Professor Nicholas Wilson

Professor Nicholas Wilson



Nick Wilson BA (hons), Phd, CMBE, is Professor of Credit and Finance at the University of Leeds and Director of the Credit Management Research Centre. Previous appointments include the WZB Berlin, Department of Economics, University of Warwick and Bradford Management Centre. Nick was appointed as Professor of Credit Management in 1993 and moved to Leeds in 1998. He has worked closely with the credit industry and policy-makers. He established the spin-out risk scoring company, CreditScorer in 2001 and has worked on risk management and scoring problems for major lenders in consumer and commercial lending. Nick was an early adopter of the application of Artificial Intelligence and the use of Neural Networks in modelling risk. In 1995 he published a paper of the application of neural networks in the modelling of credit risk and company bankruptcy. He has an international reputation for academic work on credit analytics and forecasting, corporate finance and performance, private equity portfolio company performance, venture capital, family business governance and performance, trade finance and entrepreneurship. He has a keen interest in the development of Financial Technology and emergent FinTechs and continues to work closely with financial services and the credit industry on the development and application of analytics in lending and debt management including AI and neural networks. He is an associate of the Leeds Institute of Data Analytics and a co-investigator in the Consumer Data Research Centre (funded by ESRC c£5m). His work on venture capital investment has informed policy and practice. Research that quantified the nature and scale of the ‘equity gap’ was used directly by the government in their case and rationale for policy intervention (Enterprise Investment Scheme).  Changes to the EIS were announced (2015) and implemented (April 2018) based on recommendations in the research. Further analysis commissioned by BEIS has quantified the size of the equity gap in the UK regions. This research was published in a range of journals including the Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Enterpreneurship: Theory and Practice. Professor Wilson has written more than 130 papers in academic and professional journals. Most recently he has published on corporate risk, trade credit, management buy-outs, private equity and venture capital, family and small business, and related topics. He has researched and written many reports for business, professional bodies and government. He has over 8,600 citations on google scholar and an i10-index of 85.

Current Projects

Most recently he is working with BEIS on the evaluation of the COVID Business Interruption Loan Schemes and Business Finance Forecasting and Policy Modelling. Phase II of this project is funded by the UKRI and the Innovation Caucus.

Professor Wilson is currently co-investigator on the ESRC project: Understanding how constraints on access to finance and under-investment impact on productivity growth in smaller firms (grant ES/W010259/1) – with a focus on equity finance (venture capital and private equity)

Previous Experience

Prior to moving into the area of Credit Risk and Management Professor Wilson’s early work focussed on modelling company performance and the effects of different ownership and governance structures. He undertook pioneering research on the impact of financial participation schemes (profit sharing and employee share ownership) on company performance, labour demand and employee well-being. The research was funded by ESRC grants in 1984, 1989, 1993 and 1994 and resulted in publications in leading journals (Economic Journal, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Work Employment and Society, Human Resource Management Journal) and received much policy and media interest. Profit Sharing Schemes were introduced in the UK in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. A ESRC study in 1993 ( ESRC Award No R000231859, Organisation and Comparative Performance of Employee Owned Firms) was the first study to analyse the comparative performance of employee-owned firms building on earlier work in the area (see Employee Share Ownership Plans: Their Role in Corporate Finance and Performance, (Wilson) Macmillan/Palgrave 1992). The empirical work on the effects of profit sharing on firm level productivity, labour demand and employee satisfaction (quits and absenteeism) remains amongst his most cited work. The work on profit sharing schemes expanded into a European and multi country study involving collaboration with academics in France, Italy and Spain, the French Ministry of Labour and the OECD. A subset of this work focussed on the employee buyouts of established firms and began the lonmg term collaboration with the Centre for Management Buyout Research. 

Whilst working at the WZB, Berlin expertise was develped in time-series modelling and causality testing. This was applied in macro economic forecasting projects, modelling tourism flows and modelling the impact of advertising expenditures on consumption and sales. Consultancy projects were completed for a number of leading advertsing agencies, international companies and the Advertising Association. 

The Credit Management Research Centre (CMRC) was established in 1998, sponsored by the credit industry, and has developed a unique reputation for work that combines academic rigor with policy and practical relevance. This has been key to establishing an international academic reputation, regular consultations with governments on policy issues, practitioner relevance and strong impact case studies. The research agenda emphasizes relevance to individuals, practitioners, organizations and public interest. The work of CMRC has a track record of the wide dissemination and communication of research outputs through practitioner reports and extensive media and press coverage. CMRC has, over the last 25 years, worked with the government to inform policy debate, policy implementation and audit (HM Treasury, BIS, NAO, EU). Work on trade credit, the late payment of commercial debt and debt collection and recovery contributed to many policy debates. Professor Wilson was a member of the governments Better Payment Practice Group and was a regular consultant to the National Audit Office, HMRC and BEIS (formerley DTI). In 2004 a report produced on Credit and Debt in the UK household and business sectors was widely reported in the national and international press and many media outlets. The findings, warning of the economic fragility caused by the build-up of debt and poor credit risk management practices, were reported as the front page story on several UK national newspapers. Further work on financial distress and predictions of a rise in insolvencies were reported in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis. In 2007 he received the ESRC Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards for the “Best Application of Management Science in a KTP” and the national award for the best KTP. He received the Leeds University Certifcate of Outstanding Achievement in Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer in 2007.


  • Director, Credit Management Research Centre
  • Head of Department 2017-2021
  • ESRC Productivity Project: ES/W010259/1 : SME finance, investment and productivityhttps://business.

Research interests

Policy Related Work  

Professor Wilson sat on the Better Payment Practice Group (1997-2007). He provided analysis to BIS and Ministers on the impact of legislation (The Late payment of Commercial Debts Interest Act, 1998) and other interventions aimed at improving trade credit payment behaviour towards small firms. BIS commissioned him, to write a policy report: An Investigation into Payment Trends and Behaviour 1997-2007, published in 2008. Professor Wilson has acted as a consultant on issues of credit and debt management, credit scoring and modelling and policy for major organisations in the financial services, corporate sector and government. He has acted as a consultant for the National Audit Office, Office of Fair Trading, Department of Trade and Industry, The Stationery Office (Insolvency Forecasting) and UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) amongst others. He has competed a series of commissioned reports on debt management and collection in the government sector (e.g. HMRC, The Redundancy Payment Service and the Criminal Justice System). The work on the HMRC collections and recovery systems was reported in a series of NAO reports and recommendations. He has completed other consultancy projects on diverse subjects such as; advertising and competition policy (OFT); labour demand and training in the Museums sector; advertising on BBC radio (Peacock Inquiry). He was appointed to a Government ‘Expert Working Group’ on consumer credit information in 2008. A series of reports for the Welsh Assembly was produced in 2010-2013 on SME performance in Wales and on growth firms in Wales and the regions. He was a panel member for the Independent Commission on Banking’s public forum in Leeds, November 2010. He was on the Expert Economists sub-panel of the Breedon Task Force 2012 which was commissioned to “examine structural and behavioural barriers to the development of alternative debt markets in the UK” in advance of the 2012 Budget. His work on board composition and female directorships was cited in the recent Davies Report, ‘Women on Boards”(BIS, 2011) and reported in the international press. Joint work with Imperial College (Professor Mike Wright) on Private Equity and Venture Capital Investments has been published in leading academic journals and has been widely reported in the international business press (e.g. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, Economist). He continues to provide policy related analysis on Venture Capital investment; Business Finance Policy and Default/Insolvency Risk to Government.

Equity Finance gap and the UK Regions

Recent Press Coverage

Private Equity Backed Firms and the Pandemic:

Private Equity Backed Firms: Performance after the PE leaves:

Venture capital Investments in the Regions:

Venture capital investments in the Covid period:

Other Press Coverage in the FT:


  • BA (hons) Applied Economics
  • Phd (Nottingham)

Professional memberships

  • FICM
  • Certified Management and Business Educator

Student education

LUBS2226 Applied Credit Analytics

Research groups and institutes

  • Credit Management Research Centre

Current postgraduate researchers