Investec enhances vehicle activities
Investec Asset Finance plc has acquired Mann Island Finance as part of its strategy to develop its asset finance offering and activities. Commenting on the acquisition Jo Jenner, Managing Director of Investec’s vehicle financing division, said, “The acquisition of an established player in the vehicle finance market with a reputation for high integrity and the opportunity to continue working with the existing senior management team at Mann Island represents an excellent opportunity to develop the business as a key part of the wider Investec Asset Finance Group . . .read more...
PCFG licence progress
Private & Commercial Finance Group (“PCFG”), the AIM quoted finance house, is pleased to advise that the Group’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2014 are, subject to audit, expected to be in line with market expectations. The Group also advises that it has recently increased its funding by £5 million through the successful negotiation of additional headroom on one of its existing facilities. This takes the current total committed facility headroom to £14 million. The preliminary results will be announced on 10 June 2014.
Scott Maybury, CEO, commented . .
State Securities merger
State Securities plc has announced changes to its operating structure and merger with its sister company, Print Finance. The new business is called Five Arrows Business Finance Plc. The merger of State Securities and Print Finance forms part of Rothschild Group’s growth strategy and ongoing commitment to expand its businesses organically and by acquisition.
Paul Coggins has successfully spearheaded Print Finance’s rapid growth and is highly regarded by its stakeholders. He will be tasked with driving further expansion of the combined businesses. Jeremy Guilfoyle, Commercial Director of Five Arrows Business Finance Plc said, “This is an exciting time for the merged businesses. Under the highly effective leadership of Paul Coggins, our combined operation will be able to draw on the skills and expertise of both the State Securities and Print Finance brands, extending their position in and commitment to the commercial finance intermediary market.”
As part of the merger, over the past six months, the business administration, payout, customer care, legal, accounting and recoveries functions of Print Finance have been transferred to State Securities’ head offices in Southampton to leverage its existing resources and experience. Print Finance’s offices in Kent will remain as a business origination unit for Five Arrows Business Finance Plc.read more...
Lombard wins Moneyfacts Asset Financier award
Lombard, the asset finance arm of RBS and the UK’s largest provider of asset finance, has been presented with the prestigious Business Moneyfacts Award for Best Leasing & Asset Finance Provider 2014. This makes it six years in a row that Lombard has won this coveted category, having previously won in 2009 through to 2013.
Lombard’s Managing Director, Richard Hemsley, said, “We are honoured to be presented with this award once again. Our success can be attributed to the focus of the Lombard team who are all committed to helping our customers achieve success. We put our customers at the heart of everything we do, striving to make it easy for our customer to deal with us, providing them with flexible solutions to meet their needs and continually enhancing the service we offer."read more...
How the Budget affects our industry
Reactions to the Budget are becoming as important as the Budget itself, and certainly more insightful, as the Chancellor’s carefully scripted pronouncements are dissected and digested by various segments of industry. Leasing has always kept a watchful eye on Budget pronouncements, because budgets are about tax as much as anything else, which still touches leasing even in these tax-disadvantageous times. Below we list a wide range of post-Budget views that are specific or of interest to our industry, in a nutshell the doubling of Annual Investment Allowance (“AIA”) to £500,000, then some minor adjustments affecting cars, and the novel idea to allow investments in P2P platforms like Funding Circle, into ISAs.
Turning first to AIAs, will it dampen trade for lessors? George Tonks of Invigors states, “The AIA will be doubled to £500k from April (with the usual time apportionment calculations for different year ends) and continue at this level to 31 December 2015. However, the AIA rules mean that this provides an incentive for customers to use HP (or loans) rather than leasing.” The steer towards loans was perhaps quickly recognised by the British Bankers Association, whose leader Anthony Browne said, “Business investment is crucial to the recovery. By extending and doubling the size of the annual investment allowance the Government has given businesses the confidence and certainty they need to invest.”
Carl D’Ammassa, Managing Director, Aldermore Asset Finance saw it positively, saying, “Today’s announcement to double the annual investment allowance for UK businesses provides much needed support for the five million SMEs across the country. We have seen a number of changes to the allowance in recent years so this extension period provides some favourable conditions to boost investment in UK SMEs. “The increase will allow businesses to bring forward investment plans and take advantage of the tax break. Aldermore is committed to supporting UK SMEs with their investment needs and is making over £750 million in asset finance available throughout 2014.”
Do brokers and funders prefer HP to leases, or are they equally attractive? A quick straw poll agreed that there would be a pull towards more HP or loans, but that a lot of equipment was available on leases with high service content or other options and these would stay as leases. Nick Simpson of Asset Finance Solutions felt that the AIA increase should be good for businesses, brokers and funders alike, as in his view the vast majority of SMEs’ larger capital expenditure continues to be via HP, with leasing more in the smaller sales aid transactions . . .read more...
Lessors weaned off tax addiction?
Those corporate tax advisers who claim that avoiding paying tax unnecessarily is a “God-given right” have suffered a further setback in the new atmosphere of corporates giving aggressive tax sparing schemes a wide berth. HMRC’s large business service has reported that the amount of tax suspected to be underpaid through the complex misuse of leasing contracts has fallen sharply once more, by 75 percent in two years, from £1.86 billion to £471 million last year.
In the heyday of tax driven big ticket leasing that figure would have been nearer the £4 billion mark. Pressure put on the tax advisory arms of the big accountancy firms by HMRC has clearly had an effect. However, the sea change in public attitudes to aggressive tax sparing schemes by big business, especially in the light of the seven-figure salaries of their senior executives, has caused big business to shy away, for fear of public backlash, and lessened chances to win public sector contracts in the UK and EU.
The only downside for HMRC might be that if they undershoot tax revenue targets, whereas once they could head straight for the big ticket lessors to claw a few billion back, they don’t have that rescue route anymore.read more...
The security blanket
Adam Tyler, CEO at the NACFB, writes, “We have been issuing advice to our members on the topic of the Consumer Credit Act. It’s not always been easy to predict how the rules were due to change, but by ploughing through 200-plus pages of Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) advice, by applying for our own interim licence, and by holding a lot of meetings, we’ve reached a position of being the hub of information that our brokers have been crying out for since last summer.
The main focus has been to advise all our members that they must apply for their interim permission regardless of their plans post April 1st. We have also gone as far as discussing certain categories for certain classes of commercial brokers. One of the other main thrusts was to ensure that all of our members understood that this was regulated business as defined by the Consumer Credit Act, and not as some thought that permission is only needed . .read more...
Why arent we getting more SME business?
Is leasing getting its deserved share of the SME market in the UK, some think not? All the talk from many funders is about targeting SMEs who, confirmed by countless surveys but denied by the banking community, remain severely underfunded. Leasing statistics for 2013 show that new business volumes have at last started moving up again, but let’s be realistic, not by all that much. At the same time, that shadowy new-fangled categorisation of Alternative Finance, where by default leasing has been allowed to be relegated to (somewhere near the bottom of the list), is trumpeting substantial gains in its business levels.
Today’s Daily Telegraph runs a story about the rise of Alternative Funding and how it is transforming funding prospects for SMEs. It was triggered, possibly, by the launch of a new website, www.alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk , designed to attract SMEs and explain clearly how Alternative Finance can help them. But in the process, leasing seems to have disappeared without a trace, the website just talks of Crowd-Funding, Peer-to-Peer funding, and Invoice Auctioning.
So, in the new Funding vocabulary, it looks like leasing and asset finance has been taken out of the mainstream and tucked at the back of Alternative Finance, where it now has been quietly forgotten. Who is going to do something about it?
Siemens identifies Locked Liquidity problem
Siemens Financial Services has issued a report which finds that as tightened international banking regulation looks set to restrict some companies’ long-term access to loans, industrial businesses are seeking ways to unlock liquidity in their operations and supply chains, in order to maximize their available working capital.
Liquidity is required for use in short-term initiatives to seize market opportunities, such as new product development, acquisitions or sales and marketing campaigns. Billions of euros, however, remain locked in outright purchase of plant and equipment in the industrial sector, unavailable for short-term working capital requirements which support company growth and competitive positioning . .read more...
Intrapreneurs: entrepreneurs in a day job?
The term intrapreneur refers to employees who innovate within the framework of a larger business, as opposed to an entrepreneur who strikes out on their own. Now new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has suggested that the UK’s economic growth could be boosted if larger, established firms adopted the entrepreneurial spirit that drives start-ups. In other words, by encouraging “intrapreneurialism” among their employees.
The research identified that although 37 percent of employees wanted the chance to become intrapreneurs within their organisation, only 12 percent of companies facilitated such behaviourread more...
KPMG joins Leaseurope
Leaseurope has announced that KPMG has signed up as its newest Associate Member. KPMG partner and Dutch segment Lead Leasing, Evelyn Vinke-Smits, said, “By joining Leaseurope as an Associate Member we underline the importance of active knowledge-sharing and a valuable networking platform in the leasing industry. We consider leasing as an important market in stimulating the economic growth in Europe by financing key assets for both large and SME companies. We view Leaseurope as a high quality organisation that not only strives for a continuous dialogue with different stakeholders on regulatory and accounting changes but also stimulates its members to be supportive to change and innovation and new and sustainable business models. As a professional audit, tax and advisory firm, we are pleased to contribute to this agenda for the future.”read more...
Come on you Brits!
LeasingWorld has been informed that the Leaseurope 2013 Ranking Survey of Top European Leasing Companies is NOW OPEN. The aim of this survey is to establish a precise picture of European leasing firms and their activities using data straight from the companies themselves.
Up till now British lessors have shied away from submitting their figures, citing vague reasons like Data Protection, and confidentiality. Continental lessors do not seem to suffer any such constraints. Last year no UK lessor appeared in the top 25 listing, which is clearly misleading as there are several that ought to, and it may seem to some that the UK has a phantom leasing industry.
So, we urge a full turnout for UK lessors this time round, it surely can't be an insurmountable request? Companies willing to participate are asked to provide their new business and outstandings for the year 2013 and a ranking table is produced based on this information. The ranking is broken down according to the type of assets financed, i.e. equipment, automotive and/or real estate.read more...
GE Capital tie-up with Dell
GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (“CDF”) has been selected by Dell Financial Services (“DFS”) as a financing source for channel partners selling Dell products and services. In addition to select countries in North America and Europe where financing is already available, both parties intend to continue expanding the program in 2014, and beyond.
The program offers subsidised interest on extended repayment terms while allowing Dell channel partners to request additional credit capacity. Combined with GE Capital’s global channel expertise and 24/7 online account management system, this new program can help them succeed in today’s economic environment. “Whether a Dell reseller is expanding the services it offers, or just needs to provide credit to its end-users, we’re in the business of supporting the working capital needs of the channel,” said Mike Marcolina, managing director of GE Capital CDF.read more...
Bullish outlook for European leasing
Leaseurope and consultants Invigors EMEA, have published their latest Leaseurope/Invigors European Business Confidence Survey (“EBCS”), which was conducted in December 2013. The findings indicate that respondents are noticeably more optimistic about the next six months, with many of the survey’s measures showing a significant improvement from the previous survey conducted in June 2013.
Commenting on these results, Invigors EMEA Partner Richard Ryan surmised, “Business sentiment in the European asset finance industry is markedly more positive as the outlook for growth in many European economies continues to improve. Over 60 percent of respondents in the December survey are more optimistic . .read more...
Major Lease Accounting & Tax conference
On Tuesday 29th April in London, a gathering of lease accounting and taxation experts will gather to inform and discuss the ramifications of the many aspects of current accounting and tax issues that are impacting the leasing. Under the chairmanship of David Maxwell, a member of the IASB/FASB Working Group on Leasing, as well as CEO of Classic Technology, the full day conference will present experts such as Sarah Geisman - IASB, Charlotte Lo - KPMG, Twan van Limpt - EY, Enzo Ciccia - PwC, David Choppings - <oore Stephens, and George Tonks - Invigors, complemented by practitioners such as Andrew Tempest from EasyJet, and Andrew Apps from BP.
For those who really want to roll their sleeves up, the following day, April 30th, features the all-important practical session - Practical Application of the Leasing Standard - which will have delegates doing case studies, practical examples, and hands-on exercises.
To view the prospectus, CLICK HERE.read more...