Collection House (ASX:CLH) targeting sustainable growth


by Jessica Amir

Collection House Limited (ASX:CLH) Chairman, Leigh Berkley discusses new developments for the company, including his relocation to Australia, Managing Director Anthony Rivas’s plans, and the appointment of two new directors following improved FY18 results.

Jessica Amir:
Thanks for tuning into the Finance News Network; I’m Jessica Amir. Joining me today from Collection House Group (ASX:CLH) is Chair, Leigh Berkley. Leigh, welcome to the Finance News Network and thanks for your time over the phone.

Leigh Berkley: Thanks very much Jessica, good to talk to you.

Jessica Amir: First up, can you just give us an introduction to the company?

Leigh Berkley: Collection House is an ASX listed receivable management company, headquartered in Brisbane with offices around Australia, New Zealand and Manilla in the Philippines. Over the last couple of years, we’ve really benefited from the new investments we’ve made in technology, in people and we’ve shown some great results. We’ve been first mover in a number of technological issues, searches, comprehensive credit reporting. And we’ve got now a portal that allows our customers to speak to us 24 hours a day online.

In fact, Collection House over the last couple of years is becoming more of a fin tech, and we’ve show tremendous progress in 2018. Our NPAT is $26.1 million and that’s up 50 per cent from the previous year. And we’re now about really being efficient with our capital as well. We’ve brought in a thing called the Portfolio Enhancement Program, which is enabling us to recycle older capital into new portfolio deals.

Jessica Amir: Well done on your NPAT, or Net Profit After Tax growth and I believe you’re moving to Australia. Can you tell us about the rationale and a bit more about your background?

Leigh Berkley: After becoming a chartered accountant, I spent the last 30 years in the industry, most of that time running a business similar to Collection House, in the UK. Collection House approached me to be a director of the company, because of that and also my experience in the industry. I was President of the UK Trade Association and currently I’m working with an umbrella group across Europe, called FMECA, putting together a Code of Conduct for GDPR or the EU based Protection Regulation.

I’ve also got good relationships with the regulators in the UK and across Europe. And that’s really important, because having also met ASIC, I know there’s a lot of common ground between what the regulators are looking for in Australia, and elsewhere around the world. I’ve been privileged to be the Chair of Collection House since last November. It’s been such a good experience that I’ve decided to move full time to Aus. I already have a home in Australia and I spend about a third of my time here already. And I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the Board and the management team over the years to come.

Jessica Amir: Your recent announcement also touched on proposals by Collection House MD and CEO, Anthony Rivas. Just tell us about that?

Leigh Berkley: Great news there, we were delighted to announce recently to the market that Anthony wishes to remain with the company, after his three-year contractual term. And we kind of knew that anyway, we’ve been talking about it. I’ve been talking with Anthony about that since the minute I took on the Chair. And as part of that process, Anthony has kindly proposed that he will forego two million of the three million in performance rights, to which he would be entitled this time next year. And that’s valued at $2.6 million, and that’s his commitment to the shareholders and to the future of this company.

Jessica Amir: You also announced the appointment of two new directors. Just tell us more about them?

Leigh Berkley: Some fantastic new talent for the Board there Jessica, Sandra Birkensleigh and Catherine McDowell. Both have a thorough understanding of our sector, thanks to their extensive financial services background and time already spent in the business, acclimatising and familiarising themselves with what we do. Sandra is recognised as a recognised industry expert, delivering compliance programs and she’ll be invaluable support, as we strengthen our risk in compliance framework over the coming months.

Meanwhile, Catherine has an excellent international commercial track record, with impressive history of delivering cultural change and customer service programs, in major institutions. Both experienced directors and I’m delighted to be adding these two outstanding women to our Board.

Jessica Amir: Now to strategy, how is the company progressing?

Leigh Berkley: Anthony Rivas and the senior leadership team have brought in some really great new initiatives, new talented people and great infrastructure, to position strongly for the future in what’s a very dynamic, rapidly changing industry. We’ll become more and more a Fintech and with our reinvigorated Board guiding that talented management team, I believe we’re uniquely well positioned for the next exciting chapter.

Jessica Amir: Last question Leigh. What’s the outlook for FY19 and why should investors consider adding CLH to their portfolios?

Leigh Berkley: To me it looks a really compelling proposition. We’re improving the business, enhancing customer outcomes and increasing shareholder value in a compliance sustainable manner, for 2019. We’ll remain early adopters of technology and stay innovative in our use of capital and data. But in everything we do, we want to do the right thing for our people, our clients, our customers and of course, our shareholders.

And with that in mind, this year we are holding the AGM in three different locations simultaneously. In Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. So I look forward to meeting as many shareholders as possible face to face, and having them get a chance to ask questions, because we really want feedback and support from our shareholders this year. And we look forward to the AGM later in November.

Jessica Amir: Leigh Berkley, thank you so much for the update.

Leigh Berkley: Thank you, thanks Jessica.


Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.