A Successful Year
2018 has marked Liberty Leasing’s strongest year to date with new business levels approaching £80m at the end of November, which surpasses the annual new business levels for 2016 and 2017. This record-breaking year has been marked by 3 record breaking months, £8.1m in March which was then topped by £11.0m in May and then in November by £13.1m.
Alan Cooper, Finance Director commented:
“The impressive new business levels have led to substantial growth in the gross loan portfolio, which has grown from £101m at the beginning of the year to £125m at the end of November – an impressive 24% increase.
Liberty enjoyed its most successful month for new business originations in its history in November – the company advanced £13.1m of new loans against a target of £4.5m
The total aggregate of new loans in 2018 stands at £82m currently which is another record for the company. The previous annual record for originations was £59m in 2016.
These new business levels have surpassed even our own expectations this year which were understandably tempered by the ongoing uncertainty around the UK economy driven by Brexit.
Bad debt levels also remain very low with net capital write offs remaining well below the 1% level demonstrating the quality of the business which has been written over the past few years.
We are indebted to our customers, our network of commercial finance brokers, and our incredibly talented and hard working team of employees here at Liberty.
Allan Clegg, Managing Director comments on the importance of maintaining independence:
“In recent years, there has been a trend for other independents being bought out and where Liberty has not followed suit, we are pleased to say we have maintained our independence allowing us to continue to be in charge of our direction.
We’ve certainly navigated through some challenging times, but we had a clear direction set out by senior management and a focus on consistent growth. By 2010 we had grown the portfolio to £18,000,000 and our number of employees had grown to 30. Seven years on in 2017 we achieved recognition on the FT Top 1000 fastest-growing companies in Europe as well as ranking 45th on the AF50. Now in 2018, we have increased the portfolio by over six times the amount it was in 2010 have grown to a team of 50 employees.
Ensuring we recruit the right people who are a good fit for our business is definitely part of our success. We tend to have an ethos of ‘people first, finance second’. We believe we can teach people the necessary skills to understand and sell finance, but they need to have the right personality and attitude first and foremost.”
People First Approach
The strategy at Liberty has been two pronged where there was a clear investment in growing the business there have been measures and efforts to protect our business and incorporate future-proofing measures. In under 10 years the number of employees at Liberty has doubled which has allowed us to handle the growth whilst maintaining the same professional service. It’s also that dedicated departments such as Asset, Legal and Compliance have been able to be developed and a reliance on third parties reduced thus improving efficiency which clients end up benefitting from.
Laura Roberts, Legal Director comments:
“Retaining talent and developing our people is something we are genuinely passionate about at Liberty. The benefit of being independent from a training point of view is we are able to embrace our ‘people first’ approach, especially when it comes to individual progression and personal development. Instead of adopting a ‘one size fits all’ training programme we can sit with the individual, identify their needs and come up with a development plan that is right for them and their career path. Not only do we want our staff to understand the mechanics of finance but also how the importance of compliance can be embraced within our processes whether we are dealing with regulated or non-regulated deals.”
In the last two years we’ve had eight team members who have been promoted and I feel fortunate to be in a position to help individuals flourish and realise their potential, but this is part of the culture at Liberty as our managers and team leaders do a great job nurturing and mentoring their teams.”
Looking Ahead to 2019
Allan Clegg, Managing Director and Paul Sheedy, Sales and Operations Director have been permanent fixtures at Liberty since 2004, giving Liberty a sense of consistent clear direction.
“Our teams have worked really hard and the results from this year are testament to this effort but also provide us with a strong platform to build on into 2019. We have seen a trend and enhanced confidence in our clients dealing with us for larger deals. In 2017 our Account Manager, Isaac Hooper signed up a £2.5m deal and a £1.5m in March of this year. We are already planning for 2019 and developing our strategy and are confident that we can achieve further levels of growth to match those historically but importantly support the growth aspirations of our customers.”
“It’s our intention to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure, which is future-proofed and we have the right people for the job to ensure we are as autonomous as possible. We’ve worked hard to consistently grow and ensure we are in a position to be able to compete with the larger bank owned operations in the SME market, particularly when we are funding larger, competitive transactions.
We are fortunate to have the support of our funders, who provide us with the capital to maintain this level of new business. We currently have debt facilities of £125m, within which there is £36m of headroom to support further levels of new business going into the final quarter of 2018 and looking further ahead into 2019.
2018 has been a great year so far with a few landmark achievements including our best month ever but we know it’s important to not lose sight of our goals and I feel we are all motivated by the success to keep moving forward as a business.”