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Leasing Execs Explore Innovation at The Alta Group’s Senior Executive Summit

February 12, 2013, 07:29 AM
Filed Under: Industry News

In a senior executive Summit held last month by The Alta Group, a global consulting firm devoted to the business of equipment finance and leasing, the subject of innovation was deeply explored from many perspectives and with insight from industry pioneers and heads of major multinational companies.

Some business areas described as ripe for innovation include asset management and operations. With today’s equipment monitoring and tracking tools, lessors can develop more targeted strategies for building business because more precise data  leads to better channels for success and provides strategic knowledge about impacting variables or potential risks.  “Such knowledgeable and strategic decisions will then support new market approaches and also help their customers improve their bottom lines,” said Alta CEO John Deane.

A survey of summit attendees indicated they have a strong desire to improve operational effectiveness and better harness intelligence from data.  The attendees also noted that they value the opportunity to speak candidly among themselves without vendors. 

This was Alta’s fourth annual event of this type, and Crit DeMent, chairman and CEO of LEAF Commercial Capital, Philadelphia, Pa., who attended all four said, “You can spend more time with your peers and the subjects are relevant.”  He said he appreciated the topic of innovation because “you don’t usually think of finance companies as being innovative.”

The 25 attendees—senior-level equipment leasing and finance executives--rated their own industry at the grade level of “C” when asked to compare their industry on innovation today versus where they thought it should and could be.

“We rated ourselves as “C” because many finance companies don’t want to be viewed as innovators; it could be construed as being risk takers, said DeMent. “We gained a different perspective at this summit--that there are ways we can improve how we operate without assuming more risk.”

Guest speaker, Scott Thacker, president of Ivory Consulting Corporation, Walnut Creek, Calif., provided a well-received “innovation tournament” creating dynamic interaction that resulted in discussion about clear distinctions between operational and technical changes. Some of these changes were reported to be underway in companies where they are already harnessing new technology and new business models to prepare for more sustainable growth.

Industry pioneers who are leading consultants with Alta, such as Tom Wajnert and Bruce Kropschot, discussed the historic roots of innovation in the equipment leasing industry as well as the impact of the current economic and regulatory environment.

Facilitators addressed how innovation could transform their businesses and the industry as a whole. Jonathan L. Fales, a senior managing director with Alta, pointed out that growth can only be sustainable with innovation.  Paul Bent, a senior managing director and head of Alta’s Legal Support Services Practice, suggested the idea of auditing as an internal way to evaluate or validate innovative change being considered or underway. Even faced with more regulation, he said, finance companies can still innovate.

While the annual event is by invitation and its discussions exclusive to attendees—all senior executives-- The Alta Group welcomes inquiries via John C. Deane who can share some of the consultancy’s background information that formed the basis for the event theme on innovation.   Alta’s Michael J. Fleming, a senior managing director and one of the event moderators, has written recently on this subject. His article will soon be published in the Newsline magazine of the National Equipment Finance Association and a version is currently posted on the digital site of World Leasing News.

Since 1992, The Alta Group has represented equipment leasing and finance companies, financial institutions, manufacturers and service providers, offering management consulting and expertise in global market entry, vendor and captive finance, professional development, legal support services, asset management and mergers and acquisitions.The practices in North America are described at

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