The awards recognised outstanding performance in European leasing, taking account of criteria which range from financial performance to innovation, product development, and customer management.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Derek Soper
The winner of the 2010 lifetime achievement award started out in leasing at Mercantile Leasing in 1960.
He played a big role in establishing Midland Bank’s Forward Leasing Subsidiary and Barclays Leasing and, in 1974, was appointed to establish Barclays International.
In 1981, he took the helm at Kleinwort Benson’s leasing subsidiary, staying for 10 years, before joining AT&T Capital’s European operation where he was chairman and CEO until 1995. During that time he established 13 subsidiaries across Europe.
He moved to Hong Kong as chairman of AT&T’s Asia-Pacific region and, over the next three years, new finance and leasing companies were established, or acquisitions made, in Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.
In 1998, he established The Alta Group consultancy in Europe where he served as a principal and chairman. He left in 2009, to focus on International Advisory Associates, where he now serves as chairman.
Soper has served as chairman of the UK Equipment Leasing Association (now the Finance & Leasing Association) and was a member of the council of Leaseurope, the Industry Future Council of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association of America, and the Finance House Association of Hong Kong.
He is a Fellow of the UK Institute of Directors and a Freeman of the City of London.
Few can match his experience and expertise.
Innovator of the year: Nordea Finance
This was a very close run category. The winner not only demonstrated resistance to recession, but also had a strong growth strategy. It gained the edge for its wide-ranging product innovation: a key example being its new web-based service for car finance.
Captive finance provider of the year: Heidelberg
This category was one of the biggest and toughest fought of all with a very high standard of entries. The winner is a company which impressed the judges with consistently good returns over the long-term, and for its commitment to, and support for its customer base.
Public sector lessor of the year: LeasePlan
More than any other company in this category, the judges felt that the winner had done the most to engage with key influencers in the public sector. It committed resource and intelligence to developing its offering, and raising its profile with the thought leaders in this market.
Italian lessor of the year: UniCredit
The winner was chosen for its strength of leadership, its focus, and its strong relationships with customers in the Italian market.
Green lessor of the year: De Lage Landen
The winner in this category has done a huge amount to further the cause of green leasing and of corporate social responsibility both with its organisation and in working with customers. It is unrivalled in the market for its green leasing products.
Vendor finance provider of the year: SG Equipment Finance
This category attracted a very high standard of entries. Of all the companies, the winner impressed the judges the most with its consistent, broad range of funding, and its commitment to its vendors.
European lessor of the year: SG Equipment Finance
For this award, the competition was very tough. There were several companies which ran close, but the ultimate winner stood out for its consistency and its well-balanced business model, and for ultimately being the market leader.
SME champion of the year: Investec
There were a lot of strong entrants to this category and the judges argued long and hard to choose the ultimate winner.
The company that won was chosen for its ability to handle customer relationships, and for keeping its doors open to SMEs through the crisis. Acquisitions this year of other SME specialists shows true commitment to the sector.
The Leasing Life Asset Finance Awards 2010 were exclusively sponsored by CHP Consulting