The Five Minute Interview with Alice Williams, Head of Property Finance, Pilot Fish
Pilot Fish is an established commercial broker who raise finance for businesses and property developers. Our advisors are former Finance Directors, Accountants and Bankers with a deep understanding of the commercial markets. We value our relationships and stand for responsiveness, transparency and client satisfaction. The Pilot Fish Private Investors Club sources further funding for development over and above what is available from property lenders.
We speak to head of property finance, Alice Williams:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging & development finance business?
The fast-paced nature of the job. No case or client are the same, and each unique circumstance requires creative thinking and on-the-spot decision making. The market is constantly changing with new lenders entering and exiting the market regularly, combined with continual changes to products and lending criteria, meaning I am constantly learning and developing professionally.
What keeps you focused?
My clients! When clients approach me, I immediately become engaged in the deal and I am keen to see my clients succeed. I feel a sense of obligation to assist wherever possible. I also have clear goals over the next 1, 3 and 5 years including additional educational and professional accreditations which will enable me to provide an even more advanced level of support for my clients.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
I think it is vital that all individuals are team players and that their ethos and values align with those of the rest of the team. A sense of humour also goes a long way, especially when this industry can be a bit of a rollercoaster at times!
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Optimist with the occasional pinch of pessimism.
What did you want to be as a child?
I didn’t have anything specific in mind, other than I knew I wanted nice (fast!) cars, and to travel the world.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging & development finance industry in the coming months?
I firmly believe that down-valuations are going to be the biggest challenge. We are seeing them across the board on bridging and development finance, as well as commercial mortgages and it is having a detrimental impact on our clients as they are not able to borrow as much as anticipated based on their perceived values. I do think the impact can be mitigated somewhat when purchasing, as a valuation report giving a value lower than the purchase price is a good negotiating tool.
Who or what makes you laugh?
My team! I don’t think there is a single day that goes by in the office where we don’t have laugh about something. I also have a very sarcastic sense of humour, so anything along those lines will definitely make me laugh.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
No! I always walk into work on Monday with a clear focus of what needs to be done, so as soon as I sit down, I’m eager to get stuck in.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My ability to switch off. I find it impossible to leave work at the door and to ignore emails/calls outside of working hours or when on annual leave. I keep telling myself I need to remove Outlook from my mobile but haven’t yet been able to bring myself to do this!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
My family/boyfriend. I spend so much time working, so quality time with them would be my ideal dinner.