Leasiing Life Awards The Finance and Leasing Association
By Laura Gosshawk on 26/09/19 | Category - Asset Finance

Recycle Week 2019 - Day 4 - Plastic Challenge

Plastic - What can be recycled and what cannot?

The very first thing to say, would be check with your local Council because it really does vary. The Recycle Now website is a fantastic source of information and for one council for instance, it also states that you must ensure your ‘recycling is clean and dry’. An issue that was also raised on the BBC’s ‘War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita’, where a pizza box could not be recycled as it was too greasy. 

According to a BBC article 47% of people argue over what plastic they can recycle. It seems we are trying as a nation to recycle more, but we are still unsure as to what we can and cannot pop in our recycling sacks for collection.

Below is an image of fizzy drink bottle and a bag of salad. Can both be recycled? One? Or None?



According to Which?, drinks bottles are Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and are used to make more PET products and are easy to recycle. The salad bag is made of ‘Other’, which tends to go to landfill, and are notoriously difficult to recycle. The link shows a very good guide of the most commonly used plastics, what they are used for, their next life and ease of recycling.

The Which? Site also includes ‘packaging symbols explained’ which is a great reference for checking goods individually when deciding if they can be recycled or not.



A real issue with plastic recycling seems to be black plastic, commonly seen in takeaway food containers. While technically recyclable, according to Which?, pure carbon-black plastic is not picked up by the infrared sorting machines in UK recycling facilities and is rejected. Are we doing enough to highlight this to people so they know categorically what cannot for now be recycled?


It’s worth trying to speak to your own council, who processes the recycling, where does it go, if I put something in a recycling bag that can’t be, is the whole bag contaminated/sent to landfill? Ie what sorting processes are in place? We need to start asking these questions and taking accountability for our plastic use, recycling and knowing what happens to it next once it leaves our house and kerbside.



By James Lee on 20/09/19 | Category - Asset Finance

First Asset Finance has long been established in the waste and recycling sector, so this year we are taking part in Recycle Week. Our objective is to explore various aspects of recycling; including domestic recycling, the Blue Planet Effect, glass recycling, the waste journey, and how to educate the younger generations.

In preparation for this, we have asked Laura Gosshawk, Head of Administration, a few questions on her recycling challenges, goals and hopes for the future.


Q: What challenge have you set yourself?

Laura: I’ve made it a personal challenge this year, to reduce single-use plastic consumption in our household and also reduce food waste. In our weekly waste collection, we usually have 1 black sack, and the rest are recyclable goods. We are a family of 3 and a dog, but still want to improve upon this.

Q: What are the biggest changes you’ve made?

Laura: The kitchen and bathroom are the worst offenders for plastic consumption in our house so we’ve started there. We’ve replaced our plastic milk and juice bottles for glass bottles. We have also stopped buying hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and invested in glass dispensers that are refillable at a local shop.

Q: What about food waste?

I’ve made a real effort to reduce our food waste, and where possible we are self-composting. Freezing leftovers like fruit that’s past its best, milk, bread and things just about to go off. They are small changes but I’m a firm believer that making a small change, is better than not trying at all.


Q: Do you transfer these through to office life?

Laura: Not as much as I should! I try to bring in my own reusable water bottle and reusable coffee cup, however, as a company we are looking at increasing our recycling by the end of the year and have signed up to DS Smith’s Coffee Cup Drop Boxes. My aim is that we also get the rest of our floor involved. The goal would be to expand this and other initiatives from our own office, across the floor, and eventually, the whole building.

Q: What would you like to achieve in respect of recycling in 2020?

Laura: Zero black bags going out with our weekly rubbish collection! It might sound unachievable but I want to aim for everything to be recycled, and I want to learn more around composting and food waste.


By James Lee on 09/08/19 | Category - Asset Finance

The RWM Exhibition could not be taking place at a more fitting time, with the actions of "Extinction Rebellion" still fresh in the minds of the British public. Although some of the methods the movement employed can be questioned, you cannot deny that it has reenergised the climate change debate. 

As the importance of global warming scales the political agenda, so too does the importance of recycling and waste management. In order for the UK to meet the Climate Change Committee targets of net zero emissions by 2050, it is vital that waste management in the UK is supported and developed. 

The progress that has been made in recycling over the past 20 years is undeniable. The graphs below shows the vast reduction in waste sent to landfill and the subsequent plummet in emissions emitted. Nevertheless, it is difficult to not concentrate on the plateau that has emerged over the last two years.

Just as technology is widely accepted as the driver of economic growth, similarly it is technological progress that is essential for developing recycling methods and reducing waste. Exhibitions like Letsrecycle Live, and the RWM Exhibition are vital, they act as vehicles to distribute knowledge, promote best practice, and share technological achievements.  

As a society we have reached a defining moment in waste management, attitudes need to change and technology uptake needs to increase, to overcome this stagnation.

First Asset Finance Plc have supported the waste management industry for the last 20 years, providing the sector with funding options and financial choice. We are proud to provide asset finance to established waste management companies, as well as supporting the growth of start-ups in the industry.

If you are interested in attending the RWM Exhibition you can get free tickets at the following link. http://www.eventdata.co.uk/Forms/Form.aspx?FormRef=RWM99Visitor

By James Lee on 06/05/19 | Category - Asset Finance


What we have learnt from the Commercial Vehicle Show 2019.


Now the buzz of the Commercial Vehicle show 2019 has died down, it would be wise to reflect on the learnings from our day in Birmingham. 

Firstly, and I hate to sound like a broken record but, electric truly is the future. The breadth and quantity of electric vehicles on show, is a testament to the progress made by companies pioneering this green change. As vehicle’s ranges improve and batteries reduce in both cost and weight, it is understandable why companies like Sainsbury’s are looking to roll out electric delivery vehicles in their fleet.

Secondly, residual value financing across the commercial vehicle industry, is becoming rather scarce, particularly in the electric market. Speaking to both vehicle manufacturers and finance providers, it is obviously a moot point. This has piqued the interest of First Asset RV, as independent providers of residual values we are looking to change this outlook, to benefit finance providers, customers and manufacturers.  

I have asked Robert Taylor, Commercial Director, and  Emma Crawshay Jones, Business Relationship Manager, for their respective highlights of the CV show. Incredibly they both forgot about my 5th place finish in the virtual reality, F1 racing.



 Emma -  "Naturally I visited the CPD Bodies stand, who had their own pop-up cocktail bar. I was very impressed with the hand built, Trucks and Van Bodies they had on display. Their new 3D body builder is a great visual tool, and definitely worth using if you plan on buying a truck or van."

Rob - "Chereau is a household name in the commercial vehicle world and it’s refreshing to see they are not resting on their laurels. Still providing excellent build quality and adding innovative technology. This means they are producing trailers that last for years and maintain their value particularly well. "

James - "Fuelmii fleet is a company that has merged the novel combination of petrol station and home delivery. With a fleet of vehicles equipped with diesel storage and pumping capabilities, they deliver fuel to your vehicle fleet. All of this is easily done through an app or online, making refuelling easy. 






By Simon Jones on 11/12/18 | Category - Asset Finance


As we move into our 42nd year in the asset finance industry my office has persuaded me that a reflection on the journey we have taken might be of interest to others and therefore with some humility but substantial pride I agreed to pen this blog.

FAF started its long journey in November 1977 when as a 26 year old chartered surveyor with 5 years of commercial property financing under the belt I felt the need to be self- employed and in charge of my own decisions.  At the time leasing was very much in its infancy and the business began by setting up, running and managing leasing companies for and on behalf of corporate clients at a time when the government was keen to encourage investment into industry by offering 100% first year allowances on all expenditure incurred on plant and equipment.

An introduction from the merchant bank Henry Ansbacher was both timely and effective as we set up our first leasing entity (Epicure Leasemaster) for a business involved in food distribution as well as  being the notable owner of the restaurant A L’ecu de France in Jermyn Street. A restaurant which with some justification boasted one of the finest wine cellars in London.  Our office was based in Eagle House, Jermyn Street above the restaurant which I confess we used more often than perhaps we should – staff discounts were a double edged sword.

Funding for the business was arranged with Julian Hodge under a block discounting facility where we were paying 400 basis points margin over LIBOR – leaving us a challenge to find business at the right level. However with the benefit received from the 100% FYA’s we were able to subsidise the rate of interest we had to charge a customer to a level where we could compete effectively with traditional bank borrowing costs.  It is ironic that the capital allowances initiative which was brought in to encourage investment into industry all those years ago, and did so most effectively, has today moved to where structures designed to take advantage of the greatly reduced level of incentives are subjectively being regarded as being evasive or at best unwelcome tax avoidance.

As the business grew we found the need to set up a broking side where we could place excess business we were generating but could not effectively compete with banks on pricing but where based on our origination and structuring capabilities we could earn introductory fees.  The business grew quickly as each year we had to write more business to not only shelter our clients increasing liability to corporation tax on their mainstream profits but also to cover off the rental income we were receiving from the leases we had written in the previous year.

This inbuilt mechanism for growth drove the leasing industry to dizzy heights in the 1980’s as the product became the preferred source of asset financing against more traditional products.  Then in 1984 Nigel Lawson brought in his budget which announced a reduction in 100% FYA’s in the follow on three years from 100% FYA’s to 75%(1984); 50%(1985); and eventually 25% writing down allowance each year(1986).  At the same time the Chancellor also announced a reduction in the rate of corporation tax from 52% in 1983 to 50% (y/e1984); 45% (y/e1985); 40% (y/e1986); 35% (y/e1987).  The leasing industry drew nervous breath believing it had been taken off at the knees with it’s competitive pricing ability from subsidising interest payable from the FYA’s it received being removed.  This was the first time that a chancellor had set rates so far in advance and it turned out to be a hiatus for the leasing industry where lessors were buying equipment assuming 100% FYA’s and a 52% corporation tax on the lease rentals but in fact the lease rentals coming in over a 5 year period were then being taxed at a lower reduced rate of corporation tax. By pushing the fully taxable stream on the rentals into a later year when the tax rate was lower the lessor made a real saving.

The market quickly recognised this and for a few years leasing facilities on leased plant and equipment were regularly being offered at negative rates of interest because even though the lessee might be paying back less than the capital, on an after tax basis the lessor was still making a handsome return. Days of joy for FAF as the demand for leasing grew quickly.  As a consequence, towards the end of the 1980’s when corporation tax stood at 35% most Lessor finance directors looked at their gearing, which had grown hugely off the back of demand for debt, and decided that to pay the corporation tax at the lower rate of 35% was on balance a better idea than to spend so much time effort and balance sheet capacity in running a leasing business.

There developed for a few years in the late 80’s / early 90’s a strong market in the buying and selling of leasing companies as the industry adjusted itself to the new tax regime and the number of Lessor’s declined.  Nigel Lawson had achieved something quite special in that he had reduced the tax rate but saw the tax "take” increase. Mr Trump of late has yet to achieve the same.  In the early 90’s we sold 25% of the business to Elders Finance – the Australian Merchant Bank – part of the Foster’s Brewing Group.  This was a short lived experience as they fell into difficulties in the recession of the early nineties and we subsequently agreed to terminate the arrangement. This was a difficult time for FAF as the entire economy was suffering from the inertia of business in general.

With some determination and focus we worked our way out of the 90’s recession much wiser for the experience and with a thorough understanding of the concept that "cash is always king”.  At this point we decided that we would turn FAF into a lifestyle business where the shareholders would take out what money was sensible each year rather than attempting to build the balance sheet.  We continued with this strategy without having any debt until 2010 when we decided it was time to re-build the group balance sheet.  There followed a period of interesting change in the business model as we began to build our own rental book through First Asset Rentals Limited. This led to the development of an operating lease strategy when we would take top slice risk on deals which banks were reluctant to fully underwrite in order to deliver the necessary accounting treatment for the customer.  This was followed closely with a residual value product where we use "patient capital” to invest in the residual value of assets at the end of an operating lease.   We have now added the third leg to our stool in the guise of FAF Capital Limited which provides debt to corporates in support of our structured lending products and is itself supported by a range of wholesale funders.  As a small, focused, and intelligent financing business we persist and strive to deliver an exceptional and bespoke service to all of our loyal customers employing the benefit of our many years’ of experience as well as a quality contact base.


The industry has changed enormously over the last 10 years as banks retreat back to their standard product offerings with little appetite for any real transactional innovation or flexibility. A change which has been to our benefit and perhaps the main reason we have managed to stay in business – the ability to move quickly and provide varied and flexible structures for our customers.  Of some concern  is the a dearth of young people coming into the asset finance industry over the last 5 to 10 years – Is this because there isn’t sufficient training or perhaps because there is a need for more self-promotion by the industry as  the skills employed by those financiers in the early years are being over looked.

As with any business big or small two principles remain the same
• "Money IN must always exceed money OUT”
• "Cash is King”

It always amazes me how many times this is forgotten.  The key to a successful business is a happy working environment and the team spirit which we at FAF are fortunate enough to enjoy is well deployed amongst all of our staff and the Board.

As we move towards 2019 we have a strong range of interesting products and are very fortunate to have a dedicated, loyal and highly professional team of asset financing specialists who are as always keen to provide the first class service for which we have become known. We look forward to taking the business forward for the next 42 years.

By Laura Gosshawk on 20/11/18 | Category - Asset Finance


2018 Leasing Life Conference & Awards: Winners Announced


The winners have now been announced for the thirteenth Leasing Life Awards, which took place at the Hilton Tallinn Park in Tallinn, Estonia on 15 November this year.

The Awards, which were held as a part of Leasing Life Conference, brought together leading figures from a variety of leasing industry backgrounds, to discuss and celebrate the industry’s progress. There was also a chance to explore the latest developments in the market in this year’s conference.

The awards challenged candidates from across Europe to share their recent successes and the achievements of the European asset finance industry in 2018. The winners across 12 categories were carefully selected by the judging panel and honoured in the ceremony hosted by CEO of Alfa – Andrew Denton, Chief Executive of IAA Advisory – Lindsay Town and Editor of Leasing Life – Brian Cantwell.

The panel of judges brought in fresh industry expertise and longstanding knowledge of Europe’s asset finance industry. The judging panel was actively involved in the evaluation process, guaranteeing the independence and transparency of the programme.

"Entries into the awards were of a very high standard this year and our judges had a hard time picking the winners. Of particular interest to the market were the innovation-based and SME lending awards," says Cantwell. "The industry is growing more and more competitive each year and the Leasing Life awards are a great way for lessors to distinguish themselves to customers in the marketplace."

"The European leasing industry is dealing with continuing challenges and uncertain political and economic circumstances. The Leasing Life conference and awards allows these businesses to come together to benchmark their progress and to add to their strategy to limit future risks."



The list of winners of the 2018 Leasing Life Awards:

Asset Finance Intermediary 2018 – First Asset Finance

Asset Finance Legal Provider 2018 – Stephenson Harwood

SME Champion – Bank Lessor 2018 – Metro Bank

SME Champion – Independent or Privately Owned 2018 – 1pm

Vendor Finance Provider 2018 – DLL

European Lessor 2018 – Societe Generale Equipment Finance

Middle Ticket Corporate Lessor 2018 – ABN AMRO Lease

Digital Innovation 2018 – BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions

Sustainability 2018 – 3 Step IT

Young Professional of the Year 2018 – Mike Green (White Oak UK)

Industry Ambassador of the Year 2018: John Rees (Societe Generale Equipment Finance)

Lifetime Achievement: Cormac Costelloe (Dell Financial Services)




Notes to Editors

About Leasing Life Conference & Awards

The Leasing Life Conference & Awards over the past 13 years has become the European asset finance and leasing industry’s signature event. This year, Compelo hosted the conference and awards at the Hilton Tallinn Park, Tallinn on 15 November.


Exclusively sponsored by Alfa, the leading global supplier of asset and motor finance software and consultancy services, the awards recognise the achievements of the European asset finance industry in 2018.


About Leasing Life

Leasing Life provides essential briefing services across the breadth of the industry. Covering both bank- and manufacturer-funded asset finance across all asset classes, Leasing Life offers comprehensive, exclusive and intelligent coverage through in-depth market profiles, statistical analysis and up-to-the-minute news stories. See more on: http://www.leasinglife.com


For more information

For more information, please contact Rachel Archer at rachel.archer@compelo.com or call 44 (0) 20 7936 6591.



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