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One to One: Jeff Knight, director of marketing, Foundation Home Loans

Recognising the value of marketing, dreading the M25 and a hidden talent for quiz nights

What ambitions does Foundation have for the future?

We have ambitions to continue to grow our market share within the more specialist buy-to-let and residential sectors. Our research has shown us that those intermediaries that have submitted cases to us have, on the whole, received a very positive experience. We will now build on this. We have also grown our sales team, and made some major enhancements to our processing and technology.

In what form do you think the future of BTL will take?

The market is moving a long way from being a homogenous one. There are plenty of landlords with more vanilla needs, but the growth areas will be among landlords whose requirements are a bit more bespoke and complex, whether it is to do with their circumstances, needs or property type. The rental market is changing, so landlords, intermediaries and lenders must all adapt.

What has been the biggest challenge you have personally faced so far this year?

At the start of the year, we ran a ‘kick-off’ event for all Foundation’s employees. The objective was to articulate our goals for the year ahead but, being a creative person, I wanted to deliver this in a different way.

I had the idea of using old TV game shows as the theme and to involve people from the business in delivering this.

For example, myself and our head of human resources completed a Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? style presentation. It was a challenge, but one that was very much ‘alright on the night’.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?

This is close to my heart. I do not think that the industry views the role of marketing as important as it really is, compared with other industries.

This is probably more prevalent among lenders that market only to intermediaries. I would like to see more marketing excellence, greater investment and greater recognition for the work.

On a Sunday evening, what do you dread for the coming morning, and what do you look forward to?

I dread the M25 on a Monday morning. Even when leaving at 6am, there are bottlenecks and Monday is the worst day of the week. I counter this by listening to a new playlist on my iPhone, which is what I look forward to. Work-wise, on Monday we often have members of the sales team in, so I look forward to catching up with them.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be a songwriter. But an inability to write music killed that. However, I do have a rather large collection of lyrics that I am happy to sell to the highest bidder.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Assuming that I would not impact the space-time continuum and change my life in any way, my advice would be to trust my instincts and know my strengths. It was not until I was in my 30s that I discovered my natural talents. If I knew these earlier in my career, it would have helped me to unleash more creative thinking.

Do you have any secret talents?

As discovered recently, I appear to have a talent for designing really entertaining quiz nights for people.

I like to be inventive with these things to ensure more people are engaged in the questions and do not know the answer just because they are serial quiz-goers. However, I shall not be giving up my day job to do this.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Sir King Kenny (Dalglish). Growing up, I just loved the way he played football but, moreover, he is a really humble and funny guy, who really deserved his knighthood for all the work he has done for others. He is a genuine person who always thinks of others first and himself second. I would love to meet him.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would you do?

Given that my daughter has just started university, I would change the whole system so that young people do not graduate and start their next phase of life with a bucket full of debt.

Company profile

Year established: 2015

Headcount: 240

Address: No. 5 Arlington Square, Downshire Way, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1WA

Tel: 0344 770 8032

Foundation Home Loans is an intermediary-only lender offering a range of residential and buy-to-let solutions for clients with complex needs. These include solutions for landlord clients, and residential clients who are mainstream misses.


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