Asset finance new business grew by 5% in September, compared with the same month in 2018, and in Q3 2019, new business was 5% higher than in the same quarter last year – that’s a very strong performance. As well as increasing numbers of businesses choosing leasing and hire purchase for their investment needs, the profile of asset finance has also grown among our stakeholders.

In October, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy invited us to join the newly formed Business Finance Council, noting that it was ‘essential that the asset finance sector is properly represented alongside other forms of lending, given the importance of facilitating capital investment’. At our first meeting, we said that much had been done to secure the supply of funding for SMEs, but a concerted efforted was needed to increase demand.

Part of this picture must include measures to address the knowledge gap that exists for SMEs, and we have continued to argue that an online and comprehensive ‘first-stop-shop’ is needed to assist small businesses to find the right finance at the right time.

The Asset Finance Diploma has proved a great success, with more than 90 of our members’ employees completing the course during 2019. This is a really positive sign that the curriculum is valued by the industry, and that this growing sector is investing in its future.