Asset Finance Connect Autumn Conference 2023

Pragmatism versus idealism: will the asset finance industry re-consider the cost of good intentions as it assesses its approach to sustainability, consumer duty and compliance?

At the Asset Finance Connect Conference we will consider the topics which the industry tell us are on their minds:

• Is regulated business in danger of becoming too difficult, too risky and too expensive under the new Consumer Duty being introduced by the FCA leading some lenders to withdraw from the market? We ask whether the new Consumer Duty designed to create good outcomes for customers is on track. Is it delivering value for money?

• Everyone wants to save the planet – but the Government has rowed back on its commitments, and the political consensus for real change following the Uxbridge by-election appears to be disappearing. Research by the AA, shows a dramatic drop in support among consumers as well as Conservatives for the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles. As politicians consider social leasing as the possible road ahead for BEVs – a next step after BIK; and specialist BEV lender Onto announces it has gone into liquidation; we ask what role the auto and equipment finance industry can really play in delivering the transition to electric vehicles through funding used BEVs; and in financing plant and machinery needed in start-up green manufacturing. Is sustainable, commercial as well as desirable?

• Claims management companies have started new legal action which threatens to damage the UK auto finance – an unintended consequence of changes made to the current regulatory regime that relate to DIC. The FCA has told auto finance lenders to prepare while seeking to limit the damage. We ask what the implications are for the industry as it seeks to resolve issues like commission disclosure, which remains unsettled after months of discussion. How can the regulated and unregulated industry drive best practice in the industry without opening themselves up for litigation? What might best practice for lending to SMEs look like? What might a corporate/SME duty be like that would deliver real value for customers and how would it be different from consumer duty?

• Basel 3.1 is expected to increase the cost of lending to SMEs this Autumn unless the Government U turn on current plans to implement it. We examine the changing market for SME lending focussing specifically on the increasingly successful mid-tier of independent lenders. These lenders, funded in part by the government through the British Business Bank, are nimble, tech-savvy and have demonstrated greater success in growing market share than their big bank rivals. How will they perform should defaults start to rise? Are independent lenders a long-term better home for SME funding than the big banks, whose lending appetite falls away at just the time when SMEs need them most.

Kindly sponsored by