Acquis Insurance Management Limited (Acquis), the UK-based insurance specialist servicing the European asset finance industry, is forecast to produce record results in 2017.
Acquis’ director, Nick Leader, told Asset Finance International: “Revenues are up 36% on last year and have been driven by the acquisition of new clients in mainland Europe and territorial expansion by our international clients.”
Leader predicted that Acquis’ clients, including bank-owned lessors, independent leasing companies and captive finance companies, will exceed 60 funders across 14 European countries by the end of this year.
“Finance contracts under management have grown 43% during the past year to a record level of 250,000, with an original asset cost of €3.9 billion,” he added, “and we have managed over 100,000 new lease contracts through our insurance tracking and placement programme in the last 12 months.”
The best year
Acquis customarily monitors customer insurance compliance on behalf of its lessor clients - and also provides direct insurance cover for around half of the finance contracts it manages.
Leader said: “2017 will be our best year since the business was established in 2009 with many of our international partners extending their relationship with Acquis into new countries over the past 12 months”.
“We have now delivered country expansion programmes to 70% of our international partners – several of which feature in Leaseurope’s Top 50 Ranking table – and we expect all of our international clients to have made territorial expansions by the end of 2018”.
Leader confirmed that key aspects to Acquis’ international success have been understanding local leasing market practices and ensuring that Acquis’ products are adapted to be compliant with local regulations.
“In addition,” he added, “we have had to be innovative and flexible. It would be a mistake to assume that a product that is successful in one market can be ‘copied and pasted’ into another. Each market is unique and the demands and needs of our clients can vary greatly as we move from one market to another.”
Success with technology
Part of Acquis’ success is down to its use of technology. “We started with an IT system which was fit for purpose at the time but didn’t give us flexibility to grow as quickly as we needed. In 2014 we built our own bespoke system, which could more readily accommodate the different tax rules and currencies in different markets. All our business is on the new system now and the transition was completely seamless.”
When asked about the future, Leader’s message is very positive: “Acquis has a clear plan for continued growth over the coming 24 months. We are in the process of implementing a further 15 lessor accounts in 11 countries and, by building upon our existing relationships and gaining momentum in less established markets, we expect our client base to grow from 60 to 90 funders by the end of 2019”.
For the past five years Matt Salvage has headed up Acquis’ multi-lingual Client Management department which holds responsibility for the company’s rapidly growing portfolio of client relationships. Meanwhile, business development responsibilities predominantly lie with Nick Leader and Julien Gautier, Acquis’ European business development manager.
For a European-operating company such as Acquis the current uncertainties of Brexit are constantly present.
Leader explained: “It is crucial for us that the Freedom to Provide Goods & Services act continues to work in our favour. We are taking all necessary steps to ensure that, whatever the outcome from Brexit, Acquis is able to maintain its ability to service its customer base across Europe. This includes, if necessary, setting up an additional establishment within the EU”.