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.
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.
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.
Asset finance and the Government’s support schemes for SMEs
The focus of our successful campaign to have asset finance included in the Government’s initiatives to stimulate business investment is now turning to smaller non-bank lenders who still face higher funding costs than banks. This group of smaller, more specialist lenders can help reach small firms in particular sectors. We 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 consumer credit regime which covers sole traders and micro businesses has been in place since 2014. The transfer of credit regulation from the Office of Fair Trading to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took place with unprecedented speed. Little attention was given to the application of the new regime to the considerable proportion of the small business lending market which it covers. Our members, who provide leasing and hire purchase to many small businesses, have worked hard to meet the challenges of the new regime. We have continued to stress to the Government and the FCA the need to apply the regime proportionately, and to recognise the fundamental differences between lending to individual consumers and to businesses. The risk otherwise will be a contraction in responsible business lending.
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.