Editor's note

Issue 330  March 2021

Subscriber edition

New Year optimism about a Covid-free 2021 has been tempered by reality this month in largely predictable ways. The road to an investment-led recovery in Europe on the back of a successful vaccine rollout will be a far longer and possibly bumpier ride than we first thought.

In the meantime, the community of asset finance providers – big and small – and their corporate and SME customers, will remain at some level dependent on State programmes of support.

Unsurprisingly, the UK Government’s Spring Budget has attracted scrutiny, in particular from Julian Rose, the director of Asset Finance Policy, who questioned the wording to proposed legislation for capital investment "super deductions".

Under the scheme, companies will be able to reduce their tax bill based on how much they invest, but what is less clear is how the initial equipment or plant purchase will be financed, as no funding provision for lessees to cover the HP investment is spelled out in law, says Rose.

On the topic of the UK budget, Ed Rimmer, the interim CEO of Time Finance, offers his take.

This digital edition also includes two long-read interviews with key figures.

The first is with Carmen Ene, the CEO of 3stepIT, who I interviewed about her journey from Ceauşescu’s Romania to become the CEO of an IT lifecycle management joint venture with BNP Paribas. Ene discusses the e-waste crisis and the JV’s plan for Europe.

Sam Geneen, the non-executive chairman of Star Asset Finance, is a UK leasing veteran of 45 years. We discuss the early 1980s, when the domination of the clearing banks in asset finance began its decline, and the collapse of Atlantic Computers, possibly most high-profile corporate leasing collapse of the 1990s. I also ask Geneen about the disruptive nature of technology today.

This edition also looks at Europe’s the top asset finance performers in the FT1000 rankings, we hear from Gregory Autin, a circular economy advocate, who unpackages ideas about of the ‘leasing society’ and servitization, and from Tehran, Mohammad Hadi Moghaei, the Secretary-General at the Iranian National Leasing Association, offers a historic review of the Iranian leasing experience. Plus, much more.

Alejandro Gonzalez, Editor