Stephen Sklaroff, the director general of the UK’s Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), has decided to leave the FLA later this year, after twelve years in the post.

Sklaroff said: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with the FLA’s members over the past twelve years as they have demonstrated their vital role in the UK economy, and commitment to high standards of customer service, during a time of huge change in the political, economic and regulatory landscape.

“I look forward to continuing to support them in the coming months, and in due course to ensuring a smooth hand-over to my eventual successor.”

Prior to joining the FLA in 2007, Sklaroff was deputy director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) between 2000 and 2007, where he was responsible for a wide range of issues including general and life insurance, savings policy, EU and international affairs, public affairs and communication, and HR and finance.

Prior to the ABI, he enjoyed a long established career in the UK Civil Service, including roles as head of communications for three successive Secretaries of State: Margaret Beckett, Peter Mandelson and Stephen Byers.

Richard Jones, managing director of Black Horse Finance and chairman of the FLA, said: “Stephen has led the FLA through a time of unprecedented change, and through that period the FLA has become a larger, stronger and more influential voice for its members and their customers.

“On behalf of the board, our members and associates, I would like to thank Stephen for his leadership, passion and dedication over the last 12 years. His presence will be missed by all of us.”

Sklaroff has overseen the changing UK leasing landscape for over a decade and has been a public figurehead for the association in its endeavours.

Industry representation

At the FLA dinner in 2016, Sklaroff gave insight into some of the efforts made on the member’s behalf: “During 2016 we worked with the Departments of Health and Education, the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the British Business Bank, the Payment Systems Regulator, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Road Haulage Association and the National Farmers’ Union on issues ranging from leasing in the public sector to fraud prevention in the Direct Debit system,” he told the assembled crowd in London.

Many of the representations have been on questions of changing regulation that the market has had to manage. In 2017, he talked at an event attended by sister publication Motor Finance, on shared research by the FLA and the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre, about vulnerability and affordability in credit.

Most recently, he praised the industry for its composure through the continued Brexit uncertainty in his speech at the fifth annual FLA asset finance conference held earlier this year.

“…asset finance new business rose to a record level of £33bn in 2018, meaning the industry’s penetration of the business equipment market reached a ten-year high of 34.5% after the eighth consecutive year of growth,” he said.

“And you’ve also made a strong start to 2019, with new business up by 9% in January, compared with the same month last year.

“This is a great performance, and shows the continuing popularity of leasing and hire purchase among UK businesses, regardless of the possible economic challenges which lie ahead.”