Leasing Professionals

Corporate Asset Solutions eyes overseas expansion as its new technology ramps up vendor partnerships


Corporate Asset Solutions’ (CAS) new vendor relationship with Mac Tools UK is a significant win for the UK-based lender which was only formed in 2004.

The partnership provides point-of-sale finance at some 155 franchisees of Mac Tools throughout the UK – with the short-term aim of doubling finance penetration.

Stuart Taylor, CAS’ commercial director (pictured above) told Asset Finance International that the company had been working with Stanley Black & Decker, the US-headquartered tool giant with a turnover of $5 billon, for over two years in an advisory capacity.

They were then approached to provide a full financing solution for Mac Tools UK, the division of Stanley Black & Decker that sells automotive tools to the garage equipment sector. It also includes high-value power tools, diagnostic equipment and professional tool boxes.

Taylor explained: “Mac Tools UK required a finance solution that would enable them to sell more products, faster, whilst remaining competitive to their end users and given marketplace. Our ability to efficiently manage the finance element of a sale ensures that our customers are free to focus on selling their products and services, whilst we manage the finance portfolio”.

Previous experience ensured sound support

CAS was established in 2004 by managing director Zac Cogan (pictured below) and was formed as a small ticket lender originating business from a mixture of intermediary and direct sources. Cogan’s previous experience in the industry ensured sound support from brokers in the company’s early stages.

Cogan zac

Initial funding was established by block discounting arrangements and, as revenues accumulated, over time the company was able to increasingly finance more of its own book.

Taylor joined CAS early in 2014 tasked with growing the company – and especially its vendor partner relationships with manufacturers, resellers and equipment suppliers. He brought with him a sound career in asset finance. The 10 years previously he had worked with automotive companies such as Volkswagen and Honda in senior European roles. Prior to this he spent eight years in a range of finance-oriented business management and account development roles with First National Bank – which later became part of Santander Banking Group.

Following the appointment, CAS entered into a wholesale funding agreement with Conister Bank creating further provisions for providing loans between £10,000 and £50,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises.

At the time Cogan explained: “We have built a strong and solid reputation serving a wide customer base of good quality SMEs over the last 10 years and this will help fuel the future expansion of our business.”

Powerful sales tool

To complement the services to Mac Tools, CAS has in-house built a powerful sales tool with the latest technology that ensures that the process is effective end-to-end from stock ordering through the credit process, electronic signature documents and portfolio management.

Taylor said: “Although the partnership with Mac Tools UK is in its early stages, current acceptance rates are as high as 80% – significantly higher than the company enjoyed previously.  Early data also suggests that it is also driving greater levels of new business through the network, with a further 15% increase in new business sales so far.

“Historic finance penetration on the programme is around 20%, yet with the processes, compliance, systems and support CAS will offer Mac Tools moving forward, we aim to double this penetration. There are lots of exciting developments we intend to bring to the programme. We hope the relationship will continue to grow and flourish to the benefit of both our businesses.”

Working particularly hard

Cogan added: “The programme dynamics have changed quite significantly from our initial engagement with Mac Tools UK in December 2014.

“CAS originally intended to provide an outsourced underwriting solution, that has since manifested in contractual terms to fund the entire business portfolio. Stuart has worked particularly hard to get the programme off the ground and has been assisted by the wider team here that have demonstrated that the strength and depth that we now possess as an organisation enables us to effectively partner with, and make a difference to, some of the world’s largest organisations.

CAS’ other vendor partnerships include Fortune 500 organisations, primarily based in the UK.

During 2016 the company estimates that 40% of originations will be sourced from vendor partnership arrangements, 30% from broker-introductions, 25% from direct sources and 5% from automotive companies. “However,” Taylor said, “by 2018 we anticipate 50% of new business will be from our vendor partnerships.”

From a standing start of one sole employee in 2004 the company now employs some 20 staff at its Southampton headquarters. Four of these are business development managers and two dedicated relationship managers.

Range of intermediary services

CAS values its 150 intermediary relationships and is a patron of the UK National Association of Commercial Finance brokers (NACFB). It offers its broker panel a range of services including micro-ticket (loans up to £15,000), asset backed lending (with security), commercial Loans – and balance sheet loans (up to £250,000). Asset sectors range in specialism from CCTV, vending machines, healthcare & medical, fitness and cleaning equipment and garage equipment, amongst others.

Looking ahead, Taylor is heading for more growth and points to cultural attributes that should serve to ensure this. “We are transparent,” he stressed, “we tailor solutions to fit our customers’’ business models and we never say ‘no’ to attempting a solution to their business requirements.”

It is only a matter of time before CAS is asked to implement a point-of-sale vendor partnership with a manufacturer or supplier which has cross-border operations – perhaps with Mac Tools’ parent in the US. “The challenge then,” Taylor said, “will be to fit the technology to the demands of a global business model.”

Always on the look-out for experienced new business staff, Taylor added: “We manage and facilitate a number of finance offerings for leading manufacturers, distributors, and service providers.  Utilising our own funds and working directly with a panel of major funders and investment banks, we maximise finance opportunities and deliver an effective end to end solution that entirely facilitates the financing requirements of our partners.”