Close Brothers Asset Finance and Leasing is, fundamentally, a specialist funder that operates in a wide variety of sectors. We have experts who are tasked with exploring and building our knowledge base, and one such person is Mark Wilson, our Corporate Sales Manager who works out of our Burton Transport office.
In this Q&A he tells us more about his role and his plans for the future…
Tell me about yourself and your background
I’ve worked in asset and commercial finance for over 30 years, including for a prime asset funder, brokerages and advising businesses in both soft and hard assets in a consultancy role.
My current role as Corporate Sales Manager draws on many of the skills I’ve learned in that time, which gives me the opportunity to pass that experience onto customers and advise them effectively.
Outside of work, I’m married with two of everything – children, dogs and cats!
I’ve always liked to stay active, having played football, badminton, cricket to a high standard and I still train and play competitive football
You work in a Corporate role – what does that mean?
The Corporate role initially targeted businesses with £5m turnover and above or running fleets of over 30 vehicles, but has evolved to one that can provide everything a customer might need, from vanilla solutions to non-standard or structured solutions where understanding the customer - along with the opportunity and the risks and rewards involved - are key.
How does your industry experience help you in your current role?
I’ve sat on both sides of the desk, and what I mean by this is that while I’ve experienced the world of asset and commercial finance and know it inside and out, allowing me to advise clients across multiple sectors and specialisms, I also know what it’s like to be a client, having been a business owner myself.
Being able to identify and quantify a solution and having to often think creatively means I understand what is needed from both the customer and our risk perspective because I’ve previously carried my own underwriting authority and I know how vital it is to put credit reports together for underwriters.
Being able to sell a solution to a customer is of little value if you then cannot sell that solution internally.
I’m also a big believer in coaching and development and sharing best practise. For example, if a colleague needs assistance with credit work or customer appointments, I’ve looked to support accordingly because that helps build their skillset.
What assets do you finance?
In simple terms, anything with wheels on each corner!
This includes anything from cars, vans, electric vehicles and buses to coaches, trucks, trailers and specialist wheeled assets like vacuum tankers, horseboxes, cement mixers, etc.
How are your deals structured?
A typical deal is a hire purchase (HP) over a three to seven-year period.
Our structured solutions can be one of the following:
- Work with supplier buybacks to create solutions that can be classed as operating leases
- Acquisitions, which require Sale and HP back
- Non-standard profiles where we match monthly payments to revenue or have payment holidays for two months of the year
- Low start / balloon payments
Who would be a ‘typical’ customer?
That’s a difficult one because every customer has different requirements.
All my customers run wheeled assets and are primarily medium to large haulage, coach, van, truck, or trailer rental businesses.
What are the key developments in your sector?
Our commercial appetite is a key differentiator from the prime and challenger banks in my space.
In Burton Transport, we’ve identified Corporate as an area for growth and are growing the team, which is an exciting step forward.
With new technology emerging, including electric and alternatively-fuelled vehicles, I want Corporate to be at the forefront of that journey.
I’ve brought new entrants into markets with vendor programmes and solutions in the past and we will be one of the key parties that manufacturers engage with and I can assist in facilitating solutions.
With a facility in excess of £10m with a leading manufacturer in the EV space, we come from a position of strength and not just theory.
What does the future hold?
As we come out of the restrictions of the last two years, we grew significantly in that period. I’m surrounded by great people and expertise and have the backing of a bank with significant commercial appetite and I’m looking forward to the significant growth of our Corporate book and commercial offering.