A Review of the BLG Graduate Rotation Scheme by Theo Athienitis

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.”

Catching 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.

Cleaning them

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.

Cooking them

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.


Theo Athienitis
Associate – Portfolio Management


“We have used BLG for development finance for over 8 years. During that time we have found their knowledge and expertise in the property development industry to be second to none. Their loan process, pragmatic and flexible approach to lending and flexibility when required has supported our business needs throughout the period and provided us with support to deliver new homes in Bristol and the surrounding areas.”

“As property developers you never know the curve balls that you may get and a project that is great on paper may prove a bit more tricky.  This happened to us on a project that BLG have funded and throughout they have supported us.  Our business likes to be collaborative and when we hit those tough moments it really felt like we were working as a team with BLG.  If you have a decent project you can get it funded, but what you really need is a business that is there to support and advise you as well.  For us on this project it was BLG.”

“I approached BLG Development finance with an opportunity I had in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, to build 5 new build houses in 2021. My main contact was Anil Bains who is a Director covering Asset Management. Within very quick timescales, BLG provided me with indicative quotes in regards the finance levels they could offer me. Having considered those levels, I requested a valuation to be carried out which again was dealt with swiftly. We proceeded to completion. The build went very smoothly with monthly monitoring being carried out by BLG and monthly drawdown requests dealt with in a very timely manner. Due to a difficult time generally in the market in regards selling, I was in need of a six-month extension to the loan which again was appraised very quickly and granted. Having dealt with numerous funders over the last 20 years, I can only speak highly of my personal experience with BLG and would very confidently work with them again on any future projects. “

"From our side it has also been a pleasure working with BLG and the team there. We have found you easy to deal with, proactive in resolving any minor issues that have arisen through the project and shown great flexibility in working with us as a partner. We will certainly like to work with you on future partners."

“I really appreciate your hard work. We really like the way you communicate & I must say I haven't seen many people who are that approachable.”

“A very efficient processing team, dealing with the DD once deal credit approved, through to completion”

“Many thanks for your efforts on this one and getting it approved and sorted so swiftly, very much appreciated. I am sure I will be speaking to your over the coming months.”

“We had other funding options, but chose to use BLG again, as we work well with the team, who always provide very clear information and advice with a friendly approach throughout the funding process. Very efficient and always very helpful.”

“Many thanks Anil, it’s been a real pleasure working with BLG so far.  We’re lining up the next project too”

“We would recommend all staff we have dealt with at BLG, as we are very satisfied with the team and the initial offer/terms presented, then you and the funding team, through to the draw down team at valuation stage.”

“All documents are clear and the way you keep clients informed, all the way along the funding process, is refreshing for us”

“With regard to what should be improved at BLG, we work with many lenders in our business and we do not get the help and response we have had on the two projects with all at BLG on our funding for our developments.”

“We would particularly mention Dave Edwards and Tom Pitts as being central to having a smooth working relationship and being positive and helpful at all times. Their guidance in helping us navigate the project from inception to completion was invaluable. As was their patience, particularly at the beginning. We look forward to many future projects with the BLG team.”

“We would like to express our appreciation for your support on our development in Bristol. We were very pleased that, from the outset, you shared our vision of the project to convert a dated but classical building, that had outlived its usefulness as a school, into unique luxury apartments with views overlooking the city. We found our dealings practical and streamlined. Monthly payments were processed in an efficient and timely manner.”

“BLG are very good at communicating with clients and all documents are very clear and all at BLG are always happy to help.”

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