Close Brothers is opening an asset finance business in Germany to complement the existing invoice finance business it established there in 2003.

Subject to regulatory approval expected in 2016, Close Brothers said it would open offices in Mainz, Germany, and will be offering asset finance to German SMEs in the print, manufacturing and construction industries.

Close Brothers Asset Finance chief executive Mike Randall said the BarFin regulatory registration process was underway and that the business would become a Gmbh [Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – a company with limited liability].

"Our suppliers with UK and German presences are all telling us that there is a good market for our model in Germany," said Randall.

"The used equipment-refinance supporting SME model is not the norm out there, so the market has greater growth potential than that of the UK," said Randall.

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Close has enlisted the services of Michael Vander as managing director to lead the German asset finance division.

Vander was previously a financial services consultant, giving advice to lessors and manufacturers on vendor leasing, and also managing project leases in Germany, said Close.

Prior to that Vander served as chief executive officer of Heller Global Vendor Finance Germany and Austria and managed Dell Financial Services sales activities (a virtual joint venture with CIT Group) for Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Vander is joined by David Bunker, who is assistant managing director of Close Brothers Asset Finance Print Division and is also the UK managing director designate of Close Brothers Asset Finance Germany.

Bunker had previously been the business development director within Close Brothers Asset Finance since 2007 and has worked for the bank since 1993, mainly in the print finance division. Prior to this he had experience in Close Investment Management.