THE MEETING PLACE
Just over three years ago, Gerard Morgan Jackson started a new specialist division at United Trust Bank, focusing on creating bespoke, short term funding solutions for customers with complex requirements and often more intricate corporate or personal financial backgrounds.
Gerard recruited a small team to join him and set about establishing UTB’s Structured Finance Division. In that first year, working closely with just a handful of supportive brokers and direct clients, the team completed over £60m of new loans. Growth has been significant with over £300m of loans completed since inception. The new division played a significant role in helping UTB to grow its balance sheet to over £1billion, a milestone the Bank achieved earlier this year.
Gerard Morgan Jackson joined UTB’s bridging team in 2012. As a BDM he soon realised that his real interest lay with the more challenging cases generally involving multiple securities and for borrowers with complex financial structures. He quickly built a reputation as someone with an innate ability to swiftly appraise complicated scenarios and formulate suitable funding solutions. As awareness of the Bank’s capability to transact this type of business grew so did UTB’s appetite, and the demand reached a point where creating a dedicated structured finance team with its own case managers and support staff was a logical next step if the Bank wished to maintain its high level of personal service to brokers and customers. Commenting on the team, Gerard Morgan Jackson said:
“Our ability to quickly adapt to the changing environment and to not be unduly influenced by negative headlines or lending attitudes of our competitors has driven our success in the market. We, along with our clients, accept that volatility is the new norm and you have to adapt quickly or get left behind. We understand that by their nature structured finance clients tend to have a more complex set of requirements than most, and despite any uncertainty surrounding the UK’s economic future, they will continue to see opportunities when others see only danger. Quite often our clients will know what they want to achieve, but not necessarily how to achieve it. We provide the solution.”
James Greenyer moved across from UTB’s Credit team in June 2017 and has previously worked at EFG Private Bank, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander and RBS. As a Senior Credit Officer at UTB, James had considerable experience of assessing more complex development finance and property proposals, so when the opportunity to move to the Structured Finance team arose he seized it. “I’ve always found working with difficult cases more enjoyable than dealing with a higher volume of relatively straightforward proposals” says James. “The move also gave me an opportunity to get out and meet clients and brokers and build up those personal connections you don’t tend to have in a purely ‘credit’ role. You meet some interesting and inspiring people working in Structured Finance and although the pressure is on to deliver, it’s rewarding to be part of a team enabling often visionary entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.”
Ajsela Cela joined UTB over three years ago, having spent 10 years at Allied Irish Bank PLC as a Relationship Manager working with a range of business clients, predominantly property investors but also some trading businesses focusing in the leisure, healthcare and education sectors. One of the most satisfying aspects of her role in the SF Team is preparing complex credit proposals but also achieving the ultimate goal of completing the deal.
“I enjoy the challenge of putting together a proposal which has an usual and complicated structure with various types of assets and different loan purposes. Very often our loans have tight deadlines which means that pressure is always on. However, this in itself brings a certain thrill and excitement, particularly when the loan completes. Not long ago we enabled one customer to purchase a hotel by way of a share acquisition. This was a high value transaction which had to complete within the target dates of the share acquisition agreement which we of course achieved. Another case which also completed recently, was the refinance of a large partially finished development in East London for a new client. The circumstances were as such that other lenders would have turned it down particularly due to the unfinished works. The client was so impressed with our service on this loan that we are already discussing another deal.”
With uncertainty and a fluid trading environment set to become the norm for the next few years, Gerard is confident about the outlook for the Bank and the Structured Finance team. “We are a highly professional team focused on delivering a very personal service to a relatively small but very important group of brokers and their clients. We have shown our ability to deliver quick, intelligent and competitive funding solutions to customers with diverse backgrounds requiring funding for a variety of scenarios. UTB is committed to supporting companies and individuals who seek out viable opportunities and require quick and reliable funding to realise their ambitions. It’s our role in the Structured Finance team to ensure that those customers with more unusual circumstances continue to receive exactly that.”