SME Conference: Customers, Standards and Growth

Access to finance is crucial for the development of start-ups, scale-ups and established SMEs. This essential one day conference will examine current trends in SME finance: demand, availability and evolving alternative finance provision from challengers, P2P lenders and digital banks.

The BBA’s second annual SME conference will also address new banking standards and competition: how the CMA’s market review could impact the market, the scope and parameters of regulation and the future of ADR for SMEs.

Lastly, the event will explore the emergence of data in digital banking, discussing the business relevance of open APIs for SME’s, how will open APIs benefit customers while ensuring obligations surrounding data privacy and security are met.

Delegates attending this one day conference will gain a deeper understanding of the SME sector, its financing and forecast for growth.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Irene Graham, CEO, Scale Up Institute
  • Graham Olive, Deputy CEO, OakNorth
  • Conrad Ford, Chief Executive, Funding Options
  • Julia Groves, Partner, and Head of Crowdfunding, Downing LLP & Founding Chair of UK Crowdfunding Association
  • David Pickering, Chief Executive, Lending Standards Board
  • Stephen Pegge, Special Projects Director, Lloyds Banking

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the BBA’s 2nd Annual SME Conference and discover the latest developments in SME finance and address key questions, including:

  • Assessing SMEs performance and their ambitions for the future
  • Understanding the scope and extent of alternative finance provision
  • New Banking and Lending standards as drivers for growth
  • The use of data in digital banking and the key challenges between open APIs and data privacy

8:45 Registration and refreshments
9:15 Chairman’s opening remarks

Mike Conroy, Executive Director- Corporate & Commercial Banking, BBA

9:20 Market Trends and Business Conditions in SME Finance Markets
  • Overview of demand and supply of finance for SMEs
  • Assessment of Market Developments
  • How different types of finance are being used and diversity of supply
  • Regional perspectives
  • The case for government intervention

Shiona Davies, Director, BDRC Continental

9:40 Panel discussion: A paradigm shift in SME Finance?
  • Why do SMEs seem reluctant to borrow?
  • What can be done to stimulate demand?
  • Is there a finance gap? Or an information gap?
  • What more needs to be done to help businesses start and grow?
  • How and why SMEs need more than an asset backed lending solution.

John Davies, CEO,The Just Loans Group PLC
Graham Olive,
 Deputy CEO, OakNorth
Representative from British Business Bank
Conrad Ford, 
Chief Executive, Funding Options
Julia Groves, 
Partner, and Head of Crowdfunding, Downing LLP & Founding Chair of UK Crowdfunding Association

10:30 Keynote Government

Speaker to be confirmed

11:00 Driving Economic Growth
  • Insights from the Scale Up review
  • How the UK can close the Scale-up gap
  • How Scale Ups are an integral part of the Industrial Strategy

Irene Graham, CEO, Scale Up Institute

11:20 Morning Break
11:40 New Banking Standards and Competition panel discussion: A bright future ahead?

The recently launched new lending Standards will bring enhanced protections for a much wider range of businesses but access to the FoS is still limited to micro-enterprises. The panel will consider how the new Standards can improve customer outcomes and share their views on dispute resolution mechanisms for SMEs.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Financial Ombudsmen Service (FoS) access for SMEs
  • Regulatory parameters of protection and jurisdiction

David Pickering, Chief Executive, Lending Standards Board
Stephen Pegge, Special Projects Director, Lloyds Banking Group

12:20 Competition Panel discussion

In the wake of CMA’s open banking reforms, the panel will discuss current competitive trends, which SME banking services are vulnerable to disruption, and how CMA/FCA remedies will impact the market.

Chris Gorst, Open Up Challenge Prize Lead, Nesta
Nigel Parr,
Partner, Ashurst LLP

13:00 Lunch
14:00 Keynote address

Alison Rose, CEO – Commercial & Corporate Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland

14:20 Data Fuelling Innovation – accelerating growth of SME banking through digital data exploitation

This panel discussion will discuss key issues for thriving in a digital world where sharing of financial data is encouraged, while obligations around data privacy and security are increasing in scope, complexity and risk.

  • What is the business relevance of open APIs for SMEs?
  • Overcoming the key challenges between open APIs and data privacy
  • Open APIs as a new attack vector for cyber criminals
  • Accountability and liability for open APIs

David Futter, Partner, Ashurst LLP
Olly Betts, Co-Founder & CEO, Bizfitech
Roger Vincent,
Strategic Consultant, Equifax

15:00 Chatbots - Expensive Fad or the Future of Customer Engagement?

An interactive session led by Kompli-Global Limited
John Davies, Chairman, Kompli-Global Limited

15:30 Leaders' Panel Discussion: A look to the future. Collaboration and Competition

Stephen Dury, Director, Director of New Business Models, Customer & Innovation, Santander UK
2 Challenger Banks

16:10 Chairman’s closing remarks

Mike Conroy, Executive Director- Corporate & Commercial Banking, BBA

Matt Adey

Senior Economist, British Business Bank

Olly Betts

Co-Founder & CEO, Bizfitech

Mike Conroy

Executive Director, Corporate and Commercial Banking, BBA


Mike has policy responsibility for Corporate and Commercial Banking at the BBA and for the Business Finance Taskforce. This includes engagement with key industrial sectors and stakeholders, strategic initiatives across products such as export finance and leading the access to business finance agenda. Prior to joining the BBA he gained over 35 years’ experience in the banking industry at HSBC in branch, regional and head office roles including retail and commercial banking, marketing, strategic planning and implementation, e-commerce and most recently external affairs, leading on SME, Commercial and Corporate Banking policy issues.


Whilst at HSBC, he completed two secondments with the London Enterprise Agency and HM Treasury.


Mike holds a BSc in Economics and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

Shiona Davies

Director, BDRC Continental

John Davies

Chief Executive Officer, The Just Loans Group PLC


John’s passion is helping businesses thrive and grow by providing much needed funding where possible and sharing his hard earned business lessons.


As the founder of The Just Loans Group PLC, he is focussed on helping to bridge the funding gap that has restricted the growth of British industry.


He is Chairman of the recently formed Association of Alternative Business Finance that has been formed to promote best practice in the UK alternative lending industry.


John also sits on the Advisory Board of the Emerging Payments Association.


The Just Loans Group is also the first alternative commercial lender to become an Associate Member of the British Bankers’ Association.


The Group’s principal subsidiary is Just Cash Flow PLC – a specialist lender to UK businesses offering flexible funding solutions to support them through growth and development phases.


John draws on his 30 plus years of experience gained through founding and running a number of companies to give guidance to existing and potential business owners.


He is frequently asked to chair or contribute at industry-wide events under the key theme of helping businesses avoid potential pitfalls and the need to focus on key business fundamentals such as planning, forecasting and managing cash flow.


He is a strong advocate for there to be a formal qualification for directors before they set up in business.


He is often asked to share his experience and expertise at FinTech events to educate tech entrepreneurs about the different forms of funding available to them and the need to bring their products to market.


Further to his industry roles listed above, John is Chairman of Kompli Global, set up to provide ‘Gold Standard’ support for a broad range of companies needing to meet the significantly enhanced compliance requirements that the implementation of the EU 4th Money Laundering will introduce.

Stephen Dury

Director, Director of New Business Models, Customer & Innovation, Santander UK

Conrad Ford

Chief Executive, Funding Options

David Futter

Partner, Ashurst LLP

Irene Graham

CEO, Scale Up Institute

Julia Groves

Partner, and Head of Crowdfunding, Downing LLP & Founding Chair of UK Crowdfunding Association

Graham Olive

Deputy CEO, OakNorth


Graham Olive is the deputy CEO of OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – where he sits on the board alongside Rishi Khosla (CEO and co-founder), Lord Adair Turner (Senior Independent Director), and Cyrus Ardalan (Chairman), amongst others.


He is a qualified international banker with a successful track record in management, business development, risk control, regulation and operations. He has over two decades experience in the banking industry and has held positions at a number of leading financial institutions, including: Robert Fleming and Co. Ltd., Chase Manhattan, and Natixis. Graham is also a non-executive board member for Thrive Homes, the housing association which owns and manages more than 4,000 rented and leasehold properties in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Nigel Parr

Partner, Ashurst LLP

Stephen Pegge

Special Projects Director, Lloyds Banking Group

David Pickering

Chief Executive, Lending Standards Board

Alison Rose

CEO – Commercial & Corporate Banking, Royal Bank of Scotland

Roger Vincent

Strategic Consultant, Equifax


Roger joined the Equifax business in 2010 and currently works in the Data and Analytics function, specialising in the delivery of new and innovative solutions for the banking and financial services sector.


Roger has a background in credit risk analytics across both the retail banking and credit bureau space, and has a detailed knowledge of risk management practices within the consumer and commercial lending environments.


With over 10 years of experience in the market, Roger is instrumental in helping Equifax to shape its global strategy for leveraging Open Banking Data.

Headline Partner:

The Just Loans Group PLC is the first alternative commercial lender to become an Associate Member of the British Bankers’ Association and is a founder member of the recently formed Association of Alternative of Business Finance.

The Group entered the alternative finance sector with the aim of offering finance to SMEs that compliments what traditional banks have to offer – recognising that businesses need access to different sources of finance as they develop and grow.

This has been achieved by building a robust, scalable, Anti Money Laundering (AML) compliant process for on boarding Corporate Borrowers in the UK and eventually Europe.

A key component of this has been heavy investment in successfully developing PropensityPlus® – a proprietary underwriting model.

The Group is also a benefactor of ‘Project Rome’, the campaign from the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) lobbying for fairer access to payments infrastructure through FinTech providers.

Associate Partner:

Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 7,100 employers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,500 employees worldwide.

Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Named to the Top 100 American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015-2016); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2016); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2016); named one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015-2016). For more information, visit

Kindly hosted by:

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst is a leading international law firm, with 25 offices in 15 countries across 10 time zones, offering the insight of a truly global network combined with local market knowledge and expertise.  Our in-depth understanding of our clients and commitment to providing exceptional service has made us a trusted adviser to corporates, financial institutions and governments worldwide.

We want to be the adviser that our bank clients turn to first – whether this be to discuss a strategically important acquisition, what is ‘market’ when it comes to financing structures, disputes and investigations, fintech strategies, or regulatory hurdles on the horizon.  Whatever our client’s challenge, our goal is to help turn complex situations into successful outcomes.