One of the principal functions of the Asset Finance division of the Finance & Leasing Association is to put forward to the Government and to the European and international organisations the Association’s views on legislation, both existing and proposed. Much of the work is done by way of responses to consultative documents and comments. A number of proactive projects are regularly undertaken as well, examples being the submission of Budget representations, research and discussion papers.
This area provides information on current issues facing FLA members as well as links to consultations, Government Bills and FLA responses. Below you can find details of our policy publications which are attached at the bottom of this page, including guidance on the GDPR legislation, our toolkits, and leasing guidance for schools.
Government support and Coronavirus (Covid-19)
For the latest updates and FLA emails regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on members and their customers, please click here. You will require your log-in details to access the Member-only section of the FLA website.
Our proposals on support schemes
We have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, setting out our key priorities and concerns. We have also submitted a document setting out the extreme pressures FLA members are under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are exploring the possibility of a Term Funding Pipeline for non-bank funders which would ringfence a portion of the term-funding for banks to be passed down to non-bank funders. To find out more about this proposal, click here.
We have published a document, which we have sent to the Treasury, outlining three suggested support schemes which we believe would help our members. These are: changes to the Coronavirus Credit Finance Facility (CCFF), a variation on the Term Funding for SMEs Scheme (TFSME) and a change to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes (CBILS). To find out more about these proposals, click here
We have also made further representations to Government on the support packages needed to help funders and their customers during the current crisis. Together with other trade bodies Innovate Finance, UK Finance, the Intermediary Mortgage Lending Association (IMLA), and the Association of Alternative Business Finance (AABF), we submitted a joint proposal for two schemes which are designed to support non-bank lenders in particular.
The first of these is a Forbearance Liquidity Funding Scheme which would help members access loans to support forbearance activity. The second proposal is for a term funding scheme for non-banks, supported by bank guarantees and bond purchasing by the Bank of England.
We have submitted our proposal to HM Treasury and will be submitting further proposals to ensure that all members of the FLA have access to appropriate support for the challenges they are currently facing.
What support is available
We have also published two documents summarising the help available for businesses and funders respectively. You can access these below:
These documents will be constantly reviewed to ensure they are as up to date as possible. Further resources will be made available in due course. Members are encouraged to pass on the the information on Government support for businesses to their customers. Please note information was accurate at the time of publication but may change.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
We have published a guide for intermediaries on CBILS. This guide outlines the considerations for intermediaries when arranging CBILS. You can read the guide here.
FLA Response - Government Support Schemes
In the last week, the Government has announced several initiatives to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. As you would expect, we have been in discussion with HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the British Business Bank about the effectiveness of these schemes, as well as how best to ensure that FLA member firms can support their customers.
We have published a brief paper that looks at the existing schemes and suggests ways to improve them. We will be circulating this to all relevant government departments including Ministers, the Bank of England and the British Business Bank.
To read a summary of our recommendations to Government setting out how to enhance the support schemes that have been announced, please click here.
FLA Budget Submission 2020
The Chancellor will make his Budget statement on Wednesday 11 March 2020. The FLA has made a submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget, setting out our key priorities for the year ahead. These include proposals to improve the advice available to SMEs, particularly about finance, and to simplify lease taxation and provide greater funding to local authorities to support the roll out of electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. We have written to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury separately to outline proposals to modernise the regulatory environment for financial services. You can read the submission here.
Small companies should have appropriate legal protection just as consumers do. But the current legal and regulatory framework does not serve their interests well. Action is required by the FCA, PRA and by Government, in particular, to modernise several provisions of the Consumer Credit Act. We propose a number of potential changes to regulation (including the Consumer Credit Act) and the business advice landscape to create a simple, predictable regulatory landscape, improve productivity and ensure that asset finance can continue to play its important role in supporting the smallest businesses. You can read our proposals here.
Asset finance and the Government’s support schemes for SMEs
The FLA works closely to ensure that SMEs have access to the best possible support from the Government to create a healthy economy and a strong asset finance sector.
In our December 2019 publication, Priorities for 2020 and Beyond we proposed the the Government launched a business support site for SMEs. We are delighted that the Government has taken on board our suggestions and have already begun discussions with them about how the site can be developed. The site provides information on a range of issues including finding finance, setting up a business, exporting and dealing with regulation.
We have also worked closely with the British Business Bank on a number of initiatives, including the development of extending the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme to include asset finance. The variant was launched in October 2017. We also regularly provide briefings and written evidence to parliamentarians on these topics. For a list of our responses since 2014 please click here.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. In response to FLA members’ request for some high-level information to use in discussion with intermediaries we have produced GDPR: Information for Intermediaries. Much of the information has been taken from the ICO website and the document has been drafted following discussions with the ICO and a group of members. We appreciate that members will have already taken their own advice on GDPR implementation and therefore it is important to note that the attached is simply for information. It will be for firms to decide on their implementation, approach based on their business models and the GDPR requirements. We will keep the information provided under review and continue to liaise with the ICO, members and broker organisations in this regard.
To read the Guidance, please click here.
In response to member requests, we have also issued a joint statement with the NACFB that summarises the key points that funders and brokers should consider when issuing privacy notices
New lease accounting rules
The new international accounting standard, IFRS 16, comes into force on 1 January 2019. Since the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published the new Lease accounting standard in January 2016, we have worked closely with the Financial Reporting Council, HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs regarding UK GAAP, public sector accounting and changes to the lease taxation regime. In response to HM Treasury’s Exposure draft proposing to align public sector accounting with IFRS 16, we issued a response (July 2018).
Leaseurope have prepared a factsheet on IFRS 16 to assist firms with the implementation of the standard. It can be found here.
Making it easier to do business
The FLA has developed comprehensive online material to help members manage the risks which can arise when working with intermediaries. The checklist covers issues ranging from finding the right introducer, through to credit-checking customers and ensuring the agreement is understood by all.
In 2016, we also produced non-binding guidance for intermediaries that sets out best practice when dealing with customers and funders.
Leasing Guidance for Schools 2017
In 2017, the FLA in partnership with the Department for Education and NASBM has produced revised guidance for schools that are considering leasing equipment. The new Leasing Guidance for Schools can be accessed here. Schools may also find the statement we issued in 2011 here useful.