Photo of a pen and ink blotWelsh dragon

After a few very quiet years for
the sale of bonds backed by asset finance paper, few would have
expected Wales to become the crucible for a renaissance in

But the wheels appear to be turning
in Cardiff, as hundreds ofms worth of loans processed by major car
finance houses in the Welsh capital have been put forward as
backing for loan notes to be sold this quarter, as reported this

First, £246m of paper written by
independent motor lender Carlyle Finance, which is headquartered in
Cardiff, was offered by South African owner FirstRand bank in a
bond issue at the turn of the year.

Image of a Welsh dragonThen, Lloyds
Banking Group-owned finance behemoth Black Horse (which also
processes much of its business in the city) announced in January
that it intended to trade some £568 worth of notes backed by hire
purchase contracts.

With both banks’ triple-A-rated
deals looking like they may attract significant interest in
European capital markets, 2011 may go on to be remembered as the
year when Wales single-handedly revived the outlook for asset
finance bond trading.

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Every little

What is it about mentioning the
name of Tesco that can get an industry quaking in its boots

This month MF discusses
upcoming deregulation of the solicitors market that has been dubbed
“Tesco Law” – presumably out of fear that the supermarket giant
could put law firms out of business.

Now, used car dealerships are under
the shadow of the colossus, with reports surfacing that the
supermarket chain plans to barge into the used retail market to the
tune of tens of thousands of units per year.

While the sheer amount of UK
acreage taken up by Tesco car parks would seem to recommend a
forecourt route to market for the company, it would seem that it is
planning to launch an online venture in conjunction with an
existing web-based retailer.

Tesco – needless to say – has
refused to comment on the suggestions, dismissing them as “rumours
and speculation”. A spokesperson continued to compare the story to
recent conjecture that the retailer was about to launch a business
in Vietnam.

But then again, Tesco has recently
moved into the pawnbroking business, as well as announcing it would
set up beauty salons in stalls and start selling mortgages and
current accounts later in the year.

What’s more, it has already put one
foot into the automotive market, with the launch of a partnership
with tyre seller to sell tyres through checkout

The big question for the motor
finance community is what Tesco will choose to do in terms of
F&I options – will it outsource to an existing used car funder
or, chillingly, decide to finance cars using its own resources?



Photo of two iPadsRichard
Hoggart, MD of national broker DSG Financial Services, is well
known for his love of technology – it is a little-known fact that
as a teenager he single-handedly published a magazine devoted to
early computer gaming.

No great surprise then that he has
brought his sales force to the bleeding edge of technology by
issuing his 16 field staff with iPads.

The tablet devices will link up to
DSG’s head office via the company’s Aquarius system, and will allow
the salespeople to deal with proposals anywhere and anytime.

“We can access information on a
proposal and make changes and produce documents before a lap top
has even booted up” commented Mark Gow, DSG’s sales director.

Still, with the Blackberry Playbook
being released to compete with the device, and the tablet’s own
successor on the way in the form of the iPad 2, it seems it might
not be too long before Hoggart is tempted to upgrade once


For a good

Photo of a clown's red noseWith
charity milestone Comic Relief just around the corner on 18 March
(Motor Finance will be having a cake sale), now seems an
appropriate time to mention stunts in aid of good causes.

Most eye-catching this month was a
report that brave employees of specialist motor dealer ACF Car
Finance will “slide to success” this month, as the team takes part
in a charity zip-wire challenge.

A group of 10 employees from the
company have signed up for The Springtime Sweethearts Charity Zip
Wire Challenge (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?)
which will take place on Sunday 20 February.

As part of the SSCZWC (no, the
acronym isn’t much easier either), the challengers will tackle a
250m zip wire from the roof of the Imperial War Museum.

The motor finance team has pledged
to raise more than £1,500 in personal sponsorship, to be divided
between event organisers The Stroke Association and the motor
industry charity, BEN.

With match-funding from their employers, the team expects to
donate at least £3,000 to be divided between the two charities.