It is a very proud moment for me to be writing this piece, but I am aware that completing this stage of my career is only the first step and this is now the strong foundation for continued work and learning. I would like to thank all of my colleagues at BLG who gave me the time to ask questions and learn from their experiences. It was invaluable to receive the advice that I was given, not only on how to complete tasks but also in how to support others with their work and provide a stellar service for our customers. I believe I have been given the rare opportunity to truly understand the lifecycle of the development finance sector, having rotated through each department (bar finance!).
In my final interview, our MD Stuart explained to me quite succinctly the transfers and flows of the business. He related the process to an all-encompassing fishing restaurant operation. Loans are the fish and our team all have their own place in creating a beautiful dinner.
“Catch them, clean them, cook them.”
The New Business Team at BLG is full of experienced operators who have done countless deals in a number of economic periods. From stories about double digit base rates and the boom and bust cycle of the early 2000s I was enthralled in every conversation I had. Seeing the relationship managers in full flow was a sight to behold, mixing professionalism with personal relationships is a skill that is forged deep within you like a fisherman’s sea legs. A special thanks goes to Perry for always offering his experience when I would ask questions about modelling deals. And to Steve, Dave and Adam who inducted me into their Bristol clan. I had spent three years there at university, but they really made me feel like one of their own.
In my first rotation in Valuations I learnt the underpinning facet of demand in the market. How to value a project. It was something that I was most familiar with but the added knowledge from working with Zahra, Justin, Lewis and David was incredible. The team showed me the value of being sincerely objective and thinking more holistically – seeing a completed scheme as a picture in my mind. I now understand the impact on the saleability of a project that an inefficient floorplan brings, where I would never have considered this level of detail in the past.
In the Loan Management team I was nurtured by two wonderful people – Lexie and Laura. They helped to refine a process driven approach that I did not realise I was capable of, where taking the time and getting every detail right is of paramount importance. All with the knowledge that mistakes are there to be made and encouraged if they will be learned from. This stage in the lifecycle is where the detail of a project is unearthed. I enjoyed liaising with our panel of incredible professionals, asking queries and picking their brains about how one factor may affect another. This is where the legal foundation of the loan is created and is an intrinsic aspect of how the loan will take shape in its next phase.
The Loan Monitoring team at BLG is a genuine and dedicated team – my thanks to Cecile, Anil, Will and Paul. The construction focus was something that was close to home as my family are contractors and developers. Being on this team was a privilege for me as it was like peaking behind a curtain and seeing how diligent and caring the team is, wanting every project to be a success and knowing every detail, at all stages. It is like a trained chef knowing the internal temperature of a fish on the grill. To my initially untrained eye it seemed as though it was an innate ability. I learned quickly that it only became natural because of the hard work that had been done in the past and the continued monitoring that was done to ensure future success. A special thanks goes to Anil, my mentor, thank you for always being honest with me.
I now take on the role of an Associate in Portfolio Management, working between BLG’s two credit operations departments with a focus on Loan Management. It is my hope that I will aid in the transition of our projects from plans to reality.
Finally, to Peter, Cecile and Stuart, thank you for giving me the opportunity to begin my career in earnest with BLG. I have learnt so much and look forward to repaying your faith in me. You saw my potential and believed in my abilities. It is truly unique for a Graduate to work so closely with the senior management of a company and I have not taken that for granted. I will always appreciate the conversations I have had with each of you.
Associate – Portfolio Management