A new business has launched into the UK fleet market promising a new approach to company car and commercial vehicle funding.
Called Maxxia, the business is a 50/50 joint venture between the founders of Visper Asset Finance and established Australian company McMillan Shakespeare, which also includes Interleasing and Holden Leasing among its divisions.
As well as promising to provide bespoke finance solutions for customers, Maxxia also offers management services for any type of asset, including cars and commercial vehicles, and is delivering fleet management through a strategic partnership with West Midlands-based independent fleet solutions provider Fleet Hire.
The team behind the launch of Maxxia in the UK has its roots in the previously well-known Interleasing/Masterlease/GMAC Financial Services businesses that were engulfed in the financial crisis of 2008.
Roots in Australia and New Zealand
The sextet of Maxxia chief executive Roger Skinner, finance director Lisa Edwards, chief financial officer Gareth Shaw, business development director Gordon Calder-Jones, chief revenue officer Julian Humphreys and marketing director Catherine Dawson came together at Visper Asset Finance, which was founded in 2011.
However, when McMillan Shakespeare, which provides salary sacrifice, asset management services and vehicle leasing administration to major employers across Australia and New Zealand, decided to launch its Maxxia brand in the UK, it plugged into an established relationship with the Visper team.
Skinner said: “I had sold Interleasing Australia to McMillan Shakespeare in 2010 so had known the company for three years. It wanted to move into the UK market and importantly it not only knew me, but it knew the team.”
Skinner, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the UK and international fleet and asset management sectors, believes the launch of the business in Britain heralds the arrival of “a refreshing new approach” to funding.
Historically, the boundaries of direct vehicle leasing and asset finance have seldom crossed in a single business, but Skinner said: “Both markets are complex, but we understand the complexities around the leasing model and the complexities of structuring asset finance.”
Supporting the entire business
While there is liquidity in the market, lending conditions remain tight, a view shared by Skinner, who says Maxxia will use its own funds as well as tapping into the wholesale market to finance vehicles and other assets on behalf of customers.
Critically, Maxxia says it wants to provide finance that supports customers’ entire business operations and not simply vehicles and thus provides a “practical alternative to the conventional approaches”.
Skinner explained: “We don’t just want to finance vehicles. Businesses need to develop broader funding relationships, reducing dependency on the banking sector which continues to feel the strain from increasing regulation and significant restructuring.
“We are committed to providing customers with finance that supports the entire business, provides total visibility of wholelife costs, and eliminates some of the all-too-well-known black arts.
Matching lenders and customers
“We will be a direct lender and will source capital from the wholesale market by leveraging the balance sheet as appropriate. Banks lend to each other. One of our activities will be to match the lender to the customer and we will sometimes be the customer.”
The entry of McMillan Shakespeare into the UK market has been welcomed by John Lewis, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), who has met with its senior executives to help them fully understand the dynamics of the leasing market.
He said: “It is great to see that they have decided that it is an attractive prospect. I think their entry through a joint venture demonstrates their innovative approach to business.”
Skinner said: “Fleet Hire will grow with us in fleet management. The advantage for Maxxia is that we don’t have to build an infrastructure or back office and we have a partner with proven capability.”
Graham Hale, chief executive of Fleet Hire, which has more than 6,000 vehicles on its books, said: “We will provide operational management support on a standalone basis from our existing fleet activity.”
Skinner added: “Fleet is part of the solution we offer, but it is not the be all and end all and certainly not the size of it.”