Industry news

CEO of Close Brothers Retail takes the helm at FLA

14 October 2022

Ex-JCB Finance MD Paul Jennings joins Aston University

The former managing director of JCB Finance has joined Aston University as a visiting professor.

Paul Jennings has joined Aston University’s Advanced Services Group within the College of Business and Social Sciences with his main focus being on servitisation and how outcome-based contracts can aid the pathway to Net Zero.

Jennings has nearly 50 years’ experience in the finance industry, having been at JCB Finance in various roles for over 43 years before retiring earlier this year.

He has also recently retired as a board director of the London-based Finance & Leasing Association and chair of their Asset Finance Division.

Jennings has recently been awarded an honorary fellowship by the London Institute of Banking and Finance and is a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. He has been an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers since 1980.

Jennings said: “I am thrilled to have joined Aston University and look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to the next generation of business minds.

“As banks, asset managers and insurers focus more on the road to net zero, financial institutions will increasingly play an active part in encouraging manufacturers to reduce CO2 emissions from their operations and products and participate in the circular economy. Aston University will be a part of making it happen.”

Image credit: MrBobro /

10 October 2022

UK asset finance new business grew by 10% in August 2022

Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew in August 2022 by 10% compared with the same month in 2021. In the first eight months of 2022, new business was 3% higher than in the same period in 2021, according to new figures by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

The business equipment finance and plant and machinery finance sectors reported new business up in August 2022 by 8% and 12% respectively, compared with the same month in 2021. Over the same period, commercial vehicle finance new business increased by 6%.

Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “August saw the asset finance market report its strongest growth in new business since March of this year, driven by growth across several asset sectors. Demand for asset finance from SMEs remained buoyant as new lending to these businesses increased by 20% compared with August 2021.

“We welcome the Government’s recent announcement focusing on growth through increased business investment. With as much as 40% of UK investment in machinery and equipment funded by the asset finance industry, we urge the Government to ensure that measures to promote investment such as the capital allowances regime create a level playing field and do not exclude leasing.”

1 October 2022

Plans to sell UK challenger bank Shawbrook for £2bn dropped

Private equity owners of UK-based asset finance provider Shawbrook have dropped plans to sell the challenger bank, the Financial Times reported citing four unnamed sources.

The decision by BC Partners and Pollen Street Capital comes after they could not attract bids worth £2bn for the lender.

International investors are cautious about investing in the UK market due to the uncertain political landscape and soaring inflation, the sources said, adding that volatile markets and a wider fall in dealmaking activity have also affected the sale.

It was not immediately clear when Shawbrook will be put up for sale again, a source said, while another said it could take up to 18 months before the sale is reinitiated.

British private equity firms were also considering an initial public offering for the bank, but that plan has also been called off.

The development comes as the UK economy combats the worst inflationary forces in four decades and it could fall into a recession.

“If you are looking at the UK from the outside, you are pausing now,” one of the sources said.

In 2017, Shawbrook Group was acquired by BC Partners and Pollen Street Capital in a public-to-private transaction.

6 October 2022

Finativ to bolster sector expertise with Jeff Longhurst appointment

UK-based finance and consulting services provider Finativ has appointed Jeff Longhurst as consulting director in a move to expand its sector expertise.

He brings more than four decades of experience in invoice finance, with more than 20 years of experience serving as CEO/managing director in large banks, foreign bank subsidiaries, specialist lenders and independents.

Longhurst is believed to have strong market connections, having served as chairman and CEO of the Asset Based Finance Association and managing director of commercial and asset-based finance at UK Finance.

He also has experience in setting up venture capital-backed finance businesses, which he later sold, and advised several invoice finance, and fintech businesses.

As per the official statement, the subject matter expertise offered by Longhurst allows Finativ to help clients expand from asset to invoice finance, or vice versa, provide guidance to new entrants to the receivables and ABL financing markets and offer insights to existing and emerging clients.

Last month, Finativ appointed Kevin Davies and Mark Stoddart as consulting directors to bolster its data strategy and process improvement practices.

28 October 2022

CHG-MERIDIAN acquires OPC Asset Solutions

CHG-MERIDIAN has acquired Mumbai, India-based asset lifecycle manager OPC Asset Solutions for an undisclosed amount. In a statement the group said the acquisition is part of CHG-MERIDIAN’s growth, internationalisation and sustainability strategy. Similar to CHG-MERIDIAN, OPC Asset Solutions specialises in asset lifecycle management, including long-term leasing of industrial, IT and healthcare equipment for B2B customers.

25 October 2022

HTB structured asset finance completes £3m asset refinance

Hampshire Trust Bank (HTB) structured asset finance has completed a £3m asset refinance to help a container hire group of businesses. The case was introduced by Approved Business Finance to HTB because the client was enjoying a doubling of business volumes from pre-covid levels and was looking to take advantage of acquisition opportunities.

25 October

UK's Haydock Finance targets dairy sector

The agricultural division of Haydock Finance has launched a product for the UK dairy sector. Dairy Cattle Finance “includes refinancing and has been designed to support British farmers with their cattle purchasing and cash flow requirements,” the provider said during an Agri Finance webinar unveiling to its broker partners.

25 October

UK's Haydock Finance targets dairy sector

The agricultural division of Haydock Finance has launched a product for the UK dairy sector. Dairy Cattle Finance “includes refinancing and has been designed to support British farmers with their cattle purchasing and cash flow requirements,” the provider said during an Agri Finance webinar unveiling to its broker partners.

25 October

Catfoss Finance in undisclosed block discounting deal

UK-based asset finance provider Catfoss Finance has announced a block discounting partnership with investment manager Downing LLP for an undisclosed amount. In a statement, Catfoss said the facility would enable Catfoss to extend its reach to more UK SMEs, providing hire-purchase, leasing and refinance for business assets, the business.

21 October 2022

Bibby Financial Services eyes marine industry with new unit

Bibby Financial Services (BFS), which caters to SMEs, is planning to launch a European marine finance business in the first quarter of 2023. BFS Marine Finance will fund the purchase of marine assets such as coastal ships, tugs and barges, wind-farm servicing and commuter vessels valued between £1m and £10m.

21 October 2022

White Oak hits £125m lending in Q3 2022

White Oak, a UK non-bank lender, has announced it has provided over £125m of funding to UK SMEs and mid-corporates during Q3, a record for the firm. It includes a strong September, which saw White Oak place £44m on their own book. This brings its total value funded year to date to £280m.

14 October 2022

Alfa in European tie-up with ITDS

Alfa, a global provider of software and services to the auto and equipment finance sectors, has unveiled a new partnership with ITDS, a European business and IT consultancy. ITDS specialises in delivering IT engineer outsourcing, software integration and fintech product development for the fintech, eCommerce and healthcare sectors.

13 October 2022

Time Finance launches new asset-based lending solution for SMEs

Time Finance has launched a new Asset Based Lending (ABL) funding product to help UK-based businesses to drive growth. The offering, aimed at UK SMEs, will enable clients to unlock working capital and raise finance amid rising costs. UK SMEs will be able to access funds linked to the assets within their business, Time Finance said.

11 October 2022

Leasepath and DataGardener in tie-up

Leasepath, an IT and software provider for equipment and asset finance, has agreed on a strategic partnership with DataGardener, a London-based provider of financial data and lending intelligence tools for credit and risk professionals. Robert Holland, chief sales & marketing officer for DataGardener, said: “Working with the company was a breath of fresh air.”

11 October 2022

NETSOL taps AWS to bolster cloud capabilities

NETSOL Technologies, an IT and enterprise software solutions provider, has turned to Amazon Web Series (AWS) to offer services in the cloud computing domain. The tie-up is also aimed at providing cloud-based solutions at scale to drive transformation. Initially, NETSOL’s collaboration with AWS will focus on the North American market.

1 October 2022

Solifi updates wholesale finance SaaS

Solifi, a technology provider for the secured finance industry, has released the latest version of the Solifi Wholesale Finance SaaS solution. The latest release includes features to manage inventory audits, provide real-time reconfirmation of order commitments, and streamline transactions. The features enable clients to finance and manage assets through automation, it said.

1 October 2022

UK small business lender Allica Bank hits milestone

UK’s SME fintech lender Allica Bank has announced that it has hit its target of becoming profitable in 2022. The lender, which began operations in March 2020, has been profitable on a monthly basis since June 2022. Allica Bank has already touched the £1bn lending mark to mid-sized SMEs with monthly loan originations reaching close to £1bn (annualised).