10 Questions with...Jonathan Rubins, director of ABC

10 Questions with...Jonathan Rubins, director of ABC




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1.   First things first – who’s your celebrity crush?
Ooh, that’s a difficult one. I know! That bird from Entourage – what’s her name? Hang on a second [shouting out of his office to his assistant Christina] Chris! Can you Google what the girl from Entourage is called please? [Christina reports back that it is Canadian actress Emmanuelle Chriqui] I love Entourage.
2.   How long have you been at ABC? What did you do before this?
I’ve been here 17 years now, and before this I was a clothing agent and an advertising executive in financial PR. It was good fun, I was young – it was the 80s and everyone was very busy, I even had one of those big phones that I carried around with me...
3.   And if you weren’t doing this what area do you think you’d work in?
That’s really hard, as I was never one of those people who knew what I wanted to do. My first decision was made by Capital Radio, I called up the career helpline and they said try advertising so I did...actually, come to think of it, I know what I would do – I’d be a psychiatrist!
4.   How has your business adapted to the current economic climate?
We haven’t changed hugely. We’ve been forced to streamline a little bit, we’ve become leaner, meaner – definitely meaner...
5.   What do you think will happen in the commercial markets over the next year or two?
As I’ve said before, we’ll be bumping along the bottom for quite some time, but we will see growth, especially from house builders, there has to be or we’ll run out of stock. I’m not convinced of a double-dip either, the low interest rates are sustainable and it’s hard to see them going up anytime soon.
6.   What’s the strangest bridging deal that’s ever been put to you?
We’ve seen quite a few, the strangest would probably be someone asking us to lend on a fort in the Solent. We didn’t lend on it – it’s a funny round building on stilts! [ABC might have missed a trick here; it went on sale in July 2007 with an asking price of £4m, according to a report in the Guardian].
7.   How do you set yourself apart from other bridging lenders?
We’re very different to other bridging lenders; in fact we see our main competition coming from clearing banks rather than bridging firms. Our introducers sometimes say that working with us is like working with NatWest, well we haven’t done much that NatWest hasn’t done.
What also sets us apart is that we only do investment and we particularly like commercial investment property. We try and work with property professionals rather than accidental landlords.
8.   Outside of the office how do you spend your time?
I have two children and three dogs so they all keep me busy, and I do a lot of training for triathlons. I used to run marathons but then I needed a new challenge – it all stems from a complete inability to grow up!
9.   Favourite holiday destination?
Miami. Without a doubt, I love it. Christmas on South Beach is as good as it gets, but if you want something a little less predictable, I also have a house in Bodrum, Turkey, which we try and get to every once in a while.
10.               And finally, what’s one thing others would be surprised to find out about you?
I have a tattoo.
B&C: Pardon?
I have a tattoo of a devil on my shoulder. I was 17 years old, I would love to say that I was drunk, but I wasn’t, it was the middle of the day and I went with a friend who wanted one. I went first and then he didn’t get one!
B&C: Can I see it?
[Jonathan obligingly peels back his shirt and lets B&C sneak a peek at a slightly cherubic looking devil.]
B&C: It’s lovely.

 

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