Name: Ellis Sher
Company: Cheval Bridging Finance
Job title: Managing director.
Where do you live? Hampstead, London.
Describe your current job:
I have ultimate responsibility for all of Cheval’s activities, from ensuring the business is operationally sound and keeping customers satisfied to seeing that products are well designed and the business is underpinned by top quality risk control.
What was your first job?
My first job after university was with Grant Thornton in Cape Town. I was an articled clerk studying to become a chartered accountant. In South Africa, you have to study for four years and then work as an articled clerk for three before qualifying.
What was your last job?
I was a private banker at Investec Bank. My work was in structured finance and it was my responsibility to identify transactions the bank could become involved in. My first posting was in offshore banking and took me to Guernsey for a year.
What have you done in between?
Nothing. I moved straight from my first job to Investec without a break.
What has been the defining point of your career to date?
Meeting my current business partner Colin Halpern. He has played a big part in shaping my career. We became acquainted at Investec and were involved with transactions that broke new ground for the bank. We pushed back a lot of boundaries and became close friends. The result was that we teamed up to buy Cheval. We bring together my structured finance background and Colin’s entrepreneurialism, which should be a great combination.
And the most embarrassing?
I once foolishly told my girlfriend (now my wife) that she never surprised me so she had 50 giant ‘I Love You’ balloons delivered to the bank and ensured they were walked through the entire floor.
Do you have a mortgage?
Yes, a big one with Cheltenham & Gloucester. It is a flexible tracker that allows me to make capital repayments without incurring a fee or an interest rate penalty.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Osteria Basilica in Notting Hill is all that a good restaurant should be. It brings back a lot of good memories for me, too, as I took my wife there on our first date.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on dinner for two?
About 300 at Zuma in Knightsbridge. It was a business meeting, not social, but I have always said that you should never regret a great meal, no matter how high the bill.
What’s your favourite band?
Counting Crows – an American band. The Hard Candy album is their best, although it does owe a heavy debt to The Band and REM.
What’s your favourite tipple?
A single malt whisky or a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.
Do you have any hobbies and interests?
Cricket in the summer – I play for a London-based team of South African ex-pats called the Green Mambas. I also enjoy playing golf.