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News

FLA drinks with Cardsharps

The FLA Summer Drinks were held at the Museum of the Order of St John, located in London’s trendy Clerkenwell district, also known as the home of Cardsharps (not a reference to credit card providers, but to the famous painting by Caravaggio, see below).   

Cardsharps by CaravaggioThe event was sponsored this year by Just Cashflow, which makes cash available up to £100k to UK limited company SMEs. There was a goodly turnout of top people from the industry, excellent food and wine, and as could be expected, the conversation focused on UK leasing, and the upcoming World Cup Final in Brazil. The favourites of course are Germany, though as one who believes that Brazil made Germany look better than they are, and being fans of word-play as well as ball-play, LeasingWorld puts the odds at evens.

The Director General’s speech kicked off promptly at 7pm with good news on the market growth front:

“The industry statistics for May show that the asset finance market has continued to grow – new business was 6 percent higher than in May 2013, and across a pretty wide front. Agricultural and construction plant have done particularly well so far this year, up by 27 percent and 28 percent percent respectively.

We also saw steady growth in

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Toshiba UK and Shire Leasing’s SME innovation

Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd (“Toshiba UK”) has announced the launch of an innovative online finance solution for small and medium sized businesses (“SMBs”) offering flexibility when purchasing high-end laptops. Devices available as part of the initiative include the new Z-series range, featuring the Tecra Z40 and the premium Portégé Z30. This innovative programme has been crafted using Shire Leasing’s Click2Finance platform, with Toshiba UK acting as introducer, and Shire Leasing Plc acting as principal and lessor.

Actual screenshotThe new finance solution is yet another demonstration of the UK leasing industry’s continuing record of helping vendors strive for exceptional results with tailored and innovative sales finance solutions. From the user’s point of view, Click2Finance (accessible at www.toshiba.co.uk/smb) is in essence an extra option that goes alongside the normal Buy Now button. Its power is that it will allow SMBs to easily apply for finance when leasing products online, triggering a fully automated system that performs everything from online credit approval to e-signature of leasing documents and online delivery confirmation.

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NACFB Commercial Finance Expo

EXPO visitors“Fifth year for the show and more exhibitors and visitors than ever.” This statement sums up what a fantastic day the Commercial Finance Industry had on the 25th of June at the NEC. The same morning as the show, the NACFB featured in an article in The Sun newspaper as well as being interviewed by Sky News as it’d announced that its members were now writing £1 billion of business every month.

But what about the show? The Expo had 1500 people at the Event this year with nearly 100 exhibitors in the hall. There was a rally car outside the hall, a double decker bus inside the hall, world cup themes, a stand set up as a bar, and even Eric Bristow throwing darts for the day. This was an event that said the commercial finance broking industry is coming back and lending to businesses across the UK, which tied in nicely with the interest from the national press and media.

There was a real buzz about the show and if you tried to go for a walk between 10am and 3pm you would have noticed that it was quite tricky to move at any speed through the crowds. The quality of the exhibitor stands did not disappoint and it gets higher every year, which is a sign of how seriously people take the Expo opportunities. Expos are a great way for many industries to pull their players together, meet and greet with the people you phone or email all year, and welcome new players.

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William F. Stephenson new DLL CEO

Bill StephensonDe Lage Landen De Lage Landen (“DLL”), the global provider of asset based financing solutions, has announced that William F. (Bill) Stephenson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board of DLL.

“I am proud to lead our company into the next phase. It is through our diverse culture, perspectives, and opinions that we are able to create solutions for our partners that not only meet their expectations for today, but also anticipate their market needs of tomorrow,” says Stephenson. Stephenson’s appointment was confirmed by the Dutch central banking authority (De Nederlandsche Bank) and he becomes the first non-Dutch national to lead the international finance company. Currently he is the company’s Chief Commercial Officer and member of the Executive Board. Due in large part to Stephenson’s commercial leadership, the company has grown its managed portfolio to over €31.5 billion ($43.4 billion) and is active in 36 countries globally.

“De Lage Landen has posted exceptional financial results in recent years. Specialized knowledge among its core markets and uniquely strong relationships with customers is what makes this possible,” said Berry Marttin, Executive Board member of Rabobank and Supervisory Board member for DLL. “Our decision to appoint Bill reinforces our commitment toward this strategy and demonstrates how important it is to preserve and promote these key success factors.”

Earlier this year DLL reported 2013 annual results, including net profit of €402 million ($534 million), an increase of 6.2 percent over the prior year. Stephenson, along with his fellow Board members, intend to build upon this success by continuing the company’s focus on deep industry knowledge, innovative products and a strong commitment toward both global and local customers. In the 2013 Leaseurope lessor rankings table, DLL is the 4th largest lessor by volume, and holds 1st position in new business transacted by a European lessor outside of Europe

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ABN AMRO Lease goes for the billion

George AshworthABN AMRO Lease has opened operations in the United Kingdom, as part of an expansion of its international leasing capabilities in North-West Europe. ABN AMRO Lease N.V., UK Branch will have its head office in London and focus initially on servicing mid cap and larger SME companies. It will specialise in financing industrial machinery, transport and other equipment used in three main sectors: transportation, construction/ materials handling, and industrial plant and equipment.

The new business is led by George Ashworth, Managing Director, previously head of asset finance at Aldermore Bank and Chairman of the Asset Finance Division of the Finance & Leasing Association (“FLA”). He reports that a strong team of experienced asset finance professionals has been recruited, which will distribute via several channels. Initial traction will be provided via established cross-border broker relationships, existing client relationships across the ABN AMRO Group, and direct sales. Other channels to market will be exploited as additional capacity comes on stream.

Commenting on the launch, George Ashworth said, “ABN AMRO has had a presence in the UK for over 150 years. It is a recognised brand on these shores and the launch of the lease business will bring welcome additional liquidity to bear in the UK SME market. With a strong balance sheet, brand, and product bandwidth, we look forward to welcoming many UK businesses as our clients in the months and years ahead.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, George Ashworth said that the liquidity crisis over the past few years meant there is a lot of pent-up demand for finance. He underlined that leasing could help preserve a company’s cashflow by spreading the cost of capital investment over time. The Financial Times also reported that the leasing division was aiming to gain 5 percent of the UK leasing market, or c. £1 billion based on FLA statistics.

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NACFB Compliance Services launched

The aim of this service is to take our members through the FCA application and regulation process around the new Consumer Credit Act regulations. Brokers will be called forward over the next two years to complete the application process with the FCA. The new service to members is being offered below the normal cost and will include a full application assistance package. The new service will begin with the hosting of multiple seminars, which are free for all NACFB members to attend.  

We all know the Financial Conduct Authority has taken over regulation of consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading. We are now moving into this transition period where brokers’ interim permission needs to move through the full application process, so they can continue carrying out consumer credit activities.  It is important that we help our members to comply with the new FCA regulations and we will also take NACFB brokers through the first anniversary audit.

The audit for each member of NACFB Compliance Services will be sponsored by four of our Patrons who are supporting this initiative. They are Shawbrook Bank, Investec, Aldermore and Close Brothers Asset Finance.

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Aldermore opens its inhouse training to brokers

Aldermore has developed a bespoke training programme for its 150 strong asset finance team as part of its strategy to build the best team in the industry. The in-house course is also available, free of charge, to 50 of asset finance brokers that work with the Bank.  Aldermore’s developed the two day training programme to ensure that all of the Bank’s asset finance staff have a solid grounding in the fundamentals of asset finance; the benefits relative to more traditional forms of finance and how solutions can be structured to benefit clients. In addition, content will focus on the specific requirements underwriters look for in transactions, the basics of credit underwriting and challenges in the regulatory environment.  

The programme aims to support the development of the next generation of asset finance professionals, both within the Bank and across the industry.  Commenting on the launch, Carl D’Ammassa, Managing Director of Asset Finance at Aldermore said, “We are committed to building the best and most competent team in our industry. While we have a number of vastly experienced asset finance specialists at Aldermore, we are keen to ensure every member of the team, regardless of experience or role develops their knowledge base. Investing in this sort of programme is testament to Aldermore’s belief in investing in people and developing talent . .

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Best of British at United Trust Bank

Brokers were invited to sample “The Best of British” at United Trust Bank’s annual broker event held on the roof terrace of their St James’ offices. The 18th floor venue enjoys sweeping 360 degree views across the city of London and beyond.  The invited guests, brokers from the fields of bridging, development finance and asset finance, sampled a selection of Britain’s finest wines, beers and spirits and took part in a friendly table competition designed to test the guests’ knowledge and palettes.

Members of the victorious table each won a bottle of award winning English sparkling wine Nyetimber Reserve Brut 2009 and an entry into United Trust Bank’s prestigious Best of British promotion with a chance to win tickets to a selection of the UK’s finest sporting and cultural events in 2015 including Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and the FA Cup Final . .

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Leaseurope seeks new Asset Finance head

Leaseurope, based in Brussels, is the voice of the leasing and automotive rental industries in Europe and is composed of 44 Member Associations in 32 countries. It is now seeking to recruit a new Head of Asset Finance and Research, reporting directly to the Director General.

This is a challenging position that requires an extremely dedicated and motivated professional who is eager to work on topics and in an industry that are relatively technical in nature. The successful candidate will also be able to distill technical messages, and position them at the right level and within the appropriate political and/or economic context, depending on the audience. Leaseurope is looking for someone who strives for excellence in their work, with excellent hands-on organisational and multi-tasking skills.

This individual must also be able to identify and make links between industry trends and future European legislative initiatives in view of steering the Federation’s research programme. Additionally . . 

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Brits shy about their figures?

The Leaseurope Top European Leasing Companies ranking provides a yearly update on new leasing volumes and portfolios of the largest leasing firms in Europe. In the latest survey, 79 European leasing companies took part in the 2013 Leaseurope Ranking Survey. Of those, 62 parent and stand-alone companies reported total new leasing volumes of more than €130 billion, which represents 52 percent of all leasing business written in Europe in 2013. The top 20 parent leasing companies accounted for just over 42 percent of the total new volumes in Europe for 2013, and 27 companies reported new volumes of over €1 billion. 

The UK, despite being one of the top two markets for leasing new volume in Europe, the other being Germany, remains shy of revealing how much business is attributable to its lessors. Once again, the Brits refuse to bare their figures in public, and the Leaseurope lessor rankings show only Bank of America Leasing at No. 28, and plucky Asset Advantage Group at No. 61.

So, where are the rest? Well of course, many UK lessors are actually subsidiaries of European lessors, the top names like SGEF, DLL, Volkswagen, Deutsche, Siemens, etc. all have UK subsidiaries whose figures would be subsumed in their parents’ consolidated numbers, and that’s a large part of the UK’s market. As for the UK born-and-bred lessors, anecdote has it that UK lessors like to keep their figures secret, if at all possible. Why tell the world you didn’t do as well as expected, or conversely that you’ve had a bumper harvest, it will only attract unwelcome scrutiny or even unkind comment. See the 2013 rankings based on consolidated figures . .

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Segment survey “a mixed bag”

Leaseurope reports that its valuable Index Segment Survey for 2013, produced in association with Invigors EMEA LLP, represents a bit of a mixed bag, with improvements for some asset classes and some indicators between 2012 and 2013, but a deterioration in others. Of the total outstanding portfolio reported, 40 percent is attributed to equipment, 31 percent to real estate, 23 percent to passenger cars and 6 percent to commercial vehicles.

Equipment and passenger cars saw improvements in profitability between 2012 and 2013, while real estate and trucks experienced declines. Despite this annual increase, equipment leasing saw profitability ratios deteriorating over the course of 2013, whereas trucks experienced slight growth towards the end of the year . .

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Onwards & Upwards

Jacqueline MillsLeaseurope has announced that their director of Asset Finance and Research, Jacqueline Mills, will step down effective 4 July 2014 to pursue another career opportunity, after a decade with Leaseurope in which the organisation has grown and developed immeasurably. Jacqueline joined Leaseurope in 2004 and served in increasingly demanding roles culminating in Director of Asset Finance and Research.

Tanguy van de Werve, Leaseurope’s Director General declared, “On behalf of Leaseurope and the entire team, I want to thank Jacqueline for her truly exceptional contribution to the Federation over the past ten years. Jacqueline has been instrumental in our efforts to build a strong and deep pool of talent within our organisation.”

Jacqueline looks back on her time at Leaseurope fondly, and probably not without considerable pride at her own and the organisation’s transformation and achievements. In her official statement she says . .

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New US focus on Europe

US leasing service providers are steadily staking out Europe for their wares. After a period of years when US interest in Europe appeared to wane, the recent announcement from Leaseurope, that International Decision Systems, PayNet, and Odessa Technologies, have joined as Leaseurope’s latest associate members, surely confirms their intent. Is this a reaction to the competitive wave of European service providers helping themselves to slices of the US market, or more a result of US companies examining all possible avenues for expansion post their great recession, is unclear. All that’s clear is that they are reaching out with focus on the European market, either to follow their clients, or to fill obvious gaps such as training e.g. Amembal Associates is busy putting on successful seminars and conferences on operating leasing, with London, Istanbul and Budapest this year, with more to come. 

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Cassiopae sponsors ZPL

Cassiopae has announced that it recently sponsored the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Polish Leasing Association (“ZPL”) on May 28-29 in Poland. ZPL publishes a quarterly, semi-annual, and annual compilation of statistics relating to the leasing market. The Association represents the most serious and reliable source of information in Poland about the leasing industry. The report published for the ZPL 20th anniversary was also sponsored by Cassiopae .  .

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FLA appoints new asset finance head

The FLA has appointed Simon Goldie as new Head of Asset Finance. Commenting on the appointment, Stephen Sklaroff said, “I am really pleased to welcome Simon to the FLA at such an important time for the asset finance markets. His skills and experience will help us build on recent progress in raising the industry’s profile with our stakeholders and customers, and in persuading politicians and regulators to help us support economic recovery even more effectively.”

Simon Goldie

Simon has built up significant public policy experience during his time at the Chartered Institute of Taxation as their head of external relations and at the Association of Consultancy and Engineering as their director of policy and external affairs. While working on campaigns for tax simplification, a taxpayers' charter and infrastructure investment, Simon was named one of the top 100 lobbyists in the country.

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