Leading industry executives have called for leasing brokers to sign-up to a code of conduct or risk having one imposed by Government legislation.

Heading the call for brokers to improve their image is Christophe Desplace, boss of Network, the broker division of leasing giant LeasePlan, who describes it as “one of the core issues of the next three years.”

“There are too many brokers who are practically unregistered, apart from a credit licence,” he said. “We’re supporting the BVRLA on its code of conduct; we could do our own but there should be industry backing. Most of our top brokers and others would support a code of conduct too. It’s paramount that the BVRLA do it or the Financial Services Authority will do it for them.”

The BVRLA is predicting 25% of leasing business could be going through brokers within two years, with current figures at approximately 20%.

Brokers suffer from a poor image, and Desplace believes signing up to the code could help cut out the small number harming the industry’s image.

The call for a unifying code of conduct was backed by ACFO, with senior member Phil Redman adding: “Brokers are a niche market but they do serve a purpose, particularly for short notice business. We would support a code of conduct because it would increase conformity and uniformity in the industry.”

Calls for brokers to sign up to the BVRLA code follow attempts by car makers to lock-out brokers from the fleet sales process, such as BMW’s moves on dealer incentives late last year.

Mercedes boss Dermot Kelly described broker business by car manufacturers as a “drug” adding: “Ideally we don’t want to talk to any intermediaries, we want to talk to end users.

“We’ll do anything we can legally to stop them.

“It will be interesting to see how the credit crunch affects that market. The market’s a hell of a lot tighter now.”