Rest assured this monthly column is not is about to be replaced by a regular emotional outpouring but, after the erstwhile editor Fred Crawley’s appreciative parting note last month, I feel it is only appropriate to show some gratitude myself.
This is the 25th issue of Leasing Life I have worked on. In the first one, in July 2011, I wrote about IT equipment leasing for schools in the UK. It was far from complex, but I had to be talked through it and it was Fred Crawley who did that talking – illustrating the nature of the leasing deals with a marker, a whiteboard and a metaphor involving baked beans, if I recall correctly.
Thanks to that little bit of guidance, and considerably more in the intervening two years, the leasing industry is one I have got to know quite well. That is thanks, in no small way, to the many acquaintances I’ve made from across the industry in that time who have helped me to understand some of the more complex issues, offered their insight and experience on current topics and even tossed a juicy scoop my way from time to time.
My first official act as editor, therefore, is to thank the many, many readers who have helped me thus far. With my second act, I’ll thank Fred too.
I like to think I’ve reported on the industry over a difficult but exciting period in which asset finance has shown strength in its ability to weather tough economic times. This strength has not relied on rigidly sticking to pre-crisis business methods in the hope the "good times" will quickly return, but rather on an aptitude for adaptation which has kept the industry in bloom through the economic winter.
That said, recognition of the fundamental principles of what makes leasing a successful business tool, as well as an essential part of the modern global economic system, and the need to continue to operate on these principles has also been a talking point over the past few years.
I am pleased to say Leasing Life is going to continue to be a conduit for these talking points under my tenure starting this month with, among others, an article on the crucial problem of educating and developing the industry’s future leaders from Peter Thomas of the Leasing Foundation and an interview with Alexander Schmidecker and Michael Hackl of Raiffeisen Leasing on how the firm is reacting to the pressures faced by bank-owned lessors.
Addressing the issues at the heart of the industry is our raison d’être at Leasing Life and work is already well under way for our annual conference, to be held this year in Berlin on 5 December, which is set to be as thought-provoking as ever.
As the finishing touches are put to the conference agenda, my attention turns to the awards ceremony that will follow. The initial nomination stage has closed and the volume of nominees already in has been heartening.
There is still time, however, for those who may have missed the first deadline to submit full nominations before the second deadline of 5 September. I encourage you all to consider and you can find details on the conference and awards page of the Leasing Life website.
Happily, I will be meeting with and speaking to many of you before then as there is a lot to talk about in the intervening months. I look forward to carrying on the conversation I joined a little of two years ago.
Grant Collinson, editor