Martin Hughes

Director, Head of Commercial Recoveries
Office:
  • Banbury
Phone:
01295 204131
LinkedIn:
LinkedIn
Specialisms:
  • Debt Recovery
  • Martin is the Head of Debt Recovery and has more than 40 years' experience in debt recovery and credit management. He has been a member of the Institute of Credit Management since the 1980s.  Martin was Credit Manager for several large PLCs before joining Shoosmiths (Spratt Endicott's precursor firm) in 1990.
  • In his time at the firm Martin has continually expanded the Debt Recovery department, attracting many blue-chip clients and developing a team renowned as one of the finest in the region. The Legal 500 ranks Spratt Endicott's debt recovery services as among the top in the South East.
  • Whilst volume debt recovery is his specialty, Martin is equally happy assisting smaller clients to improve their internal procedures. His aim is to provide a service that develops mutually beneficial long-term relationships.

Work highlights and expertise:

  • Martin's expertise covers all areas of credit management.  He has devised numerous bespoke seminars and workshops for both credit control and sales departments. This has resulted in increasing staff awareness of credit management techniques, and their positive effect on sales and profits when conducted properly.
  • His greatest enthusiasm is for meeting the people behind businesses large and small, and developing specific credit control strategies to meet the needs of a particular business culture.
  • Martin's true expertise is in understanding his clients' needs, winning their trust, and providing sound, honest and commercial advice.

Professional memberships, publications and interests:

  • Member of the Institute of Credit Management since the 1980s.
  • Martin is recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2016, and his Debt Recovery team is ranked in the top tier in the South East region.

UK_top_tier_firms_2016

 

Case Studies

  • Audit of Internal Credit Control Procedures
    Whilst acting for a client (a national manufacturer of boilers for the domestic market) we noticed that many of the debts being sent to us were either very easy for us to collect, or had simple disputes which really should have been resolved prior to passing them to us.

    Martin Hughes discussed the situation with the Credit manager, and we agreed that he would visit his company and carry out an audit of their internal credit control procedures.

    It was soon obvious what the problems were.

    ·          There was no query resolution system in place allowing problems to be identified and followed up in a timely and effective manner

    ·          Dunning letters, rather surprisingly, were not despatched to an agreed credit cycle and were to say the least ineffectual in their content

    ·          There did not appear to be an agreed Credit Policy in place regarding returns and in many cases debit notes which had been initiated by their customers

    Martin devised a manual system for him regarding query resolution, as he did not have a software application which would deal with this.

    Dunning letters were rewritten with an agreed credit control cycle to escalate the debts.

    A procedure was written to identify and deal with the returns and debit notes.  This part filtered into the query resolution system.

    Not surprisingly, the volume of work received from the client reduced to a trickle.  We did, however, retain a loyal client who continued to pass work of a more tricky nature to us.

     
     
  • Recovery of Debt in Mexico
    Martin Hughes received a telephone call from the Credit Manager of an international branded clothes business.

    They had a debt of £120k with a major retailer in Mexico City.  Despite their best efforts, they had been unable to obtain settlement.

    In Mexico the legal process can be long winded and expensive.  It is generally accepted that most proceedings for the recovery of debt will take approximately one year, without adding any appeal processes.

    The matter was urgent as investigations revealed that the Mexican Government had also issued proceedings in the courts for unpaid taxes.  A different strategy was required.

    Martin contacted local agents, previously used by us, and within three hours we had their representatives at the retailer walking round and to all intents and purposes doing a stock take.

    The retailer was a sole distributor of our client’s products in Mexico, and as such had large signs both inside and outside the premises with our client’s logos and brand names.  Martin ensured the retailer was aware that they were now in breach of contract and not only would we remove all of our goods but we would also insist on the removal of all signage.

    There followed a long procession of calls and emails between Martin, our agents and the retailer.  Within three weeks of instruction to us, our client had received payment in full.  This demonstrates how a pure legal process in a foreign country may not be the best option, and very often may be the lazy option.

    Martin is unaware how long it took for the Mexican Government to get paid for their claims.
     
  • Cash Flow Turnaround
    At the request of a bank Martin Hughes went to see a client of theirs who was giving them concern regarding their cash flow.

    Martin went to clients and checked:

    ·                      The Sales ledger

    ·                      Age of debt and values

    ·                      Margins

    ·                      Stock control

    ·                      The Purchase ledger

    Martin found that the client had become over reliant on one customer.

    Unfortunately, this customer was a very large national who dictated their payment terms (and then exceeded the agreed extended terms) and to whom the goods were sold at very small margins.  Due to the size of the customer, the client felt unable to take action against them.

    As a result the client was unable to obtain goods, as they were on stop with their suppliers, which meant that they were not able to fulfil orders from their other customers who provided far greater margins.

    It was absolutely clear to Martin that the business would fold within three months unless they took immediate steps to rectify the situation.

    The one action needed was to stop supplying the offending large customer and to obtain settlement of their outstanding invoices.  The client decided to follow Martin’s advice.

    Martin was advised by the bank some three-to-four months later that there had been a dramatic turnaround in the fitness of the company.  They were now concentrating on supplying the smaller companies on higher profit margins and as a result did not have the same cash flow worries and the profitability of the company had increased.
     

 

Testimonials

  • "Martin had provided legal and credit services for me at various companies I have worked for over a period of twenty years, which I think is testament enough in itself. His knowledge and expertise within credit, together with listening to and understanding his clients' needs sets him aside from others in his field. The service just becomes an extension of our own internal services and a seamless process. He adds value and has provided and delivered training courses on both credit management and the legal process. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to other Credit Managers looking for an external provider of legal services within debt recovery."

    Mark Brogden
    epay
  • I have known Martin for almost 30 years and have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him. If getting money in the bank is the result required, then Martin and his team are the ones who can - and do! He is a great personality, very personable and friendly. He is a great asset to Spratt Endicott.

    Jerry Hayter
    Xecutive Search HR
  • "I have known Martin Hughes for over 25 years, and in that time I have always been impressed by his attitude and work ethic. Nothing is too much trouble, and if he can possibly help you in any given situation he will gladly do so. He will use his knowledge and people skills for the advancement of others, and is able to impart knowledge at any level, having the ability to judge his audience and communicate effectively with them, regardless of their own skill levels. I therefore highly recommend Martin and consider him a great asset and aid to our business."

    Andrew Woodward
    Karndean Designflooring

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