WM shortlisted for prestigious accountancy award

WM Housing Group’s treasury team took a new approach to the association’s finances in response to its stepped-up development plans – and has now been shortlisted for ‘Treasury Team of The Year’ in the Housing Association National Accountancy (HANA) awards.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 5th July.

WM Housing Group Chief Executive Kevin Rodgers said: “This is a great achievement which acknowledges the work our treasury team has done in transforming our treasury management processes to ensure the Group can remain financially strong and increase housing development plans from 300 to 500 homes a year.”

Stuart Kellas, Chief Financial Officer at WM Housing Group, said: “It was recognised in early 2017 that, due to ambitious strategic plans to increase the Group’s development programme by 67 per cent a year and keep in line with the direction of national policy, additional funding was required of around £25 million a year.

“However, due to the Group’s growth in the last 10 years with three mergers, our funding was comprised through a range of loans secured on each individual member’s stock. Therefore we only had access to a limited amount of borrowing, as there were so many covenants and other arrangements in place within each subsidiary.

“Without a significant reworking of the Group’s financial structures, development funding would effectively have come to a halt.”

The treasury team worked with external advisors from Savills and Anthony Collins Solicitors and talked to financial institutions to understand the prevailing market and lenders’ views on how best to approach funding needs.

The team’s aim was to take forward an approach which provided a clear framework for future borrowing and optimised security. It also removed the need for individual boards to manage individual developments, thereby allowing the Group to take a more regional view and exploit greater opportunities for value for money.

By the end of the year, the team had delivered all its strategic aims by creating the Group’s treasury vehicle, securing a £280 million bond, ending loan arrangements where it was economically advantageous and overhauling decision-making processes for managing the Group’s treasury arrangements.

All this was achieved in a climate of change for the Group and the wider national economy. As a result, WM Housing Group’s business strategy target to have a development pipeline of 500 homes a year by 2019 was achieved a year early, giving the Group a solid platform for meeting future housing needs.