The Five Minute Interview with Stuart Sykes, Chief Operating Officer, Oblix Capital
Their aim is to make quick decisions, whilst remaining approachable, flexible and completely transparent.
We speak to chief operating officer, Stuart Sykes:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging and development finance business?
It sounds a little corny but helping people’s dreams come true. Often we think of well off people or companies whom make big profits from this industry, and yes that can be the case, but I love to see ‘Joe Public’ achieve – someone who has some spare money, who wants to invest, who doesn’t know how to navigate the complexities of buying a second property; these are the people Oblix helps to make their dreams a reality.
What keeps you focused?
Growing our business for the underserved in the country. Not everyone can acquire loans from larger banks with low interest rates, so what can we do to help, how can we provide funding and assistance to really help those who want to invest in the property industry, how can we use technology to make this a simpler process.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
Openness and entrepreneurial spirit. Again it is a little clichéd, but in the Alternative Lending industry we need ideas, and we need openness to achieve. It cannot be a top down approach, but a collaborative offering that we can all buy in to, because all staff are involved in new products and new ideas.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I am a true optimist; I will always look for the ‘silver lining’ in any situation. The current crisis is for sure a terrible event affecting millions of people across the world. We can of course bury our heads, wait for it to end and hope we come out the other side still kicking, or we can take this downtime as an opportunity to review processes, policies, connect with brokers and direct clients, plan new products and new IT systems, then we can really ‘hit the ground running’ with slick process we wouldn’t have had time to review and re-write previously.
What did you want to be as a child?
A policeman, but growing up on the council estates of Hull as a child, you couldn’t really mention that as a goal in life!
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging and development finance industry in the coming months?
Rapidly identifying, and then getting to grips with the new ‘normal’. How much longer will developments take to complete if social distancing remains in place till the autumn, will valuations of properties and land go back to pre-Covid levels, if not can loans financed at 70% LTGDV carry on or will they need to be re-underwritten. This is the immediate future, and we all need to get our heads around and plan for it now.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Many things make me laugh, it’s good for the soul, but my youngest granddaughter saying ‘pop pop’ with a bit of a lisp really does make me laugh, and my French Bulldog Milo, who can’t stop when running on the wood floor in the house!
Do you dread Monday mornings?
No, I used to, in mundane jobs, but in alternative finance the start of a new week is the start of something to get hold of, to beat lasts week’s loan applications, to stand up new technology, or research the next new thing in the IT world. Monday is the launchpad to the week.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Physically my height, I’m 5’ 10’ in my Cuban heels! I would also like to understand how to relax a little more, to actually sit back and do nothing, or read a book in peace, something I have never been able to do, but I hear it is quite good!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
John F Kennedy, his compassion, business sense and moral compass were before their time, he embodied everything I believe is good in people.