A qualified chartered surveyor, Rod spent more than 10 years at CBRE where he was a Senior Director in its corporate finance division. There he advised UK and global institutional fund and pension scheme clients on direct and indirect real estate investments, including unlisted funds, REITs, joint ventures and real estate debt. Before joining LendInvest, Rod worked with us for a number of years, advising on our Real Estate Opportunity Fund. Rod now heads up our capital markets and funds teams and is responsible for building our £765 million / $1 billion lending capital base.
LendInvest has transitioned from a fund management bussiness when it launched in 2008, to a marketplace lender, and now to an asset management platform.
Instead of travelling the world meeting clients, it was more efficient to build a platform to raise capital. Now the platform is approached by individuals of high net worth through word of mouth and referrals rather than advertising.
Angelie said LendInvest can approve a mortgage in two weeks which is half the time it takes for other banks, without increasing the risk exposure.
The mortgage industry is still growing and changing so there is much more to happen. Therefore an IPO by LendInvest is not essential right now.
Emma said that ‘direct lending’ means different things to different people, depending on the funding source and end customers.
Rod clarified that LendInvest is not a P2P platform – he now sees the business as an ‘alternative fund manager’, and it is registered with the FCA as such.
Andrea said that, when looking at this space, institutional investors will consider the track records of lenders, the people on board, the technology that is used to support the business, and methods of ensuring they have skin in the game.
Rod also said that operating an off-balance sheet model (such as P2P) is a great way to scale a lender quickly and efficiently.
Rod said that LendInvest is looking to use technology to lend more ‘efficiently’ than its competitors.
“We have to focus on the parts of the market that we feel we can lend competitively into.”
He made the point that all the people at the banks who had expertise in the type of finance provided by LendInvest have now long-since left, in the years following the financial crash and subsequent regulatory crackdown.
This last point was part of Rod’s case for the long-term future of alternative property lenders. He also cited continued regulatory capital controls for banks, legacy tech, and the fact that the supply of housebuilding remains low despite the government’s best efforts. He did concede, however, that the next ten years won’t be as easy as the last ten years have been for alternative lenders.