Just over a month after
Leaseurope/Eurofinas’ 2008 conference in Madrid, the European asset
finance industry had a chance to exchange viewpoints and strategies
once again, at Leasing Life’s annual Asset Finance Distribution
conference and awards dinner in Brussels.

Things began on the evening of 12 November, with a dinner
preceding the announcement of the night’s nine winners.

Leasing Life editor Brendan Malkin began the presentation with a
speech reflecting on the need to celebrate those lessors finding
new ways to do business in a drastically changed business

SG Equipment Finance, part of the Specialised Financial Services
Division of Société Générale, was awarded Lessor of the Year, while
Close Leasing, which has just closed its first year of trading,
headed the table for UK SME Lessor of the Year.

Vendor Lessor of the Year was awarded to De Lage Landen, while
Xerox Financial Services was crowned Captive Lessor of the Year,
and 3 Step IT took the award for Service Provider of the Year.

QW Rail Leasing Limited, a joint venture between SMBC Leasing
& Finance Inc. and nabCapital, which saw the signing of a €312
million train operating lease with Transport for London, won
Transaction of the Year.

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In recognition of great achievement, Alain Vervaet, CEO of ING
Lease Holding, was given the Lifetime Achievement award.
Additionally, Jacqueline Mills was awarded the Rising Star award
for her work as one of Leaseurope’s senior advisers.

After a round of serious asset finance discussions following the
awards that lasted until the early hours of the morning, the 170
delegates rose the next day to attend the conference’s three
plenary sessions.

The first session, featuring John Bennett, chairman of
Leaseurope, followed by Fortis Lease and HSBC Asset Finance, began
frankly with a round-up of the leasing implications of the ongoing
credit squeeze.

The second session covered a broad range of topics, with
speakers from Siemens FS in Turkey, the Italian Leasing
Association, IBM Global Financing, Xerox Financial Services and
Universitat Pompeu Fabra running over some of the industry’s key
issues at present.

The third and final session, concerning new opportunities for
leasing, focused on mergers and acquisition activity and financial
advantages of leasing in the current economy, with speakers from De
Lage Landen and RSM Bentley Jennison.