“I was destined to be a footballer – of course!”
By Laura Miller -
Sales is all about belief; that you have the best product, the winning pitch, the perfect solution for the client’s problem at just the right time. It’s a game too. Of course it is. Being a sales director for a bridging lender is then in many ways not unlike being the captain of a world class squad. And the way Andy Reid, sales director at TFG Capital, remembers it, a very close run thing.
“Like a lot youngsters growing up I was, of course, destined to be a footballer and play for England, which obviously didn’t happen,” he says, with tongue firmly in cheek, befitting the head of sales at a lender Reid calls “no nonsense”. Finance emerged as a good Plan B – with decidedly longer career prospects and, despite the valiant efforts of the boys at the Euros, seemingly a significantly higher chance of success.
“I got into finance by accident, says Reid, “a long time ago” (when Bridging Loan Directory reported his move to TFG in March it delicately referred to him as a ‘veteran’ of the sector). Reid’s happenstance entrance to financial services is a familiar tale. When the boots didn’t turn golden he got a “a great job” working for a large corporate insurer.
In the Eighties and Nineties life company behemoths trained most of the older sections of the current army of financial professionals. Far from perfect, as a range of mis-selling scandals later proved, the set up did provide an all too rare route into good jobs and career prospects for, mainly men, of all backgrounds. “There were no barriers to entry,” says Reid. Training in those days was procedures, processes and consequences of risk analysis, “a good starting point in understanding the policies and protocols of lending”, he recalls.
It cleary stood him in good stead. Reid chose to enter into the sales programmes – “there were plenty of exams!” – but found success in a wide variety of roles. Just over the last 14 years this includes at InterBay, Hampshire Trust Bank, and Oblix Capital. “Over my time in the industry I have covered everything from the IFA sector, corporate finance, commercial finance, development, and bridging,” says Reid, “and I’m still enjoying it!”
In total Reid has accumulated an impressive 37 years’ experience in the industry. Bridging is a small sector, some might say cliquey. Negotiating across tightly associated groups for the best part of four decades takes Marco Polo levels of navigation. “If it’s a 9-5 lifestyle you are looking for, it’s not for you, especially in the bridging sector where real speed of delivery, pace of progress, and outstanding service is absolutely key,” Reid admits. Over the years he’s giving up many evenings and weekends for the job. “But, like anything you reap the rewards of the hard work you put in,” says Reid, “the feel-good factor in a deal closing makes it all worthwhile”.
When asked what the biggest challenge in the industry is right now Reid demonstrates the kind of well-honed wisdom of time served, without falling into the trap of being world weary or jaded: “The last 18 or so months have been challenge, acceptance and change,” he says. Uncertainty around the pandemic led to some lenders temporarily pulling out of the market in a bid to minimise risk. But as a salesman who has lived through his fair share of recessions and housing market collapses, Reid is quick to flip the switch on the narrative. “After a degree of fluctuation and reinvention the market is, I believe, currently enjoying a period of increased activity as we see ourselves looking to get back to some form or normality.”
Remote working and meetings are fine, but Reid is old school and obviously pleased now face-to-face meetings are back. “BDMs are out and about, brokers are welcoming the interaction of client and lender meetings and there is a positive feeling surrounding the property and finance arena right now,” he says, “being able to finally meet again is fantastic, in my opinion it’s so much more engaging and meaningful”.
And when he isn’t working towards decade five in bridging? “Well, I love going abroad, I’m a big fan of Portugal as I’m a keen golfer and it’s where I often get outplayed by my son. No hidden talent I’m afraid – I’m pretty good at the straight lines when I do the mowing!” We’ll take that.
Laura Miller is a freelance journalist who writes about money and business. She regularly appears in UK national and trade newspapers and magazines, and has previously worked for ITV News and the Telegraph among others. Find her on twitter @thatlaurawrites