A recent poll of finance brokers involved in asset finance has found that most of them expect 2017 to be a positive year for the growth of the industry.
The broker sentiment survey, carried out in January this year by United Trust Bank, found that 54% of brokers believe that demand for asset finance from SMEs will increase in 2017 whilst a further 42% expect demand to stay roughly the same. Just 4% of respondents expected demand to fall.
The same survey also revealed that 50% of brokers working in the fields of asset finance, development finance, bridging finance and mortgages felt that the government was not doing enough to support small businesses.
Despite this, 74% of brokers described the outlook for their own businesses over the coming year as ‘bright’ with 31% predicting that the UK economy would grow beyond expectations in 2017.
Martin Nixon, head of asset finance at United Trust Bank, said: “We back the view that there’s plenty of potential for growth in the Asset Finance market this year and, in our experience, there’s no shortage of SMEs looking for funding to grow. The latest figures from the FLA show a 5% increase in new business in 2016 with FLA members providing around £30 billion of finance to businesses and the public sector. Around £5.1 billion of that was introduced by brokers.
“From our own perspective, 2016 saw our sixth consecutive year of double digit growth in asset finance lending and it’s a track record we intend to maintain this year.
“More is being done by organisations such as the FLA and NACFB to increase awareness of the benefits of asset finance to SMEs as many business owners will still have a blinkered view of what asset finance can do for them. For example, we transact a lot of refinance business which enables companies to quickly release capital tied up in a broad range of assets which can then be employed for many uses, including seizing new business opportunities.
“The flexibility, speed and sheer versatility of asset finance, combined with a greater understanding of the products and services available, will ensure that the sector continues to thrive.”