Client profile:

The Winning Box
Icon Tick White “The only money I had left was in my pension and I thought I couldn’t withdrawal that until I was 55."
Icon Tick White Existing pension pots transferred into a SIPP
Icon Tick White Pension purchased preference shares in the parent company
Icon Tick White Divided to be repaid with 12% interest over 5 years
Icon Tick White Preference shares bought back at a later stage

The call has gone out to British business to embrace new global markets, set their sights on new horizons and look beyond the Euro zone.

One office space company with an international flavour has turned that on its head and is set to help boost the economy by targeting foreign businesses wanting to set up in Britain.

The Winning Box is brainchild of a former Italian lawyer from Pescara who fell in love with London while organising study breaks for foreign students.

Sergio Piazza and his wife Camilla have brought their Italian flair to office rental backed by a team of International interns with language skills that wouldn’t be out of place in the United Nations.

“We are currently targeting the Russian market,” said Sergio. “The interns work in different departments in our business and some work for our clients.”

Start ups looking to establish a foothold in the United Kingdom can take advantage of “360 degrees” of support including customer service and call centre assistance, graphic design, IT and social media expertise and a restaurant which reflects the multi-cultural nature of the business with cuisine from different countries on the menu each day of the week.

“We provide everything. We help with the language, culture, everything. Our clients like the atmosphere here, it is like a family business,” said Sergio, who is also keen to attract British SMEs looking for a base near the capital.

A programme of refurbishments is in full swing and when completed 42 rented offices, from shared space to room for eight people, will be available to rent. The first clients have moved in heralding a major milestone for the business which is set to generate income of £50,000 per month. - The Hayes location has enviable transport links for international businesses, five minutes from Heathrow Airport, 16 minutes from London’s Paddington Station and just over half an hour from Canary Wharf.

That could have been a million miles away when the original estimate for refurbishment work to the former Playboy TV offices proved wide of the mark and Sergio was faced with closing down.

“The only money I had left was in my pension and I thought I couldn’t withdraw that until I was 55,” the 49-year-old said.

“We needed to spend more money. We were kind of stuck. We couldn’t go ahead. If we couldn’t have raised the money, we would have to close down and give the place back.”

The breakthrough came with a broker recommendation to contact but the opportunity also meant going against the advice of a financial professional friend who cautioned again taking the money from his pension.

Sergio said: “I said I need the money now. I had never heard of Pension-led funding. We had two options and took a risk with something we didn’t know. But it was essential for us or we would lose everything.”

The first meeting was set for June, a month after the refurbishment had started. “By the middle of August we had all the money, £73,000. We paid everything we had to pay. That was a key point for us. Now we have started to rent out space and the money is coming in.”

We helped transfer Sergio’s existing pension pots into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). The scheme then purchased preference shares in the parent company London Services Offices Ltd. This enabled Sergio to access the funds he desperately needed.

Sergio will repay the dividend with 12% interest over five years and the preference shares will be bought back at a later stage, further swelling the pension fund.

Looking back Sergio, who had already seen one business fall victim when the economic crisis hit Italy, was not prepared to give up without a fight.

He said the injection of funds from his pension “was like a miracle”. “It came out of the blue, completely unexpected,” he said.

“All companies that come here seem to enjoy the atmosphere so much. We do everything possible to help them grow.”

And when you offer clients the opportunity to employ the skills of staff from the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Germany and Poland you are providing a vital link to home on a Hayes High Street.

Categories:IT & Office