Graham Beresford FinSpace BLD

Graham Beresford | FinSpace

It’s hard to know how to introduce this next Diamond in a way that would do him justice. Colleague Steve Pollard is the best person to explain. Last November Steve was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of cancer in his abdomen. “After some initial tests to confirm I spoke with Graham to update him – his first thought was to ensure I focussed on my treatment and family and to remove any concerns about work”. Steve is self-employed with Finspace. No employment rights law required Graham to do anything to help. But he did it anyway. “I knew Graham to be a top bloke, but I was really taken aback by his support,” Steve says.

Falling seriously ill is devastating for anyone. For self-employed people it can mean losing everything – car, home, life savings – even if they win the battle to regain their health. Graham Beresford, co-founder and managing director of specialist broker FinSpace (along with Dave Fathers, head of bridging and development at the firm), made sure that wouldn’t happen to Steve. They organised for all Steve’s pipeline cases to be worked on in his absence, without any reduction in his usual income.

In February Steve had an emergency operation to relieve abdominal swelling so bad the surgeon said he wouldn’t have lasted another 24 hrs. He was in hospital for two weeks. “All through this time Graham waited anxiously for news from my wife without any intrusion,” he says. His recovery continues. It’s slow, and will take months. “Although I’m still not strong enough to speak directly with clients Graham has kept my pipeline on the boil and ensured I am updated – to my surprise I’ve even had some extra deals added,” Steve says.

One part of us probably feels this should be such a standard way of supporting the humans we work with it should be unnoteworthy. The bigger part of us knows it so rarely is, and that’s why people like Graham deserve recognition. When BLD asked Graham what the biggest challenges are in the industry right now he said the usual stuff – “a lot of uncertainty in regard to house prices, construction materials, project delays, cost overruns, developer exits, appetite to lend, mobility issues… the list goes on!” – presenting as just a man doing his job, getting on with things, not making a fuss.

Back in 2018 he built a panel from scratch at FinSpace, which is where Dave Fathers first came in. “Dave and I got on very well and as soon as I mentioned I was looking to set up a brokerage he jumped on board and helped shape the business so we were off the ground and writing business within two months,” Graham says. Starting off his career in insurance, Graham worked for two large PLCs for 5 years before switching focus to financial and insurance products in 2009, then going solo. When he says “I think the biggest challenge to the industry is being able to pivot to changes” he means it in terms of his own career, and, as he has proven in recent months, how he supports those he works with.

Faced with 24 hrs to live, Steve is eternally grateful to the many medical people who saved his life. But Graham’s decision to lift the yoke off of him professionally when he needed help the most has had a profound impact. “Knowing my self employed cases were being worked on provided me with similar gratitude for Graham as the doctors and nurses,” he says. That’s some boss.