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Novated Lease Companies

Explore novated lease companies, their role and how they can help you make an informed choice for your car finance needs.
Published on December 16th, 2020
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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Bill Tsouvalas

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Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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It’s important to compare your options when searching for the right novated lease. This type of car finance involves taking out a car lease through your employer and allows you use of a car without committing to its purchase immediately and comes with tax benefits. Novated lease companies can assist with this process, offering various lease options, terms and services to suit individual preferences and financial situations. We take a closer look at novated lease companies and their role in this guide.

What is a novated lease company?

A novated lease company is a financial institution or service provider that helps facilitate novated leases, which is a three-way agreement between you (the employee), your employer and a finance company to lease a vehicle. Here's a breakdown of the novated lease company’s role:

  • Providing lease options: novated lease companies source quotes tailored to your specific circumstances, which outline the costs associated with the lease.
  • Car sourcing: novated lease companies work with a network of dealers to help find a suitable vehicle if required.
  • Securing finance: the novated lease company will collaborate with lenders to secure financing for your lease, offering advice on different lenders and handling the finance application process on your behalf.
  • Setting up lease agreements: novated lease companies handle the lease agreement you and your employer need to sign and ensure your pre-tax and post-tax salary deductions are set up correctly,
  • Customer support: the novated lease company will provide guidance and support throughout your lease term, answering questions and assisting with any issues that may arise.

What are the benefits of using a novated lease company?

Using a novated lease company can offer several advantages to both employers and employees. These include:

  • Expertise and guidance: novated lease companies specialise in managing car leases, offering expert advice and guidance throughout the process to help you make the best decision for your needs.
  • Access to deals: as the companies have established relationships with dealerships and lenders, you may have access to deals and financing options that can save you money.
  • Convenience: outsourcing the management of your novated lease to a dedicated provider saves time and effort. They handle everything from sourcing the vehicle to arranging finance and managing ongoing administrative tasks.
  • Tax savings: novated lease companies can help you maximise tax benefits associated with salary packaging. They navigate complex tax regulations and structure your lease to minimize tax liabilities, ensuring you get the most out of the arrangement.
  • Ongoing support: throughout the lease term, novated lease companies offer ongoing support and assistance. Whether you need to adjust your budget, handle administrative tasks or explore lease renewal options, they are there to help every step of the way.

How do novated lease companies make their money?

Novated lease companies play a valuable role in simplifying the novated lease process, but this can result extra costs for both employers and employees. Here's a breakdown of their primary income sources:

Fees:

  • Setup fees: this is a one-time charge applied when initiating the lease. The fee can be a flat amount or a percentage of the lease value.
  • Ongoing administration fees: these are recurring charges throughout the lease term. They cover the company's management and support services, such as fuel card administration, expense reimbursements and handling any out-of-pocket expenses.

Commissions:

  • Finder's fees: the company might receive a commission from the lender for placing your loan application with them. This incentivises them to connect you with lenders that might offer favourable terms.
  • Markup on interest rates: in some cases, the company might negotiate a slightly lower interest rate with the lender and then offer you a rate with a small markup. This difference represents their commission on the loan. It's important to be aware of this potential markup and compare rates directly with lenders to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Supplementary services:

  • Car sourcing: companies that offer assistance in finding a new or used car for your novated lease typically charge an additional fee for this service.
  • Insurance: novated lease companies might offer assistance with obtaining car insurance for your novated lease vehicle. This can be convenient, but it's crucial to compare the offered insurance options with those available directly from insurers to ensure you're getting competitive coverage at the best price.

How do I compare novated lease companies?

Novated lease companies can simplify the process of acquiring a car, but it is useful to compare them before making a decision, if your employer offers you the flexibility to choose. Here are some key steps:

  1. Research and shortlist: start by researching novated lease companies online and create a shortlist of reputable providers. Look for companies with positive reviews, experience in the industry and a track record of customer satisfaction.
  2. Evaluate services offered: review the services offered by each company. Consider factors such as lease administration, customer support, vehicle sourcing assistance, and online account management tools. Choose a provider that offers comprehensive services tailored to your requirements.
  3. Compare fees and charges: examine the fee structures of different novated lease companies. Ensure that you understand the total cost of the lease and how fees impact your overall savings.
  4. Check lender relationships: investigate the relationships that novated lease companies have with lenders. Some providers may have partnerships with multiple financiers, offering you a broader range of financing options and potentially better interest rates.
  5. Consider customer support: evaluate the quality of customer support offered by each company. Look for responsiveness, accessibility and helpfulness in addressing your queries and concerns.
  6. Request quotes and compare offers: request quotes from your shortlisted novated lease companies and compare their offers side by side. Pay attention to factors such as lease terms, interest rates, fees and included services. Choose the offer that best aligns with your budget and preferences.

What are some of the top novated leasing companies in Australia?

Maxxia

Maxxia is based in Melbourne and is part of the McMillan Shakespeare (MMS) Group, which, combined with its other subsidiary brands, is the largest provider of novated leasing and salary packaging services in Australia. Founded in 1988, MMS began operating as Maxxia across Australia (except for Queensland, where it’s known as RemServ).

The company almost exclusively offer salary packaging. This isn’t limited to novated leasing, either, with numerous benefits available depending on your industry, such as additional superannuation, financial advice and even airport lounge memberships. In addition to this, Maxxia also offers car, home and contents and income protection insurance. 

Capital Finance

Capital Finance is a financier specialising in commercial vehicles and equipment. Established in 1995, it offers both direct financing for these products and an in-house brokerage service to help customers compare and access the most affordable products available to them. The industries it works with include transport, education, health and aged care, and civil construction.

Unlike Maxxia, Capital Finance doesn’t tailor its service specifically to novated leasing or salary packaging. In addition to novated leases, it also offers financing in the form of both operating and finance leases, hire purchases and chattel mortgages.

FleetPartners

FleetPartners is another popular lessor in Australia. As part of Eclipx Group, which specialises in fleet leasing and management and also counts FleetChoice and AutoSelect amongst its subsidiaries, FleetPartners has been operating for over 30 years across Australia and has also expanded to New Zealand.

Novated leasing and other salary packaging offers some of its most popular services, but it also works closely with corporate fleet leasing and management, heavy commercial vehicle leasing and SME solutions. More recently, FleetPartners started to offer and encourage solutions for zero-emission fleets.

Smartsalary

Smartsalary was formed in 1999 as a web-based comparison site but has since expanded its reach and operations to come under Smartgroup, which counts Macquarie Bank amongst its investors and Autopia and Smartfleet amongst its subsidiaries.

As the name suggests, salary packaging is the number one service offered by Smartsalary, with novated leasing front and centre as well. Through Smartleasing, which conducts the novated lease aspect of the business, you can also take out Lease Protection Insurance and Platinum Warranty Insurance. It’s also rolled out their Carbon Offset Program, which allows you to contribute towards the planting of native forestation to offset vehicle emissions.

SG Fleet

SG Fleet has been offering novated leasing solutions in Australia since 1988 and was originally formed as a joint venture between the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Lease Way. Nowadays, under the SG Fleet Group, it’s expanded to New Zealand and the United Kingdom and has acquired other leasing companies like nlc, Fleet Hire and Motiva.

In addition to its novated lease and salary packaging services, SG Fleet offers an online car trade-in service and other fleet management services for businesses looking for more than one vehicle to lease. This includes big and small fleets and those involving commercial vehicles like trucks.

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This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

Approval for car loans is always subject to our lender’s terms, conditions and qualification criteria. Lenders will undertake a credit check in line with responsible lending obligations to help determine whether you’re in a position to take on the loan you’re applying for.

The interest rate, comparison rate, fees and monthly repayments will depend on factors specific to your profile, such as your financial situation, as well others, such as the loan’s size and your chosen repayment term. Costs such as broker fees, redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, aren’t included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts may result in a different comparison rate.

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