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 landscape.
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.
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.