FLA looks ahead to 2015
5th December, 2014 - Stephen Sklaroff, Director General of the Finance & Leasing Association, spoke to Leasing World at the FLA Christmas Drinks reception in the City of London recently, and when asked about what might lay ahead for the leasing and asset finance industry in 2015, had this to share with our readers.
“2015, it’s going to be a very interesting year. It will be interesting partly because so many of our member companies will be going through the authorisation process of the new regulatory regime, and there will be all the work that needs to be done around that, and discussions with the regulator to make sure that the regime is as fit for purpose as possible.
“It’s also going to be a very interesting year politically, because in the middle of the year we have got a general election coming and, whatever happens in that general election, there will inevitably be consequences for regulation, and the environment in which our members do business . .read more...
Autumn Statement comments roundup
3rd December, 2014 - George Tonks, Invigors LLP: “Coming towards the end of this Parliament it was not surprising that only limited corporation tax changes were announced, although some asset finance companies may see an effect from these. For example the limitation on the offset of brought forward tax losses within banks and the proposed devolution of corporation tax in Northern Ireland, which is a reflection on the competition from the 12.5% rate in the Republic. The announcement of a 25% tax on profits “diverted” from the UK will be welcomed by many as representing a proper counter to more aggressive tax avoidance: the details of this will be interesting as the rate is above the standard corporation tax rate which will fall to 20% from April 2015. Correspondingly the absence of any announcement on tax relief for interest costs will come as a relief for the asset finance industry given the recent noise about this under the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project.
Simon Goldie, Head of Asset Finance at the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), said:
“The FLA welcomes today’s announcement of more funds to encourage business investment by SMEs. We are in active discussion with the British Business Bank to ensure that its schemes support all parts of the asset finance (leasing and hire purchase) markets – both bank and non-bank lenders – which already provide a significant proportion of the funding available to SMEs.”
On SME lending, Carl D’Ammassa, Managing Director of Asset Finance, Aldermore, said, “The Chancellor’s commitment to easing business rates and extending the package of measures to encourage lending sends a positive message to the UK’s hardworking SMEs. Easing business rates will help to create a more level playing field between digital businesses and those firms that are keeping our local high streets alive. It is important that we continue to reassess the fees imposed on businesses as the environment they operate in changes. Today, the Chancellor showed a clear commitment to ensuring that competition in the SME market remains rife.
“The package of measures announced to further encourage SME lending will also be welcome news to those smaller UK firms which hold huge potential . .
Butchers Hall for the chop
2nd December, 2014 - Possibly the friendliest and most mellow event in the leasing calendar, the FLA Christmas Drinks reception yet again pulled a large crowd of FLA-ers into the warming venue of the Butchers Hall by St Paul’s in the City of London, a welcome hot-pot on a bitterly cold December night. The Butchers Hall itself is for the chop, thankfully only temporarily, for the duration of the Paternoster Square redevelopment scheme. Not so the Director General’s address, which broke the record for the shortest address in FLA history, only 4 minutes and 13 seconds, proving that good news rolls off the tongue a lot quicker than bad news.
The news from the front was that the times of retrenchment were past and meaningful advances had been made on the battlefield of new business development by the sales battalions. Attacks of new formulation regulation-gas had proved impervious to the normal counter of ducking and diving, but the noxious clouds had been endured and new techniques of defence devised by the ever-inventive legal divisions have proved up to the job. The Director General consoled the crisis-weary cohorts that the end of the struggle was in sight.
There were no medals awarded on the night, but there was the light-hearted Victoria Tie award, for the most flamboyant neckwear. As can be expected, the neckwear of most leasing executives follows the combinational look of Steady Eddie/Safe pair of Hands/ and Trust Me, but two ties stood out, and we show them below. These now set a very high benchmark for future Victoria Tie awards, so Gentlemen, please add “Flamboyant Tie” to your Christmas present wish-lists.read more...
Charmed with chocolates
28th November, 2014 - LeasingWorld received a lovely pre-Christmas gift this morning from Funding Circle, an Advent calendar full of chocolates. Nice thought, it was from Funding Circle's business development team and thanked us for all our support in 2014. Since its inception, Funding Circle has funded £443 million of loans, not just from private investors but also from the Funding for Lending scheme.
Funding Circle is a friend of the asset finance industry in that from the early days it recognised that lease brokers were feeding in deals that they couldn't get funded in other ways. From that starting point it developed a special leasing/asset finance proposition for lease brokers entering their deals, paying introduction fees of up to five percent. It also recruited a number of asset finance specialists to its team, to go out and pitch to brokers to encourage them to think about putting through more business, and nowadays a surprisingly large number of brokers have a member of staff inputting transactions for funding into Funding Circle's platform.
This is all good, and we wish Funding Circle, and all the Peer to Peer platforms the best of luck with their plans. But is there an elephant in the room?read more...
Aldermore Top-Three FLS lender to SMEs
27th November, 2014 - Figures released by the Bank of England for Q3 2014 show that Aldermore was third in a list of participants in the Funding for Lending Scheme (“FLS”) in the all-important category of lending to SMEs. See the latest FLS Usage & Lending data HERE, where Column 4 (“of which lending to SMEs”) is the place to look. Aldermore’s net new lending to SMEs in Q3 2014, as part of FLS, was £73 million, which outstripped rivals Close Brothers, Investec, and Shawbrook in FLS lending.
Who was No.1?read more...
PCFG reports robust Interims
26th November, 2014 - Private & Commercial Finance Group plc “PCFG”), the AIM quoted finance house, has announced its unaudited interim results for the six month period ended 30 September 2014.
• The total portfolio has grown 9 percent to £94 million (2013: £86 million)
• 4 percent increase in new business originations in the period to £28.3 million (2013: £27.3 million)
• 19 percent increase in returning customers, representing 12.6 percent of originations
• Committed facility headroom of £11.8 million to fund portfolio growth, which has increased by a further £8 million since period end.
Commenting on the results David Anthony, Chairman of PCF, said . .read more...
Toshiba UK offers zero percent finance to SMBs
25th November 2014 – Toshiba UK’s sales financing programme with Shire Leasing using an online finance solution for small and medium size businesses (SMBs), has added major new benefits to those featured in the original July launch [SEE JULY LAUNCH DETAILS], for example the offering from Shire Leasing (acting as principal and lender) now includes zero percent APR loans with the first instalment usually due after the first 2 months, or leasing payments starting from just £19 per month – as well as including Toshiba’s new Satellite Pro R50-B laptop4.
“We’re thrilled to be building on the success of this rolling initiative and furthering our support for this sector,” said Santiago Alviar-Baquero, Head of SMB and Distribution for Toshiba Northern Europe. “39 percent of organisations identify a lack of funding as a barrier to forming a robust transformation strategy, so we’re proud to be working with Shire Leasing to help combat this obstacle. Agility is crucial for SMBs. We believe devices like our Satellite Pro R50-B will be key to achieving this in such a fast-paced, competitive marketplace.” . .read more...
United Trust Bank concurs with broker optimism
24th November, 2014 - Nearly 70 percent of brokers operating in the asset finance sector have a positive outlook for the future, expecting the market to expand over the next three years. Just 6 percent think the market will contract and the remaining respondents expect the market to stay about the same. The survey, carried out by specialist funder, United Trust Bank, also found that nearly 60 percent of brokers expect to see more lenders entering the Asset Finance sector whilst 20 percent predict some lenders will fail or withdraw from the market.
When asked what impact the new FCA regulations will have on their businesses, surprisingly an overwhelming 96 percent of brokers said it would have no change or just a slight change to their business levels. 56 percent responded that the slight change would just mean more paperwork.
Martin Nixon, Head of Asset Finance at United Trust Bank, commented, “We’ve had a very busy year to date at United Trust Bank and I agree with the majority of brokers who say that there’s further room for the Asset Finance sector to expand.
“The last two years has seen a lot of new funders start up or return to the sector. Whether this trend continues, or whether there may be some consolidation at some point in the medium term will be of great interest to brokers . .
NACFB: Europe wants to know
4th December, 2014 - The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (“NACFB”) were invited to the EU Conference on SME Funding and Bank Relations, in Brussels, on December 2nd. This event was part of a wider debate across all the EU states to help small businesses get better access to finance. It gave CEO Adam Tyler, on behalf of the Association . .read more...
Investec launches container finance
Investec Asset Finance plc (“IAF”) has launched a new specialist container box finance offering, led by Keith Glasscoe, as it seeks to build a significant portfolio in the asset class. Keith Glasscoe has more than 25 years experience in the Asset Finance sector and joined Investec six months ago with a mandate to originate larger sized deals with high quality corporate credits. Before joining Investec, Keith held senior positions at Barclays and Bank of Scotland, including leading the Structured Transport Finance team at Bank of Scotland for 10 years . .read more...
More huge VAT bills
A PwC press release says: Banks, insurers and other financial services firms across Europe face extra VAT costs running into £100 millions in the UK alone, following an ECJ judgment in September. The ruling means services supplied between a group’s headquarters and its branches may now be subject to VAT. Today’s judgment concerned Skandia America Corporation and the Swedish Tax Authority. Other tax authorities across the EU will now consider how they implement the rules.
Stephen Morse, tax partner at PwC, commented: “The case significantly expands the VAT net for financial services firms. Banks and insurers are likely to be affected most. It’s standard for head office costs to be shared between a group’s subsidiaries. Any internal costs between a firm’s branches will now face VAT, rather than just the external costs.
Many financial services firms will see their VAT bills soar . .read more...
Fireworks at Barcelona Convention?
Commenting on a preview of the three best innovation projects from Leaseurope’s Future Group Programme, Director General, Tanguy van de Werve, said, “It has been a great four meetings this year, again with many first-rate ideas. The Future Group session at the Annual Convention in Barcelona promises to be explosive!”
“We are very encouraged by the numerous messages of support we have received from CEOs across Europe, saying how useful this Leaseurope’s Future Group initiative proves to be. An e-publication presenting all the class of 2014 projects will be released by year-end, in line with Leaseurope’s objective to give back to the industry,” he added.read more...
Is the Queen off balance sheet?
Her Majesty the Queen is leasing a luxury Agusta Westland helicopter for a year, it has been reported recently. The helicopter will bear the Royal crest and apparently will be used on a trial basis. According to the Daily Express, a spokesman for the Queen said the monarch had secured an annual lease for a helicopter, for a fixed number of hours. It represented good value for money because it will provide an alternative to chartering a number of different helicopters, the spokesman said. While everyone else consider matters such as whether this is Prince William’s birthday present, the hot topic in the leasing community is - according to Julian Rose at www.assetfinancepolicy.co.uk - the appropriate accounting treatment is for the Royal chopper. In his blog, he wonders if . .read more...
Who wants to be a millionaire?
The broker market has gone through remarkable transformations in the past four years. It has come from being a bog-standard part of the market, swinging in and out of fashion or favour with lessors, to almost the only game in town for some lessors, and a fertile hunting ground for yield hungry private equity houses. The large brokers who have developed their own-book portfolio as well, have had a boost in the past two years from the absence of low rate clearing bank competition and the virtual disappearance of the overdraft. Meanwhile the lessors that fund them have grown in strength and focus from taking up market share left free by ING Lease’s departure.
Today, many of the large broker funders are operating at a new higher level, higher levels of business, higher standards of credit underwriting, and higher standards of professionalism brought on in part by greater exposure to complex regulatory requirements and training from funders. The result has been that these large broker funders are attractive targets for private equity players, and if you are in the fortunate position of owning a stake in a large broker funder, you can at last see an exit for yourself, and the prospect of a very satisfactory payout for all your hard work . .read more...
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 . .read more...