflation – with the worst effects predicted to really hit home this winter - The Directors acted quickly to provide additional support for all staff members.

Conister are believed to be one of the first employers on the Isle of Man to have announced additional support payments for staff ahead of the coming winter.

Sustainability Group backs plan for Affordable Energy

The Isle of Man is in urgent need of affordable energy, which is both sustainable and provides long-term security.

 That was the clear message that came out of a specially convened meeting of the IOM Chamber of Commerce Business Sustainability Group, once again sponsored by Conister Bank.

 The event held on 14th July at the iMuseum, attended by a broad cross-section of the Island’s business community, agreed that a clear strategy should now be put forward to the main Chamber of Commerce Board, to help shape the Government’s future energy policy.

 Recognising that it would be necessary to carry out a proper energy audit to help influence future decision-making, IOM Business Sustainability Chair Ralph Peake said:

“We can’t do anything without data, but what we can do today is realise that we all need affordable, sustainable energy – then start educating our staff, our businesses and the public accordingly.”

The meeting centred on a panel discussion featuring Andrew Langan-Newton, Leader of the Isle of Man Green Party; Julie Erskine of 3CO whose company assists the construction industry with procedures around energy-efficient homes on the Isle of Man; and Simon Sheath, KPMG’s ESG Consultant for the Crown Dependencies.

With the emphasis on affordability and energy efficiency, Ralph stressed the importance of the business community speaking with a united voice to the public and Government.  

Read the article in full.

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.

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Come and talk to our team in branch at:
Conister Bank Limited, Clarendon House, Victoria Street, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM1 2LN

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