Leasing Professionals

Hugh Sigrist 1960 – 2016

Sigrist hugh1

With the death of Hugh Sigrist on Saturday 9 April, UK asset financing lost a determined professional who espoused and cherished the traditional values of the industry.

His passing occurred just over a month after he sold Renaissance Asset Finance to BLME (Bank of London and the Middle East) in what was a culmination of 30-years achievement in the industry. Under the terms of the deal Sigrist remained as managing director of Renaissance with several BLME employees joining the Renaissance board including Fred Yue, head of leasing.

Hugh Sigrist enjoyed an extensive career in asset finance – initially with United Dominions Trust, British Credit Trust (where he became the company’s youngest branch manager), and later with Mercedes Benz Finance. He was a founder of brokerage, Reliance Financial Contracts, in 1992 which was sold to Close Brothers in 2008, he then developed a portfolio of some £70 million over the next five-plus years.

Renaissance was duly formed in May 2014 and commenced trading in July. It wrote some £50 million of new business in its first year, its original headcount grew from six to 17 and there were plans to open another office in Q1 2016 in Wilmslow, Cheshire.

Hugh always made a point of operating his companies with the highest levels of honesty and integrity and with complete transparency to his customers. His loyalty to his staff was an example of the highest order in the industry and was repaid by many employees remaining with him for long periods. On many occasions he would recount to this writer how much he valued his staff and their expertise – and would tell in detail of their individual qualities.

Although it was not widely known in the industry, Hugh was an excellent athlete and completed some eight marathons including three in London. He also completed one Olympic Triathlon and one Half Iron Man Triathlon. He was also a keen mountain climber and had trekked Kilimanjaro, East Africa, completed the UK Three Peaks Challenge and the Milford Trek in New Zealand amongst others. Scuba diving and martial arts were also sports in which he excelled.

From an asset finance industry perspective he valued the importance of understanding fully all facets of the asset he was being asked to finance and was at pains to tailor the most appropriate finance product to match the asset – always with the aim of the customer returning for future business.

Hugh’s company spokesperson added that he was an inspirational leader of the business and their loss is enormous.  Hugh had built a very strong and able team around him at Renaissance and they are committed to ensure that his legacy continues in a way he would be proud of and as Hugh would have wanted, it is business as usual.   Our thoughts are with his wife, his family and all his friends.