‘Passion, Transparency and Honesty’

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Robert Johnson Cornerstone Finance Group

In our latest Five Minute Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Rob Johnson, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Cornerstone Finance Group.

“I spent the first two decades of my professional life as a golf professional – working between the PGA Tour in the United States and some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the UK.

After starting a family, the life of a golf professional and the thought of being away from my children during important times of their lives, didn’t feel right to me.

However, it was apparent how many relationships I had formed over the years with some of the most influential property professionals in the industry.

Many of the Golf club members were either high profile developers or owners of significant property portfolios.

One thing you learn working at these golf clubs, is the ability to liaise and understand the needs and requirements of business professionals – either on a low end scale or up to the high level, high net worth situation.

Since entering the property and finance I haven’t looked back, setting up some significant relationships with online aggregators and individuals, driving business and lead volumes for the company.”

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

The best thing for me is the time spent getting to know individuals and companies, understanding their goals and aspirations, and developing a strategic plan to help achieve them.

For myself and the Cornerstone team, the ability to help achieve the clients objective, is at the forefront of what we do.

Relationship building and customer satisfaction is certainly the most valuable satisfaction, by far.

What keeps you focused?

Client satisfaction, relationships and repeat business.

Cornerstone also have the offering of a whole of market, commercial insurance brokerage plus an international payments offering and both sit nicely with our finance arm of the business.

Making sure I have all the clients needs covered and that their requirements are met, certainly takes my focus.

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

Passion, Transparency and Honesty… Everyone works better together if they’re singing from the same hymn sheet and we only look to employ people at Cornerstone who we really feel will be happy at the firm.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Optimist for sure. I always believe positive things will happen with hard work and given their course.

I always look on the bright side of things and believe good things will happen.

What did you want to be as a child?

A better golf professional.

I was born into a family of golfers. My brother was a really good golfer a few years back, making it inside the top 100 in the world which is no mean feat.

I guess I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

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

Competition – there are more and more brokerages and lenders coming to the market and providing a truly differential offering and service is the key challenge.

Who or what makes you laugh?

My children. They just wake up with me every morning, having breakfast together before work and my one year old dancing whilst her 4 year old brother sings to her!!

The little things really. It definitely puts you in a good mind set for the day ahead.

Do you dread Monday mornings?

Not at all – I love the thought of what challenges lie ahead.

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

The difficulty separating the work/homelife balance.

I love nothing more than spending time with my family, and at the same time, when an email or enquiry comes through, helping that client to the best of my ability.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

At this moment in time, I would have to say the wife.

On a work front, it would have to be Haydn Thomas, CCO of Cornerstone and Mark Collings, Director of International Finance. I learn so much from these guys.

On a celebrity note, Tiger Woods.