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6 October | People

John Phillipou to succeed Rebecca McNeil as FLA Chair

Credit: sabthai via Shutterstock

Rebecca McNeil, the CEO of Retail at Close Brothers, made history by becoming the first woman to chair the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) two years ago. However, she is now stepping down from both her position at Close Brothers and her role as the FLA's Chair.  

John Phillipou, the Managing Director of SME Lending at Paragon Bank, will succeed her. With over 25 years in business lending and experience at Bank of Scotland, JCB Finance, Citigroup, and Deutsche Leasing, Phillipou is poised to lead during a period of significant industry change driven by technological advancements.  

He aims to ensure the sector's voice is heard by policymakers and raise its industry profile. McNeil is the board Chair of the Women’s Sport Trust, a national charity. 

In 2022, FLA members provided £150 billion in finance, including £116 billion in consumer credit, £51 billion for cars, and £34 billion for business and public sector equipment investments.

9 October | Brokers

FXE Technologies enhances SmartFinance Hub

Around 50 commercial broker and funder representatives gathered at Lord’s Cricket Ground on October 5 to learn about the latest update to FXE Technologies’ asset finance hub, the SmartFinance Hub.  

This digital engine, known for its white-label capability, is used by brokers on their client-facing websites to assess proposals instantly and embed compliant processes into the proposal management process.  

The recent expansion of the SmartFinance Hub allows brokers to connect with all funders they work with and comes at time when small business lending rates are on the rise in the UK.  

Katrin Herrling, CEO of FXE Technologies, noted that the solution reduces decision times to hours and cuts the need for documentation in half. It offers brokers a single portal to connect with funders and gain immediate feedback on how well proposals fit with funders' programmes, while also providing funders with tools to efficiently manage their broker channels and ensure compliance.  

18 October | Green Mobility

Europe's top leasing companies fall short of green EV targets 

A study by Transport & Environment (T&E) claims that Europe's top seven leasing companies, including Volkswagen Financial Services, Mobilize Financial Services, Ayvens (formerly ALD/LeasePlan), Arval, Leasys, Alphabet, and Athlon, are not meeting their claims of green leadership in green mobility for electric vehicles (EVs).  

T&E evaluated these companies using a framework of seven criteria, and none of them succeeded. These leasing giants oversee nearly 10 million cars in the EU and play a significant role in the transition to e-mobility and the reduction of transport emissions.  

However, they have not committed to fully phasing out fossil fuel cars, unlike many carmakers and large corporations pledging 100% electric by 2030. T&E noted that data disclosure and targets for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were generally poor among these leasing firms, and their BEV uptake was lower than the general market in some cases. Due to their size and financial standing, T&E calls upon these seven companies to set a 100% BEV target by 2028, at the latest. 

25 October | Partnership

Leasepath and Great American Insurance unveil tie-up  

Leasepath, a US-based provider of equipment finance lifecycle software, is collaborating with Great American Insurance, a specialist in the equipment finance industry.  

This partnership aims to leverage Leasepath's cloud infrastructure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to introduce various features, including simplified insurance quoting during equipment finance origination, streamlined default options on financed assets, automated invoicing, and real-time insurance coverage updates. The collaboration focuses on improving service speed and providing data-driven insights to customers.  

Leasepath's CEO, Jeffrey Bilbrey, highlighted the goal of optimising the end-to-end customer experience for equipment insurance. Cody Sanguinetti, Divisional Assistant Vice President at Great American Insurance Group's Specialty Equipment Division, praised Leasepath's innovative solutions and the seamless access they provide to insurance products and programmes for mutual customers. 

Leasepath introduced two fresh features to its customer engagement and originations platform in August 2023.

25 September | Net Zero

Alfa commits to science-based emission reduction by 2050 

Alfa, a software platform provider for the asset finance sector, has had its science-based emissions reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).  

Alfa's commitment includes reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 42% by 2030 compared to 2022 and measuring and reducing Scope 3 emissions. The company also intends to work toward a long-term net-zero target, aiming to reduce all Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 90% by 2050 compared to 2022.  

Any remaining unabated emissions will be neutralised through permanent carbon removal and storage once the long-term target is achieved. Alfa will report regularly and transparently on its progress using 2022 as a base year. The company's software platform, Alfa Systems, is continually enhanced to address the industry's green challenges and opportunities, including tracking and reporting Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.  

The SBTi is a partnership between the UN’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).