10 Questions with... Daniel Hertz, Director of Commercial Acceptances

10 Questions with... Daniel Hertz, Director of Commercial Acceptances






1. When did you start working in financial services and where were you before that?


I’ve been in financial services all my working life. I had a six month gap during which time I worked at Chancery and that turned into full time employment.

I joined CA [Commercial Acceptances] 12 years ago, I was headhunted from Wintrust, a specialist property lender, where I’d been for 7-8 years. I joined CA as a lending manager and a couple of years later became a director.

2. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Not sure. My dad’s a chartered surveyor, so I suppose I was always destined to go into property – he put me off being a surveyor though.

B&C: Really? Why?

Well I wouldn’t necessarily encourage my children to be property lenders, or I should say they probably wouldn’t choose it as a career path after seeing the mood I come home in every night... I did quite like advertising and marketing... but I’m not really the ‘ad man’ type. I do enjoy the marketing side of this business and think that we run interesting and creative campaigns

B&C: You tried to break the mould then?

Yes, I tried! I suppose if I had to change career and start again and I was given 20 years and better grades, medicine would be incredibly rewarding. I’ve been in property lending for 20 years, I couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to, do anything else.

3. What’s the best thing about your job?

Great team – which includes our parent company Close Brothers – the huge amount of repeat business, the clients, good relationships...

B&C: Golfing with your clients then?  

Sputters incredulous What?! Golfing? I hate golf. My idea of golf is hell! If you don’t run around sweating it’s not worth doing, it’s so slow, a waste of time, I hate golf, I hate everything about golf, everything!

[B&C Waits for Daniel to breathe again]

No, I’ve never really been one to entertain professionally... we offer a good service, good product, our position is very strong and we have good heritage.  My colleague Lawrence Brown likes a game of golf. I’m happy to leave the entertaining to my younger colleagues.

Exciting deals is another great aspect of the job, closing a loan in 24 - 48 hours can be quite exhilarating.

B&C: Interesting, quirky deals? 

We don’t do quirky, we’re very conservative...

B&C: Right.

4. What’s the worst thing about your job?

I’m not sure what the worst thing is. You work hard, it’s long hours, but then I guess that’s not the worst thing necessarily...  there is a downside, on occasion, to lending which is never pleasant...

But overall it really is great, I’m very lucky, it’s got even better since Close bought us.

Dealing with the occasional default situation though... there’s no pleasure in that, but it’s part and parcel of the industry.

5. What trends have you noticed within the bridging industry over the last 12 months? And what do predict for the next 12?

The market is more cautionary given what’s happened. Funding a speculative situation is that much harder now, underwriting is that more stringent and whilst we do lend nationwide, we are geographically selective.

I can only speak for us, but I would imagine that it’s widespread; the market is reacting to what’s happened. There’s been a massive shake up, certain areas are performing well and certain areas aren’t.

As for the next 12 months, I think we’re going to see more of the same; a flat market. I can only see weaker areas deteriorating, geographically speaking that is. There are pockets getting worse and pockets getting better, the market is lending prudently and will continue to do so.

B&C: What about all the new lenders?

New lenders? It’s always been like that, they pop up and then disappear. Right now the market seems quite stable actually – the active members of the ASTL and a few others seem to be fairly solid.

It’s all down to availability of funds and opportunity, as well as the bigger names, there have always been lots of smaller companies doing bridging lending who fly under the radar, it’s a competitive environment, but it always has been...

6. Who do you fancy off the telly?

Linda Fiorentino, especially in The Last Seduction, she’s fantastic in that, it’s a strong, dangerous and very attractive female role.

And Jaime Murray, she’s lovely and played a very quirky role in Dexter, Series 2. She was possibly in Lost, I’m not sure, I didn’t watch that...

7. What’s your favourite film?

Crikey that’s a big one, anything by the Coen brothers, No Country For Old Men, all the Tarantino films, I could watch those over and over...

Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz are real favourites, but No Country For Old Men is right up there

8. What’s your favourite book and why?

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. It’s a love story with so many different elements to it. It’s set during the First World War. There’s one particular passage centred in tunnels under enemy lines which is very powerful, you feel as though you’re there and sense the fear, excitement and claustrophobia – it’s brilliant writing.

9. If you could have a super power for one day what would it be and why?

Invisibility would be great but I’m sure people say they want to be invisible for all the wrong reasons.

For me it would be the ability to fly, to be able to move very fast... imagine the peace and quiet up there and the views would be fantastic. The escapism... and I’d get to save my air miles...

10. What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

That’s a very hard one. All I can think of is that I used to do pro am acting...

B&C: Pardon?

It’s a slightly more professional than amateur dramatics and basically combines amateur and professional actors. I used to love it. I played Buddy in Come Blow Your Horn at the Mayfair Theatre, a Neil Simon play. I was in all the school plays, all the local am-dram productions – I was even recognised on the train once!

But I’ve got to be honest, my view of amateur dramatics now is similar to golf – I think it’s excruciating and apologise to my friends and parents who loyally watched every production. I was never any good at dancing or singing...

B&C: Are you any better now?

Not really, I’m an excellent dad dancer, but then I was before I was a dad.



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