Welcome to Leasing Life’s quarterly e-magazine for asset finance and leasing professionals in the UK and beyond.

If leaders are made (and not born) then our featured CEO in this edition, Matt Roper, a trained and qualified accountant and auditor, first learnt his craft two decades ago on farmers' kitchen tables in rural Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. 

Roper, who joined Close Brothers over five years ago as Group Chief Credit Risk Officer, will take charge of Close Brothers Commercial – from the outgoing CEO, Neil Davies – on 1 August, and will be at the helm of one of the UK's top leasing gigs. I sat down with Matt Roper to discuss his plans, where the new growth areas are and to understand why running marathons and ‘baby ultras’ is part of his DNA.

Also in this edition, we bring you a country report on Belarus; a comment on the law and asset-backed lending in Scotland; and we talk with Aldermore about the health and direction of the UK construction sector and its potential for commercial financing and leasing. 

Alejandro Gonzalez, editor