Brokers: Associated Commercial Finance
plans to advance £40m by 2008Leasing intermediary Associated Commercial Finance (ACF) is on
target to advance £30m during 2007, and plans to increase this by a
further £10m over next year. It has also established links with
some 50 funders during the three years since its formation.

ING Lease is a principal source of funding, while other lenders
include Barclays Asset Finance, Fortis Lease, Hermes Group, Lombard
Asset Finance and PCF Equipment Leasing.

To meet its aim of advancing £40m in 2008 ACF is currently on a
recruitment drive.  Simon Rose, managing director, said the
company needs “representation in the north of England and
Scotland”.

For the immediate future, Rose and his team, which also includes
Aaron Townsend, financial director, Angus Griffin, marketing
director, and Trudy Wildin, director and company secretary, are
looking closely at writing their own book and expanding into new
asset sectors, including leisure.

Some 60 per cent of new business involves wheeled assets, while
the remainder comprises buses and coaches, yellow plant and
technology equipment. Average deal sizes are around £28,000, and
recent unusual assets financed include steam cleaning machines for
a national fast-food chain and wheelie bin cleaners.

Townsend, who has worked previously at Bank of Scotland Asset
Finance and Sterling Capital, said: “Our policy is to match the
deal to the finance company rather than the other way round. All
proposals originate from our associates, who are self employed, and
streamed to the most appropriate funding source.”

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By GlobalData

ACF began in 2004 with backing from only one funder, ING Lease,
from an office in Cheltenham. Today it has a second office in
Stevenage, representation in Birmingham and a total of 13
staff.

Brian Walter, broker manager at ING Lease, commented: “Our
previous relationship with a number of the directors [at ACF] meant
that we quickly set up new broker arrangements and had our first
deal on the books within the first week of them trading.

“Since then the company has always provided full proposal
information and correctly- completed documentation on a regular
basis – which has allowed us to process the business quickly and
smoothly.”

The company, which has access to invoice discounting and
factoring products, is associated with M3 Corporate Finance, a
specialist in mergers and acquisitions and management buy-outs. “In
this way, “Rose said, “we are able to provide a complete service
for companies – making available for them any financial service
they may require.”

The cross-selling of finance products, according to Rose, “is a
top priority for us”. For example, the company recently helped to
establish an auto rental company by providing funding for an
initial six vehicles.

Rose said: “This later grew into some one hundred vehicles and,
when the company required moving to larger premises, we were able
to obtain a commercial mortgage to enable them to do so.”