New hires boost Octopus Property’s development offering


Chalk Farm

Specialist lender Octopus Property (OP) has made three senior hires in its development team, following a period of record lending. This strengthens its commitment to the sector as it continues to grow the loan book and expand its footprint across the UK. Since May 2017, OP has lent a record £94mn, funding 21 schemes, firmly establishing OP as a partner of choice for professional developers looking for bespoke financing solutions.

Paul Watson, Martyn Pollock and Matt Foley have been appointed to the roles of Development Origination Manager, Refurbishment Origination Manager and Credit Underwriter respectively. Paul started his career at Jones Lang La Salle, then joined Royal Bank of Scotland’s asset management team and most recently worked managing a number of successful family office real estate portfolios. Martyn is a former corporate lawyer, who previously ran a boutique residential development business, focused on schemes with a £2-£5mn GDV. Matt joins from Lloyds Banking Group, where he spent five years in restructuring before working as the bank’s hotel and retail analyst.

2017 development highlights include:

  • New development exit product launched in July 2017 to enhance the OP Lifecycle Lending proposition, enabling borrowers to switch products easily, using the same service provider without incurring additional fees;
  • Six London schemes lent against in Q3, totalling £24mn, demonstrating the ongoing demand for well located, good quality residential schemes;
  • Diversified geographical focus as demand from smaller housebuilders outside of the South East remains buoyant, including new projects financed in Birmingham and Bedford.


Emma Burke, Head of Development Origination at Octopus Property, commented:

“The breadth of our lending in 2017, combined with demand for our new product suite illustrates that we are getting it right in terms of delivering flexible products for our developers. Our loan book continues to build at record pace, through lending on liquid sensibly priced schemes in strong locations and partnering with experienced developers.

“The appointments of Paul, Martyn and Matt will further complement the skills of our existing experienced team, as we continue to differentiate ourselves from the peer group by swiftly assessing and completing loans for a range of borrowers in the mainstream development finance market, while retaining our first-class customer service.”

The wider OP business has doubled its origination volumes over the past 24 months as a result of launching new products and increasing the size of its team from 40 people in January to more than 60 today.  It expects to grow its new lending to £1bn a year in the next 12 months and double the size of its loan book to £1.5bn over the next two years.