Afternoon Tea Discussion

“How well does the banking and payments industry truly cater for the SME community?”

Monday, 9th November 2015 – 5pm until 8pm            

Addleshaw Goddard LLP, London EC1                                   

Discussion and perspectives from:

Stephen Dury, Managing Director SME Markets & Business Development, Santander UK

Dan Turnbull, Head of the Competition in Banking Services Unit, HM Treasury

Mike Agate, Former Chairman of the Economic, Finance & Tax Policy Committee, Federation of Small Businesses

Seamus Smith, CEO, Sage Pay Europe

Rich Wagner, CEO, Advanced Payment Solutions (APS)

Chair: Irene Graham, Executive Director of Business Finance, BBA

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According to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, at the start of 2014, small firms accounted for 99.3 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK and 33.2 per cent of private sector turnover. SMEs had a combined turnover of £1.6 trillion. Faced with these statistics, why is it that traditional banks often sit these customers within the retail bank with few tailored and innovative products, whereas their corporate counterparts are given more attention when it comes to supporting cashflow, liquidity and cross-border requirements? The two most common complaints are the length of time and access to getting a business bank account set up and according to the FSB, 40 per cent of small firms are refused access to bank sourced credit. The HM Treasury Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill tabled in 2014 goes some way to redress this by supporting access to alternative finance providers.

Within the payments sector, we have seen more innovation recently focused towards the small and medium sized businesses, especially at the payment acceptance level with mobile technology facilitating this. However, it seems more could certainly be done within payments for small merchants, sole traders and other small firms.

Our panel all have a vested interest in the SME community from a lobbying, regulatory and service provision perspective. Each has been very active in focusing their attention on catering for this market. Come and join them to give your views of how much more focus could be put on delivering a better service to this important segment of the British economy and why potentially we ignore this sector at our peril….from small acorns grow big oak trees!


Panel Profiles




Stephen Dury is Managing Director of SME Markets and Business Development responsible for business development, strategic proposition and product development for Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking. Launching the Santander Breakthrough programme in 2013 he is now committed to growing Santander’s presence in the SME space, providing services and solutions to help UK businesses reach their full potential.  He joined in 2010 from the Royal Bank of Scotland where he was Commercial Director for RBS and NatWest’s Direct and Online SME businesses, a position he held since 2007. At the Royal Bank of Scotland Stephen was responsible for the development of new technology and innovations to support the SME market, the day to day commercial performance of the online channels, partnership development and the digital SME transformation programme for the commercial and corporate business. Prior to RBS, Stephen held a number of leadership roles from 2001 to 2007 in marketing, advertising, product and income management and technology development.



Dan Turnbull heads up HM Treasury’s Competition in Banking Services Unit, covering banking competition, payment systems and services, and FinTech. His previous projects include designing legislation for the new Payment Systems Regulator and promoting a more supportive regulatory approach for new banks. Dan has previously worked on financial mutuals, general competition policy and corporate insolvency. He holds an MA from Oxford, and a PhD from London. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his young son, reading novels and small-scale gardening.


MA1976Michael Agate is the former chairman of the Economics, Finance and Tax Policy committee of the Federation of Small Business. He is a panel member of the Payment System Regulator and a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants.  He has run his own accountancy and consultancy business since 1993 and works with small and medium sized companies mainly in the IT and publishing sectors.  He was divisional Director at VNU publications publishing IT magazines and Year books and previously was General manager of Music For Pleasure Ltd. – the budget operation of EMI records.



SeamusSeamus Smith was appointed CEO of Sage Pay in July 2015. Sage Pay provides leading e-commerce and face to face payments solutions for small and medium businesses and in addition has recently established a FCA regulated ‘payments out’ capability to help SMB’s make payments to employees and suppliers. He joined Sage from PayPoint plc, where for the past 4 years he had been Managing Director, delivering significant growth in the retail payments & services business. He spent 7 years at American Express, latterly as EMEA head of the bank partnership card issuing and merchant acquiring business. Prior to this he spent 6 years at GE Capital in the consumer cards & lending business. His early career was spent at insurance and financial services division of the Automobile Association. Recently, Seamus also served on the advisory board of the UK Payment Systems Regulator, assisting the Regulator in forming new objectives and priorities for the development of UK payment systems.


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Rich Wagner is recognised as one of the leading innovators in this industry.   Rich is founder and CEO of Advanced Payment Solutions (APS), a leading challenger to banks offering digital payment and banking solutions.

APS is celebrating 10 years of growth and in this time, APS, under the Cashplus brand, has proven its leadership by being one of real innovators and one of the only providers who has created a dominant position in providing alternative banking solutions for consumers, SMEs and local government.

Rich currently represents the e-money industry at the Euro Retail Payments Board under the remit of the European Central Bank, and a Board Advisor to the Emerging Payments Association to help shape the future European payment regulations.



Irene-GrahamIrene Graham leads the overall policy work at the BBA across SME and corporate businesses, including key industrial sectors. This includes running Better Business Finance and strategic initiatives across products such as export finance and capital markets. Prior to joining the BBA Irene was a senior banker at Standard Chartered Bank, undertaking executive roles across its international footprint. This included heading its Corporate and Institutional business, and transaction bank in Europe, co-heading SCB’s European wholesale bank and leading international regulatory affairs. She sits on the board of the UK Business Angel Association.




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