The Five Minute Interview with Richard Whitehouse, Sales Director, The Sancus Group

By -

Richard Whitehouse, The Sancus Group

The Sancus Group is a niche alternative finance provider offering short and medium term secured asset backed loans, specialising in bridging and development property finance.

Sancus matches Borrowers with Co-Funders whilst managing the associated risks for both.

The Group has significant permanent capital, which it uses to underwrite loans, before syndicating out to its pool of Co-Funders through its interactive digital platform. Sancus manages the process, including offering a robust credit process, completing all due diligence and ensuring all legal documentation pertaining to the loan is in place.

Sancus offers Borrowers a fast and efficient service and Co-Funders benefit from a range of risk-based returns at variable term lengths.

Sancus has provided in excess of £1 billion of funding to SMEs, entrepreneurs and developers and has operations in the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar & the Isle of Man.

The minimum Co-Funder loan participation is £100,000 and the minimum loan offered to Borrowers is £500,000 with no upper limit, the largest loan to date being £17m. They do not offer consumer loans.

We speak to sales director, Richard Whitehouse:

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

There’s loads!  The people are pragmatic and result focused, they also know when to have a bit of fun too, so working with the clients and their advisors is always rewarding.  There’s also a lot of satisfaction from looking at a completed site with people enjoying living in it and knowing you played a part in creating that.

What keeps you focused?

That depends what I’m supposed to be focusing on!  In work, I have a fantastic set of colleagues and we’re building a great business, making sure you don’t let them down is really important.  That approach extends to the people we work with too, everyone puts in a lot of work to make deals happen, you can’t take your responsibilities to those people lightly.

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

Honesty, integrity, graft and the ability to engage in a robust conversation without falling out.  Things get done in that environment which gives you opportunity to enjoy the successes.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

If you asked the people around me they’d tell you I’m very optimistic, and I think it’s easy to find solutions if you always believe there’s a way forward.  It must be hard to motivate yourself if all you see is trouble and failure.

What did you want to be as a child?

That’s easy, an airline pilot.  I’m a closet plane geek and I love travel, it seemed like the perfect mix.  Sadly being inept at physics meant my optimism only got me so far.

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

There’s only one game in town, the dreaded “B” word. Availability of key trades, impacting time to build and costs, combined with the uncertainty on asset values, GDV’s and market liquidity all make it harder to find projects to deploy capital into.  Funders that are forced to deploy capital due to their carry costs are counter intuitively having to be aggressive despite that, so a benign outcome would be good for everybody. The next 3 to 4 months will have a big say in that.

Who or what makes you laugh?

My son, but unfortunately, I’m invariably the butt of the joke!  The BBC programme ‘Would I Lie To You’ is fantastic, if you haven’t seen the Kevin Bridges horse story you have to look it up on Youtube.

Do you dread Monday mornings?

No, Mondays are full of possibilities.

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

The obvious thing would be to wish for my hair back, but in all truth I don’t really miss it.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

I love sport of almost any description so a prominent sports person would be great.  I’d love to ask Jackie Robinson about his life and career.  He played Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers and in 1947 became the first black player to play in the Majors.  He achieved so much beyond breaking that barrier when the odds were really stacked against him.