60 Seconds with…Steven Barber, managing director Bridging Finance Solutions Group

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Do you think the FCA is right to have “lingering concerns” about bridging loans being offered when a mainstream loan would have been ‘more appropriate’?

I believe that as the bridging sector matures it will develop similarly to the mortgage market, where individual firms will have specific areas of appetite for transactions rather than a ‘one size fits all’. Broker awareness will be key to ensuring that loans are placed with the most appropriate bridging lender. Responsible lenders who are not chasing lending volumes at the expense of sound commercial principles and keeping the client interests at the core of the underwriting process form the vast majority of the market in my experience.   The sector is very different to that of five years ago.

Has the tighter restrictions on lending brought in by MMR hindered the bridging sector in any way?

Responsible bridging loan funders will be ‘underwriting backwards’ from exit funding, and along with assessing affordability this will be fundamental in the providing of facilities to the benefit of the client. It is down to the bridging sector to take into account the principles of MMR where long term funding is the exit route for the client and underwrite accordingly. If a commercially viable exit is not available it is not in the best interest of the client, broker or lender to enter into facilities, and this is where bridging companies need to work closely with brokers to provide a ‘cradle to grave’ funding proposition.   

What new product lines or innovations are you planning over the next 12 months?

We are constantly assessing a changing market and broker demand for different products. We underwrite each case on its individual commercial merits, the therefore market itself drives innovation.

Brokerage Enterprise Finance recently announced the acquisition of lender West One Loans. Can we expect to see similar deals in the future?

With liquidity returning to the market I expect to see a considerable period of mergers, acquisitions and consolidation of the sector.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

I would ride my motorcycle North to South through Africa. The most vibrant, diverse and fascinating continent.

Who is your all-time hero?

Sir Ranulph Fiennes – British Explorer and a genuinely inspiring figure for anyone who knows his story.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Leave enough money in the deal for the next person”

What was the last book you read?

Lord Heseltine’s autobiography: Life In The Jungle