For the world of asset finance the polo season kicked off in style last weekend, with the LDF International polo tournament seeing the industry’s finest descend on Chester racecourse for a few glasses of Pimms and a series of thrilling matches.
Four teams fought over two days for the grand prize of £10,000, including teams sponsored by luxury jeweller Boodles and premium champagne brand Laurent Perrier.
Despite some traditional British rain, even those unfamiliar with polo couldn’t help but enjoy the day. Veteran polo commentator, Simon Ledger, soon got the crowds going and took time out to explain polo’s unique vocabulary - of chukkas and tailshots.
As well as enjoying the inevitable networking that takes place when you have so many members of the asset finance industry in the same marquee, the crowd also enthusiastically joined in the Divot Stomping Competition held between every chukka, with a prize for finding a hidden silver token on the pitch.
More than a few luminaries of the leasing world seem to have fallen for the ‘game of kings’ – as evidenced by the queue of guests waiting to have a quick taster lesson on the polo pony. Thankfully the ‘pony’ was a somewhat less challenging wooden practice pony.
In the end, the final saw the Stella Artois team battle it out with the Laurent Perrier team to emerge victorious in a gripping 8-4 match.
Although LDF has been associated with Chester Racecourse for a number of years, this is the first time the company has taken full sponsorship of the Polo event- replacing Coutts.
The sponsorship of Chester’s International Polo is, however, just a small part of LDF's planned expansion.
Earlier this year LDF was acquired from Investec by financial services private equity specialist Cabot Square Capital. This new ownership will allow LDF to exploit new growth opportunities more fully, while still enjoying their very close relationship with Investec.
Peter Alderson, Managing Director at LDF says "We are very excited to be working with Cabot Square Capital – they invested in LDF as they see us as a growth opportunity. They bring with them support and financial firepower that will help us achieve our ambitious objectives."
The business finance sector as a whole has gone through a revolution over the last five years, with specialist funders such as LDF stepping into the gap left by the shrinking balance sheets of traditional banks.
While the economy seems to be on the up, there remains a ‘hidden credit crunch’. Traditional high street banks are still struggling to meet demand from businesses for competitively priced funding.
Having been there for them during some exceptionally tough times, giving a responsive and high quality service, many businesses now regard LDF as an important partner, alongside their bank. Now that businesses are switching their focus to growth, LDF has ambitious plans to build on these close relationships.
The LDF International Polo tournament was a fun way to celebrate LDF’s achievements over the last few years and look forward to this exciting new phase in its growth.