The Five Minute Interview with Matt Smith, Director of Risk and Recoveries, Dragonfly

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Drawbridge Finance, London, United KingdomDragonfly Property Finance, are 100% committed to providing their key partners and clients with exceptional service and a flexible, highly competitive product range. Dragonfly Property Finance are a principal lender, self-funded and have a genuine appetite to lend.

We speak to director of risk and recoveries, Matt Smith:

 

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

No day is the same, and every deal is different — I really do mean that. Short-term finance is an extremely bespoke sector where there are new challenges to overcome every time an enquiry comes through. You have to react, think on your feet, negotiate obstacles and above all deal with a lot of pressure to meet deadlines, and I love every bit of it. Rest on your laurels in this game and you’ll be found out soon enough. It really does keep you on your toes.

What keeps you focussed?

The thought of losing the company money and writing a “bad” loan is never far from your mind if you work in risk and underwriting, as I do. Some of the deals we put together here at Dragonfly are exceptionally large, too, so you’re talking about potentially a lot of money if things go pear-shaped. Touch wood, though, everything so far has gone well. It’s fair to say that Mark Posniak also keeps you focused. While he gives the impression of being a cuddly bear on the surface, he’s an absolute tyrant underneath and rules with an iron fist. But don’t tell him I said that.

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

Common sense never hurt anyone, and neither did a positive attitude and commitment to the task in hand. You can go a long way if you’re prepared to get your head down, work hard and really get to grips with every single aspect of your job. That can then lead onto other things.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I’m an optimist, a ‘glass half full’ kind of bloke. I genuinely believe that good can even come out of adversity.

What did you want to be as a child?

I always wanted to be a professional footballer and I actually still do. In fact, I still expect the call to come one day from a premiership scout. OK, maybe I’m being a bit optimistic here (see above) — I’m fast approaching 40 now and that boat has definitely sailed.  I’ll stick with underwriting and risk.

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

There’s no doubt that the market is becoming saturated: there are now so many lenders that it’s hard to keep track. Now while competition is a good thing, and keeps everyone else on their toes, the risk is that you have lenders who aren’t that familiar with the way the sector works and the many risks involved. Right now, the sector’s reputation is stronger than it has ever been: it really is professional through and through. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s a world apart from the “amateur” era of bridging pre-2008. What we don’t want is for standards to drop as every man and his dog piles into the sector in search of returns.

Who or what makes you laugh?

My children, without a doubt. The things they come out with it are hilarious. The worst thing is when you really shouldn’t laugh but just can’t stop yourself!

Do you dread Monday mornings?

Not at all. I work in a vibrant and exciting environment where so much is going on. As I mentioned above, no two days are the same and this make you look forward to work. I feel for people who dread Monday mornings, I really do. Your job is at the heart of your life and if you don’t enjoy it, it can have a really big and negative effect.

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

My sense of humour. Now this is not something I personally would change, as I think I am really funny, it is just that everyone else doesn’t. Clearly they’re all wrong but then I am a team player and always, ahem, put others before myself.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

Sir Ian Botham, who else? I could listen all day to his “on tour stories”. What a character. Sport needs more people like Beefy.