Banking on the next generation of real estate finance professionals

The real estate market is one of the key factors to the UK’s economic growth, and crucial to its success are the people behind the finance deals that facilitate property development and investment.

The real estate market is one of the key factors to the UK’s economic growth, and crucial to its success are the people behind the finance deals that facilitate property development and investment.

Whether it’s commercial or residential, property development helps keep the UK economy growing, providing people with homes, jobs, and enhancing their quality of life.

Currently, the development and renovation of residential property is particularly critical.

Moving forward, finance for property development will play a fundamental role for the evolving needs of the UK population and economy.

But, to create more housing, student accommodation, commercial and mixed-use properties, and everything in between, we need the people with the right knowledge behind the deals.

So, what exactly are the professional development opportunities available to the next generation of real estate finance talent, and where does our own initiative come in?

Real-world learning

Ongoing professional development is a must as the real estate industry develops, and as ambitious organisations look to retain talent.

There are professional courses available, such as those run by the London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF).

These qualifications provide a good foundation to career progression and instil fundamental financial acumen.

Our initiative, the Real Estate Finance Academy (REF Academy), is designed to give talented employees within our organisation opportunities to progress their career.

Through theory, mentoring and on-the-job learning, individuals are given the tools needed to take their next professional step and forge a fruitful long-term career in our industry. 

First-hand insight

To find out more, we spoke to some of our team members who are currently completing a course with REF Academy. 

James Reeves

James Reeves, one of our relationship support specialists, enrolled onto REF Academy to gain the skills to transact complex property funding deals with a view to becoming a relationship director.

He said: “I thought joining the REF Academy would be a great way develop my banking knowledge further. 

“So far, my experience has been top tier.

“The course was exactly what I hoped for, giving me new responsibilities, from pricing deals and writing credit papers, to completing valuation summaries.

“My goal is to learn how to resolve real world issues from a Relationship Director with a view to building my own client portfolio and leading deals.”

Alasdair Bowers, also a relationship support specialist, has worked in the finance sector for just under four years and enrolled onto the REF Academy to develop new banking skills.

Alisdair Bowers

He said: “I decided to go through the REF Academy because it was so highly rated by former members of staff.

“So far, it has been really insightful, allowing me to build new skills and tackle things from a different viewpoint.”

The learning programme includes 10% theoretical knowledge, 20% coaching or mentoring and 70% experiential activity, conducted through client meetings and site visits.

Another person completing the REF Academy is Fumi Abbey, who is working toward becoming assistant credit operations manager.

Fumi Abbey

Fumi, who is also part of our relationship support specialists team, is already well versed in real estate finance, and through initiatives like the REF Academy, we can help ensure that careers can flourish.

Seeds of change

Under the REF Academy, our mentorship programme can be as quick as three months for advanced professionals, all the way up to two years for those at the start of their learning.

Understanding that not all young professionals can be thrown into the deep end is vital too.

After all, learning how to finance property development is a complex topic, and tasks like undertaking risk assessments, financial crime audits, credit proposals, and more, needs due care and diligence which comes with experience. 

The real estate finance market is undergoing a period of change, primarily due to technology and data.

Given that people are our most valuable asset, supporting team members with their professional development is really a no-brainer.

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