Fortwell Capital, the bridging finance specialist owned by Christian Candy’s CPC Group, has hired Arthur Jennings (pictured on left) from Qatar National Bank to lead its development finance drive.
Jennings has joined Fortwell as its head of development finance, a newly-created role. He will have overall responsibility for the management of the company’s development finance portfolio, including underwriting new deals.
Fortwell, which rebranded in February from Omni Capital Partners, is aiming to increase the volume of its development lending. The firm, based in London’s Knightsbridge area, provides “high-value” short and medium-term funding to the non-regulated real estate market, including bridging finance, buy-to-let loans for high net-worth clients and structured finance, as well as its development finance offer.
The firm recently removed the cap on the size of its development loans, which had been set at around £50 million. It provides development finance in minimum lot sizes of £5 million, but says that it will entertain proposals for as much as £250 million.
Fortwell has also increased its maximum loan-to-gross development value ratio from 70 percent to 75 percent.
The firm said that the decision to consider larger development loans was a result of its increased experience in the sector during the last two years and its success to date in managing the risk-reward balance across such deals.
Fortwell also recently made the decision to raise the minimum loan size across its bridging loans from £350,000 to £3 million, to reflect its exclusive focus on high-value funding. It also reduced some interest rates from 0.75 percent to 0.65 percent per month in deals of sub-50 percent loan-to-value.
In a statement, Fortwell’s chief executive, Colin Sanders, said that the firm’s focus will remain firmly on London and the South East, which the firm judges will provide the best returns for “high-value specialists” for the foreseeable future. “We believe the next few years will reveal superb opportunities for securely-funded, nimble lenders able to strike the right balance between risk and reward,” he said.
Prior to joining Fortwell, Jennings was relationship manager at the London branch of Qatar National Bank since January 2015. Previously, he worked at Royal Bank of Scotland for almost ten years, most recently as a corporate manager in the bank’s global restructuring group since March 2011.
“I’m passionate about the sector, but bank lending has become very tightly regulated and vanilla in nature,” commented Jennings. “Fortwell’s offering attracted me because of its skilled individuals and the support it receives from its parent business, CPC Group. These unique factors enable Fortwell to pursue opportunities others cannot.”
Fortwell has also hired Nikos Yerolemou as a senior analyst in the development finance team, reporting to Jennings. Yerolemou was previously an analyst with Lloyds Banking Group’s commercial real estate division. His role at Fortwell will be to provide transactional modelling and to support the development finance team during the funding process, including scheme analysis.