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Scotland: Meet the expert, Jim Bentley

Jim Bentley joined Close Brothers Asset Finance over 13 years ago. Here he talks about his work history, current role and provides insight into his team’s focus for the future.

Can you tell me about your work history?

My working life began in my teens when I worked hard labour on a farm, which instilled a strong work ethic in me. I finished school in the late 1970s and literally started working the next day in the heavy commercial motor trade at a local motor factors.

In the mid-1980s, I moved on to work at Scania in Edinburgh, selling parts and services from a sales van which covered the east coast. I did this for 11 years before making a move to MAN Truck & Bus UK where I held four positions in nine years. When I left the company, I was a Regional Sales Manager responsible for Scotland, Ireland and the North of England.

I then made the move to Close Brothers Asset Finance and I’m now in my fourteenth year with the company!

Can you tell me about your current role?

I’m a Regional Sales Manager. I look after customers in my own area and mentor younger, less experienced staff within my team. I enjoy sharing my wealth of knowledge, so I am always happy to help them value assets.

As part of my role, I also assist with our remarketing yard where we store end of lease assets and repossessions, and market them accordingly. We sell assets to customers and if they need any work (for example, the addition of a wet kit) this can be fitted and added to the finance at the time, making it a one stop shop.

How does your industry experience help you as a Regional Sales Manager?

My experience in the industry is invaluable when working with trucks, plant and trailers. Not only do I have the finance knowledge, but my knowledge of the asset/product means that I can give the customer the best advice and secure a sale.

Having this knowledge means we can make the package fit with the customer’s requirements i.e. by sourcing the asset required and adding a finance package with monthly payments to suit the customer’s cash flow.

What is asset finance and what types of asset finance do you offer to your customers?

Asset finance is an alternative form of funding used by businesses to obtain the equipment, vehicles or capital they need to grow. It’s flexible and can be used to fund any asset – including trucks, plant, vans, trailers, LCVs, HGV’s, tippers and more.

Common examples of asset finance products we offer are:

Hire Purchase: This allows the customer to buy a vehicle on credit. Close Brothers Asset Finance purchase the vehicle on the customer’s behalf and own the asset until the final instalment is paid.

Refinancing (Capital Release): Close Brothers Asset Finance would purchase the asset from your business and finance it back to you, releasing the equity raised into your cash flow. Your repayments are calculated in line with the income stream that will be generated by the asset. At the end of the refinance term, you own the asset.

Finance Lease: The full value of equipment is repaid to the finance company, plus interest, over the lease period. At the end of the term, the company can choose to enter a secondary rental period, return the asset or sell the asset and keep a portion of income from the sale.

What does the future hold for your team?

Its onwards and upwards; our team is full of young, dynamic individuals who I am confident can continue to grow Close Brothers. I have been with the company for 13 years and by working closely with customers we can give a bespoke service to them and be there for them every step of the way in helping them to grow their business. It’s what Close do.

What assets are currently most in demand?  

To be honest, this is generally seasonal. For example, coaches tend to be particularly popular in March/April. However, customers generally will buy an asset when the need for it arises.