The Five Minute Interview with Nathan Ellis-Calcott, Sales 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 sales director, Nathan Ellis-Calcott:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
The sheer diversity of it all: one day you can be brokering a single unit residential security for renovation as an investment property, the next sourcing the senior debt for multiple unit mixed-use commercial and residential PRS schemes. The challenges that these various scenarios bring really keep you on your toes, and getting the deals over the finish line often comes down to intricate rate and product negotiation. Each day I continue to learn and I particularly enjoy the old-fashioned method of picking the phone up, speaking with decision-makers and producing a bespoke product moulded to the client’s requirements.
What keeps you focused?
The fact that Mark and I have set the bar so high for Thistle Finance. Our goal is twofold: to offer a private client proposition for all of our introducers that comes with unrivalled service levels, and to package products for lenders correctly — and seamlessly — from the outset. I am adamant that Thistle won’t fall foul of these key pledges and that brings with it a lot of pressure. But bring it on.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
One thing I’ve learnt from this industry and at all the companies I have worked for is employ people for their attitude, dedication and ability to fit into a specific company culture. The senior management team at both Thistle Finance and Edinburgh Mortgage Advice then have the industry experience, knowledge and skillsets to train and mentor recruits in how to offer financial services the right way. But if the enthusiasm and drive to succeed is not there, it’s not there.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
An optimist — you have to be. It’s too easy to dwell on the “dark years” of the most recent recession, Brexit or any number of political issues happening right now that could have a major impact on our industry. Mark and I wouldn’t have launched to market if we were not totally confident about Thistle Finance and the specialist finance industry.
What did you want to be as a child?
A soldier, but that’s a story for another time.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
Ensuring, in what is for the most part an unregulated space, that the client always gets the best deal. With the number of new lenders and private funders in the market these days, our job as packagers is to ensure we keep abreast of all the new products that are available for clients and provide them with the very best advice.
Who or what makes you laugh?
5-minute interviews that take an hour to respond to and videos online of cats when cucumbers are put behind them. Seriously, Google it, but be prepared to lose an hour of your day!
Do you dread Monday mornings?
Absolutely not, I’m doing a job that I love for a company I co-founded with a business partner and team that in my humble opinion are some of the best people in the industry. Of course, if I’ve had a skinful the day before then quite the opposite is true. Thankfully, my wife will not let me drink on a Sunday!!!!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
As the Skee-Lo song goes, “I wish I was a little bit taller” . The guys in the office with all their height-ist jokes know exactly what I’m talking about. The lanky gits.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
Wholeheartedly Ranulph Fiennes — “Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know”. Bit like myself (if I say so myself).