The Five Minute Interview with Martin Gilsenan, Director of Sales, Iron Bridge Finance

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Martin Gilsenan Iron Bridge Finance

Based in Primrose Hill, London NW1, Iron Bridge Finance invests its own funds to provide mezzanine and top-up finance on residential and mixed-use development projects. Its objective is to bridge the gap between senior debt and equity within the capital stack.

Iron Bridge Finance lends in amounts from £300,000 to £7 million in areas of high demand across England and Wales.

We speak to Director of Sales, Martin Gilsenan:

What is the best thing about being in the development finance business?

The fact that every day is different. I know that sounds like a cliche but this is particularly true in development. With mezzanine finance being our core business I can safely say that no two deals are ever the same.

What keeps you focused?

My family and the desire not to let my colleagues down.

What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?

Integrity, insight and a team ethic – the first two mean nothing without the last.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I’m neither.

What did you want to be as a child?

Aged 6, it was to play football for QPR. At 13, it was to be bass guitarist in The Clash – unfortunately a distinct lack of talent put pay to both.

What will be the greatest challenge facing the development finance industry in the coming months?

From a funding perspective, it will be maintaining a cool head to make the right lending decisions. This is especially important in the current climate, where we are presented with so much contradictory economic data and I believe this will be a major challenge for all lenders. That said, a market where there’s consensus that everything’s tip-top would concern me more than a market where there’s uncertainty.

Who or what makes you laugh?

Some of the clobber people wear on ‘Dress Down Friday’.

Do you dread Monday mornings?

No, I don’t dread it, but I do get that same feeling on Sunday nights that I got when I was at school – when ‘Songs of Praise’ comes on TV and you know that you haven’t done your Biology homework.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything! I keep learning, but let’s just say that at my age I’m comfortable in my own skin.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

It would be the duo from “Italy Unpacked’, art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and the chef Giorgio Locatelli. That would be an evening of great food, lots of wine and intelligent conversation – well, maybe initially…