The Asset Finance Observatory, a network of researchers and part of the Leasing Foundation, is set to host its first ‘discovery’ workshop in London on 29 November ahead of its inaugural research project.

The aim of the Observatory will be to investigate and publish reports into a variety of aspects of asset finance, with the first project being to research SME perceptions and strategies from across Europe regarding asset finance. The workshop is sponsored by Siemens Financial Services and the methodology of the research will be published in December.

Professor Peter Thomas, the Foundation’s chief operating officer, said the project would tackle the low-level of asset-based finance among SMEs. Thomas explained the Observatory would identify and define "evolving customer needs, unpacking and redefining customer segments by examining factors including ownership structures, lifecycle stage and rate of growth, and to analyse product promotions and sales to understand the key moments of truth for small businesses."

In-house insight

The Foundation – a non-profit organisation drawing together European leasing professionals begun in 2012 – said it was determined to conduct ‘research by the industry, for the industry’.

Doing so, said Thomas, would provide "insights rapidly, transparently and in way that authentically represents an SME’s experience of understanding and using finance products."

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Further projects for the Observatory outlined for 2014 include innovation, skills, technology and political and regulatory change.