In the past couple of years, the asset finance industry has focused itself on progressing into the digital world – but now that narrative has changed.
Experts say the topic of discussion in the industry has moved from digitisation to sustainability, which they believe will make the industry more attractive to millennial’s.
John Rees, chief commercial officer at Societe Generale Equipment Finance said he believes issues around sustainability present an opportunity for the leasing industry to attract young talent.
Rees explains: “I think we have a fantastic opportunity in our industry. We often say do we attract young talent and I think right now with all of the sustainability issues that our industry is addressing, we have a really strong card to play to attract people.”
Referring to when he was in his twenties, Rees said films like Wall Street and Michael Douglas figures were the attraction for people to want to become investment bankers – but now that tune has changed.
“Now I think people want to be in sustainable circular economy real businesses and that’s a fantastic potential value for us to attract good people,” he added.
Carmen Ene, chief executive at 3stepIT said she was impressed at topic changes at the recent Leasing Life conference conference in Barcelona which brought together industry experts for discussion.
“I was happy to see how the narrative is changing and how we have started talking less about digitalisation and started talking more about sustainability and circular economy,” Ene said.
She also highlighted her belief in asset finance being able to play a role in shifting business models which would attract younger talent.
“We can play a critical role in moving from linear business models to circular business models which is the future. It’s an attractive narrative for the industry which I am sure will attract younger talent, more women and more diversity,” Ene added.
Ene also said the asset finance and leasing industry can enable a circular economy because companies have an ability to give assets a second life rather than contributing to waste.
“The asset finance industry has an incredible role to play in the current environment as an enabler of the circular economy because we know the assets, we can prolong the life of the asset and give it a second life,” she said.
BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions and 3stepIT announced a joint venture in November, which prioritises sustainability and creating a circular economy.
The venture offers a more sustainable way to manage technology life-cycles to help companies manage technology investments – primarily smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops.
One of the aims of the venture is reducing e-waste by extending the life of assets and reusing returned equipment.
97% of returned devices are refurbished for reuse with less than 3% being recycled as waste. This plays a key role in attempting to reduce the annual 50m-tonne global e-waste pile.
Discussion around digitalisation was still apparent at the Leasing Life Conference in Barcelona, with some experts stating the importance of evolving with the customers’ needs in mind first.
Rees explained how important he believes it is to find a balance between digitalising and relationships with customers.
“Clearly we have got to digitalise but we have got to make sure that the customer wants that experience and sometimes people want someone to phone up rather than talk to a chat pod. Sometimes they want someone to want to come along and maybe sign a contract with them,” he explained.
“I know that’s an incredibly expensive way of getting a contract signed but if the customer wants that and is prepared to pay for it well that’s customer experience,” he added.