7 key initial key steps ACE Funding consider introducing Small & Mid-Tier UK Property Developers to our Funders

Mitigating risk when considering introducing a Property Developer to our Funder connections includes;

  1. The Developers we work with are absolute experts at what they do. This may sound obvious but it is concerning the amount of people out there that think they are professional property developers and don’t have the experience to deliver a project for a variety of reasons a. limited experience b. ‘real money’ to contribute (circa 10%+ of the Equity requirement) c. lack of a robust sales strategy (exit). d. an ‘attitude’ that will upset experienced real estate funders – the ability to adapt to different cultures and to stay calm. Think long term and don’t upset people that don’t require upsetting. We know our funders, their likes and dis-likes, but all of us need to work together in a partnership to achieve our mutual goals and work as a team. With a contract in place KPI’s have to be stuck to or else penalties arise but both of course parties have to deliver their end of the bargain. Everyone’s reputation is at stake here.
  1. They know their markets and locations inside out. Again obvious but the Developer must know their area they are developing like the back of their hand and also have necessary contacts in place with planning departments, contractors etc. Live it, breath, eat and love the area they are developing, it’s all about being passionate about what the developer is creating and to be able to sell the dream. Anybody can spot a development site, the real work is securing that site at the right price with sufficient potential, adding value and achieving the best possible outcome for all.
  2. They have an excellent track record of delivery and generating profit for investors and well respected. If not then we don’t stand a chance of getting them funded. They need to be realistic with their Exit/Sale of the asset(s) and not aim to break world record sale prices in that area, that is one sure way to lose a potential funder and what if the market changes/dips? Be prepared to inject your own ‘real money’ sweat equity does not cut it, funders will expect you to feel pain also and it get’s you the Developer a better deal on the profit split arrangement.
  3. They also know the exit (or exits) before they even start. A critical factor but not every developer considers an Exit, they just build and pray the assets will sell – not the way to go! ROI, Delivery, Exit model….hold or sell? ‘Burn rate’ on the capital?
  4. They also take the right steps to minimise planning risk. Risk mitigation is key, the more experience the Developers have with planning departments the better, it is a specialist skill set which can only be learnt after many years experience creating value added when it comes to the final product. Some Developers get it wrong, thinking they are unique in their approach for example ‘spacial planning’, building something which they like and are convinced is the best thing since sliced bread but the general public won’t appreciate, wrong town, wrong area, not fit for purpose and do not take in to consideration who the end buyer will be, are they elderly, young, with children, close to public transport, noise issues and will the property be in keeping with the area and stand out like a sore thumb which they think looks cool but is clearly so wrong? We all know and hear of Developers out there with assets that just won’t sell in what has become a sticky market of late, several price revisions going downwards……OUCH desperate times, therefore credibility lost in the market place is a disaster and word spreads quickly in this day and age of social media etc.
  5. The Developer needs to position him or herself appropriately presentation wise. Just one example is leave the flash car at home when arriving to meet the funder (or park it up the road where it cannot be seen), be low key and ever so humble, monitor your social media promoting your lifestyle if you are aiming to put in as less as possible as a contribution. Again word travels quick and checks can be carried out, promote your success but take it easy don’t flaunt it and by being humble you will probably get a better deal for yourself most likely (at least half of our funders are self made and came from nothing). Funders are most impressed by Developers that plough profits back in to their company’s and indeed get the financial appraisal right from day one not making amends to make the funder happy which are unrealistic to achieve. Make the funder feel special, again think long term with this joint venture and give the funder value, try to embrace their ideas that make sense, work closely, become one and revolutionise your life and your families for years to come. Keep ‘grounded’ always and consider ‘their culture’ and way of working not just your own.
  6. We want to work, as do our funders, with genuine, hardworking, honest, loyal people with standards, morals and ethics. This is a partnership and life is too short as they say so work with people we like is our motto.

As I say just some of the things we consider when working with Developers.

richard@acefunding.org www.acefunding.org

A Very Happy New Year to you all and here’s to a safer 2017

Happy New Year

Welcome back to work for those that do and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Break for those that celebrate! I had the pleasure of taking my friend Olwyn for Christmas lunch with my family. Last year Olwyn, who lives close by to me at my London home, said her Christmas was rubbish, I said I would never allow that to happen again. At 88 Olwyn is perhaps one of the most interesting people I have met, her once privileged lifestyle since a young age coming from an Aristocratic family fascinates me, including living opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York throughout the 1950’s then losing her wealth at Lloyds of London in the 1990’s. I get to look after her now her ‘chips are down’ and my reward is that I can sleep at night knowing I helped make her Christmas the best in 20 years since her beloved husband passed away.

With regards to business I am looking forward to what will be let’s face it a very interesting year, foreign investment coming our way for major UK Property Developments including Student Accommodation, Shared Living, PRS, Commercial and Mix use via our business www.acefunding.org

We started the year very well with our business www.interestateseurope.com managing to sell a block of apartments, let’s hope this will continue for what could be our best year yet. Despite the potential serious issues we are yet to face with BREXIT I am very positive for the time being for all our businesses, only time will tell of course but there are opportunities with any uncertainty.

I wish you and your family a healthy, prosperous and safe 2017!

Richard

48 years in the making, it’s my Birthday and the launch of a new service, sorry it’s taken so long

Don’t mistake me for loving Birthdays at my age I just love waking up alive! A quarter of a century burning the candle both sides I do push it sometimes. 

As a networking junkie these 25 years please allow me the honour on my birthday to present to you our new service from our company Endorse in Me before I spend the day relaxing with my daughters and family. We are launching a unique high level business and lifestyle service for selected (pre-screened) professionals that require high level fast track support in business and socially http://www.endorseinme.com/business-and-life-style-service

Rest assured 8,700 connections on LinkedIn (many built previously over 25 years) has nothing to do with it, in a world that is all about preserving reputation you will appreciate we are very careful who we introduce to who, we are extremely protective about our network. Understanding is built, then we seamlessly make appropriate like-minded introductions which will benefit each party.

Meanwhile www.acefunding.org is experiencing rather interesting times since BREXIT with an influx and increasing investment in to our residential UK property developer partners. Bringing investment in to this great country is our life and ultimately providing affordable living to our nation. With Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) on a rapid increase here we are launching http://www.acefunding.org/services/octavius-real-estate from the last quarter onwards, in addition we are on the looking to connect ‘Principal to Principal’ looking to dispose and purchase genuine off-market yielding commercial assets across the UK. 

www.interestateseurope.com launched back in to the UK after 14 years away in the South of France providing a bespoke residential and commercial property service here in London for those looking to invest in UK property. It’s a personal customer experience not automated. 

www.hontheweb.com launched nearly a year ago now which summarises my business interests and previous life.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by great people, my business partners, friends and family. 

Enough about me!

Celebration aside I am interested to hear about your experiences post BREXIT and how you think the economy is heading? I meet such a variety of interesting people from all walks of life (Billionaires, Millionaires, Family Offices, Private Equity) who’s views are proving to be polar opposite. One said “this is going to be the most amazing period in British history” closer to home I hear “Richard prepare yourself for one hell of a recession” and watching the TV last weekend I see my connection here on LinkedIn, fellow entrepreneur Touker Suleyman says we are in a recession already….interesting times for sure as the UK Trade deficit widens according to a thinktank.

‘With the prospect of low interest rates for longer and further central bank stimulus measures, along with a little more stability in the oil market ahead of a forthcoming Opec meeting, stock markets moved higher once more. Banks were also in demand as the post-Brexit blues wore off and a UK competition inquiry was less arduous for the sector that it had feared. Even signs of a slowdown in the UK economy from the latest NIESR report did not dampen the enthusiasm.’ (source; The Guardian Newspaper 9th August 2016) 

Listen, have a great summer everybody with your loved ones and please don’t remind me in 2 years I am 50. 

Think Long-Term Not Short

We are all guilty of it at some point in our careers not spending as much time deserved on forming solid business relationships albeit not intentionally always. Of course it is all about time and exposure to business and the sheer experience that comes over the years of doing ‘real deals’ which tells us to stop/think and act strategically. On the basis that ‘actions speak louder than words’ sometimes I personally I use to put a little bit too much trust in to people I am only human. So much time is wasted on bad deals the older you get the more experienced you become to say NO as quickly as possible to an opportunity that could not only cost you and the company your reputation but also waste an enormous amount of time – bad news always travels fast and the world is getting smaller.

I am yet still perplexed at the amount of people in business that consider themselves professionals in this field of property but still act on the basis of making a ‘quick buck’ with such a short term view, I am sure you know a few yourselves that command absolutely huge fees and expect to do as little as possible passing that buck – churn and burn. The countless joker brokers in this business are relentless at sending deals they really don’t have the first clue about, we call them the ‘cut and paste merchants’ eager to get the opportunity off of their desk. The ability to understand why a good deal is a good deal is critical when dealing with any assets, looking at the business case clearly, understanding the deal inside and out as much as possible and not just taking somebody’s word for it. What is the risk? Is there an exit strategy and what is it? Would you invest if you had the funds and why exactly? Where is the value added? Etc.

Surround yourselves with experts that support you in your quest to remain as professional as possible, a polite quick no can save stress and allow yourself and your teams to concentrate on what really is important by not spreading yourself too thinly which we are all as I say guilty of, we learn the hard way naturally over the years to work smarter not harder. None of us have enough time to waste dealing with these jokers and also at the other end the buyer could appear in the first instance as a tire kicker, it’s a fine balance as the kicker could be just cautious and experienced, we all know when we are dealing with the real deal, when they do come consider the value they can bring to your business, your wellbeing, your future and you may have just one chance to make it work. Life changers we call it internally here at ACE Funding, they come perhaps every 10 years?

It is all about relationships (as my father taught me at a very young age when I use to visit print factories at the weekend with him) and the rest is BS he still says to this day. Of all the mentors I have had I still need advice, I relish the fact of building more meaningful relations in business but even if I don’t do business you can never have too many friends right? So the moral of the story is think long term, breath and take your time to do a better job, take advice from those that know how but don’t burn bridges ever as you could be missing out big time. Don’t limit yourself, think big yet realistic and use your personality to build relations, on the basis of trust works well for any relationship working closely together strategically and in most instances discreetly protecting all parties. Life is about learning and without mistakes we don’t learn.

The Best And Worst of Post BREXIT – My Personal Perspective

The UK and London speci­fically has long been a favoured investment location for individuals and institutions. We (ACE Funding/Interestates Europe) believe post the BREXIT vote on 23rd June 2016 that the volatility in world markets and politics will mean informed individuals will look at the fundamentals; on this basis the UK compares very favourably. No one knows the outcome but the opportunities to assist in providing those hoovering up yielding assets is keeping us extremely busy with discounts up to 20% for Billions of pounds’ worth of UK assets available and growing fast. My focus in business like many other business owners is about feeding our economy and I am proud to be in what is arguably the capital of the world dare I say. The UK punches well above its weight and for such a small island it is incredible what we have achieved however our government and policitian’s don’t so us any favours at the best of times more recently. We are taking a leap in to the unknown so the next few years will be challenging, will we ‘do a Norway’ joining the European Economic Area paying about 83% as much into the EU budget as the UK currently does. Brexit would allow the UK to negotiate its own trade deals with non-EU countries. On the basis we are small the UK would have far less bargaining power than the EU. Let’s see how things develop now that we have a new Prime Minister and once the summer passes.

The worst experience;

I bumped in to a group of friends at a local restaurant bar in Chelsea, one lady was clearly ‘celebrating’ that she had her country back. I couldn’t resist to quiz her to ask what she meant exactly fearing I had entered in to the wrong conversation “Well my father fought for this country” I replied so did my grandfather and every other member of my family (at least 3 deaths) sorry I don’t understand your point? Do you want to go back to a 3-day week in the 1970’s, do you want to go back to just after the 2nd World War struggling for years after with Government Food Rations? Or to the days when we had our Empire even? Is this about Nationalism? Have you considered your viewpoint is not exactly conclusive or adding much value with our position within the world? Can you celebrate something more substantial? Moving on swiftly I said on the basis you don’t want any more foreign people in YOUR country it seems what do you propose as a solution? We, Londoners, happen to have the most amazing foreign work force which quite frankly without it London would not exist – in fact going back hundreds of years and more recently the Irish, West Indian’s, Asians and Middle and Eastern Europeans to mention a few. The conversation ended. Should I have stooped to her level and retaliated further and said ok so not more foreign construction workers because you don’t want them here to take our British workers jobs, let us outsource our property development work to Modular construction companies abroad and save a lot of time, money and indeed to keep the local authorities and residents happy with far less disruption – therefore my company and investors would gain considerably and our British developer partners would lose out clearly. I am sure you agree people like that are not worth the energy and our focus is to keep our country in work and hold a more than reasonable respected position within the world. By all means come up with constructive viewpoints which there are many, albeit I voted to stay in I do understand some of the merits of being OUT. What I can’t abide the racial opinion of some bigoted individuals leaving the EU which have featured heavily in our media including racial attacks.

The best experience;

Meeting our funders who see post BREXIT as a unique opportunity to do business in the UK due to a variety of obvious reasons including the value of the pound and the property fund’s offloading yielding assets at a rate of knots. We are incredibly busy whilst at the same time none of us know how long this good fortune will last with no clear strategy from the government. ACE Funding are making hay whilst the sun shines but like everyone else we don’t know what the future holds, we remain positive looking forward to re-negotiating our place in Europe and the World. Our very good friend M.Ron Wahid, Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Magellan Investment Holdings, an Anglo-American investment holding company contributed a really interesting article in USA Today July 16th 2016.

Despite the doom and gloom, Brexit is an opportunity for American businesses. While Brexit may prompt the flight of some financial services companies from London, Britain’s tradition of democracy and its belief in business as the driver of growth, combined with the weakening of the pound sterling, should prompt many others to stay.”

Mr Wahid goes on to say “For American companies, there is a diplomatic advantage to staying in Britain. Brexit may well serve to strengthen U.S. relations with Britain by formalizing a trade agreement that gives American companies an advantage. After all, Britain shares many more characteristics with the United States than with its European neighbors, including cultural norms and the belief in capitalism as the driver of economic success. A trade agreement would not be di cult to develop between the two allies.”

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – Muhammad Ali

ali

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” – Muhammad Ali

Yet another one of my heroes in life has passed, a truly inspirational man who made such an impact on so many people’s lives, my thoughts are with your family Muhammad Ali RIP. He stood for so much; equal rights, the opportunity to make something of our lives, the list goes on. My favourite tribute Michael Parkinson;

“He was the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few”

Michael Parkinson has paid tribute on Sky Sports News.

The first time I met him, he walked across the studio floor towards me, and first of all I was struck by the grace and elegance of his movement, and the size of him. Then I became obsessed by his hands – he had the longest fingers of a boxer I’d seen. They were the fingers of a concert pianist rather than a pugilist.

He was the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few. He didn’t have any reservations about behaviour, and what he should or should not say. So what you got was raw: he could be funny, nasty, aggressive. He was a package you could not predict.

The nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in television was when his family came over with the Ali exhibition earlier this year. We had a call from them saying that he loved to watch the Parkinson interviews on YouTube. He would point and say, ‘Watch this, I get him here’, and all that. They asked if we could put together a compilation on disc to save him going on YouTube. Those interviews defined my career in many ways.

His charisma was palpable. You were sitting with a guy who was box-office. He could sell tickets – and sell himself – better than anybody else I’ve ever met. And he couldn’t stop talking. It was never an easy ride with him, but my word it was a fantastic experience”

BREXIT

BREXIT

I am no way a political animal but intelligent enough to take an active interest whether it makes sense to leave the EU, I am proud to be European and well as British. For Outers, leaving the EU will allow Britain to re-establish itself as a truly independent nation with connections to the rest of the world. To Inners, Brexit would result in the country giving up its influence in Europe, turning back the clock and retreating from the global power networks of the 21st century. What I am hearing from our investors for www.acefunding.org they are very concerned and slowing up on commitment before which is understandable as we experience with the Scottish Referendum. Those I have spoken to really don’t want us to leave, my heart tells me we should but my business head say’s absolutely no. I can see by leaving we shall also have more control over who enters the UK therefore reducing the threat of terrorism but then again being part of the EU we have access to records to avoid those entering. France said recently that there would be “consequences” for Britain if it left the EU? I can actually see both sides of the argument having spent time speaking to some very convincing people on both sides including my friend Mike Livesey who presents a very strong case to leave.

A study by the think-tank Open Europe, which wants to see the EU radically reformed, found that the worst-case “Brexit” scenario is that the UK economy loses 2.2 per cent of its total GDP by 2030 (by comparison, the recession of 2008-09 knocked about 6 per cent off UK GDP). However, it says that GDP could rise by 1.6 per cent if the UK was able to negotiate a free trade deal with Europe – ie to maintain the current trade set-up – and pursued “very ambitious deregulation”.

What is your view on BREXIT? What does your heart tell you versus your business head? In or out?

Warm regards

Richard

Greetings from Malaysia

Greetings from Malaysia

As one that is perhaps obsessed by keeping on the move I feel very much at home here in Malaysia, South East Asia. We arrived here in Langkawi on the 24th of this month, I took a couple of days out going back to Kuala Lumpur to meet a very well known, successful and absolutely fascinating property developer Dato Lee who treated my father Lord Evans and I like Kings quite frankly, he and his family welcomed us, with our friend Adria Dunn in to his beautiful home in the Centre of Ipoh the Capital City of the Perak State roughly 120 miles outside Kuala Lumpur. Dato Lee gave us a most informative upshot of the property current scene in KL (very useful!) We then flew to Singapore to meet more friends, again the hospitality was gracious and genuine. I’d heard so much about Singapore so the visit was embarrassingly overdue, I was very much impressed and have to say bar South Africa it is the best country I have ever been to by far. For those that have been you will know exactly what I am talking about, the cleanliness, efficiency, fantastic food, shopping, weather, the list goes on! Apart from the latter we, ACE Funding, are here to make new friends, to grow our business and to facilitate our own Real Estate Fund in London.

We plan to open a new London office with discretionary investment powers to invest in both development projects and yield producing assets in the following asset classes: Purpose Built Student Accommodation, PRS, Residential and eventually Leisure, Commercial and Hotels.

Malaysia is a country spurred by high technology, a strong knowledge-base and capital-intensive industries and with Adria’s help we have been able to tap in to some of the most influential business people here. Home to a dynamic business environment, technologically innovative firms and a well-developed infrastructure, Malaysia is a country on the move. But we understand without doubt doing business can be quite a challenge without local knowledge of the investment environment hence our decision to partner with professionals that share our passion to increase their wealth.

One of the most appealing aspects of Malaysia is that its high growth economy is backed up by a strong business environment. The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) rank it in 12th place in the world for ease of doing business which is hardly surprising on the basis of our experience thus far. My girlfriend Olga and I shall be sad to leave here naturally but at the same time looking forward to developing our business further in the UK.

 

Dad what do you do?

Dad what do you do?

For those parents amongst us there comes a point when your kids may  ask “Dad/Mum what do you do?” I had to think of an interesting answer quick to remain, I hope, a cool Dad, my answer could have been well I worked in media, sold out, re-entered and failed then decided to connect companies to equity connections utilising my networking skills and she would have gone to sleep there and then. But I resulted to the easy option “I herd cats and manage personalities” One thing have learnt about business over the years is it’s all about personality, relationships, trust and reputation. With my own core business that connects UK Property Developers to Equity partners it is evident that London is awash with both but it’s the capability to actually get a deal over the line, the development is there, the money is there not a problem, it’s convincing both sides the deal can be done and a ‘marriage’ can be created which will last. The returns for UK property development can be amazing but at the same time a disaster if we did not build a relationship with the developer appropriately in the first instance so we can believe in them, the funder also has to deliver not forgetting. My business partner Carl Davies and I are absolutely passionate about business and people, we don’t get turned on by fees so much as the restoration of our good name, it’s the opportunity to get a deal over the line – rewards will follow later.

Everyone I meet seems to be revved up about 2016, a mix perhaps of the result of the last recession where almost everyone was hit really bad, particularly property developers whilst it sorted the wheat from the chaff far too many decent developers lost their way, the trouble is creating a unique selling point. Super prime property is  very difficult to make a profit and every developer is climbing over the same deal it seems, it’s about finding a real gem, buying at the right price and adding as much value as possible of course. So a very long winded opinion, I might hone my answer in future to “I manage relationships, add value where I can”.  How would you explain your job to your kids?

Warm regards

Richard

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

A very challenging year for the world obviously, here in London as a small island we have been under attack many times during the past thousand years so it’s very much business as usual despite surrounded by evil.

I am looking forward to launching Octavius a property development equity structure backed by a Private Investment Club of high net worth individuals.We will be sourcing development sites in zones 1-6 in London, major cities, coastal regions and along Crossrail and other significant infrastructure routes in the UK as well as seeing my seed investment portfolio gather traction. I invested right at the start of the recession which isn’t ideal but the method of my madness is that things surely can only get better right? From a luxury ladies shoe brand to musicians software they all have major potential.

Whatever your ambition personal or business I wish you every success and look forward hearing from you in 2016!

Warmest regards

Richard