The Five Minute Interview with Mark Dyason, Managing Director, Thistle Finance
Based in Edinburgh, Thistle Finance assist professional introducers and intermediaries across the UK in sourcing finance for non-standard, complex cases.
Their aim is to provide a private client proposition where their introducers partner with a master broker who understands reputational risk, can deliver a proactive service and has access to the very best lending institutions.
We speak to managing director, Mark Dyason:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging and development finance business?
It’s a terrible cliché but there’s never a dull day. While term loans can be very transactional, and often come down to administration and paperwork, bridging and development finance always challenge you. No two deals are the same and each deal you work on requires you to put your thinking cap on. Yes, there can be some vanilla deals but they are few and far between. The other thing I like about this sector is the people: because the loans you are putting together are generally highly bespoke, the relationships you have are also a lot more engaged — and therefore engaging.
What keeps you focused?
The small matter of growing the Thistle brand, forming new relationships and doing whatever it takes to succeed. Launching a new business takes up a lot of your time and keeps you focused by default.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
You just want people who are prepared to get stuck in and work hard. Yes, if they’re amazingly talented, that’s a bonus, but good old-fashioned graft achieves a lot, too. Oh, and it helps if they have a sense of humour, ideally a slightly dark one.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
A pessimist, of course. But a happy one.
What did you want to be as a child?
I wanted to be the first astronaut to walk on Mars. And if you think about it, there’s still a chance this could happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if NASA called one day.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging and development finance industry in the coming months?
The need to maintain professional standards at a time when the specialist lending sector is growing exponentially. While new entrants and players into the market are a positive, creating choice and competition, the bigger a sector becomes the greater the responsibility it has. With the development sector in particular set for a busy few years as the Government seeks to get the country building, those providing and arranging the finance will be in the spotlight more than ever – and we all need to perform.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Videos of cats jumping out of their skin when they turn around from their bowls to see a cucumber on the floor next to them. Nathan, my business partner, showed me a video one time and now I spend an hour each evening watching cat/cucumber videos. You should try it.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
God, no. You can’t dread Monday mornings if you run your own company. You look at each week as a chance to further develop your business and achieve new things.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be 10 years younger. Have you tried doing a roly-poly in your mid-forties?
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
Tony Sanchez, for being such a hero.