10 Questions with...Richard Hamlin, First Merchant Finance

10 Questions with...Richard Hamlin, First Merchant Finance


With an MA in Theology and a passion for spy novels, he’d recommend Simon Cowell as an underwriter and is a director of the family-run business, First Merchant Finance.

Shelley DeBere speaks to Richard Hamlin...

1. How long have you been at First Merchant Finance and what did you do before?

I’ve been working here for six years now, and before joining the family business I worked at Accenture for three years, which I really enjoyed – it’s a great company to work for.

B&C: What would you be doing if you weren’t working for FMF?

I think, if I wasn’t working for First Merchant Finance, I would be doing something in business, working with business people – possibly even headhunting.

But if I didn’t need to work and was a retired multi-millionaire, I would really like to travel around the United States. I’ve been there before but I’d really like to just travel around everywhere.

2. Can you tell me a little bit about the company and its plans for 2011?

We are family-run business – father and two sons – established 15 years ago. We are a specialist lender on leasehold retail businesses in England and Wales.

I think we might be unique as a 100% broker-driven lender.

The last two years have been amazing for First Merchant Finance and we expect demand to continue into 2011 and to be even greater. Our plans for the next year are to increase the amount of lending and to do our largest ever single loan.

3. What made you decide to work in the finance industry, is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

The fact that it is a family-run business is a huge draw and I suppose people will always need money (laughing).

But I always thought I would do something in education, maybe teach either at a sixth form college or a university.

B&C: What was your favourite subject, while you were at school?

I loved English Literature.

4. What is the best and worst thing about your job?

The best thing about this job, for me, is getting along and working with energetic and enthusiastic brokers. I really like working with people.

The worst thing is Tony’s sense of humour! [Tony Hamlin – Richard’s Dad!]

B&C: Does Tony not have a good sense of humour then?

(Laughing) Well he thinks he is very funny but...well, you came to our last Seminar!

5. Who do you fancy off the telly?

(Laughs) Hmmm... I think probably one of the many female Sky News presenters.

B&C: Any one in particular?

No, not really!

B&C: It must be because of all the interesting things they are talking about?

I lose interest in what they are talking about eventually, if I’m honest!

6. Tell me one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I think people might be surprised to know that I have a MA in Theology.

7. What would you put in room 101 it you had the chance?

That’s a really easy question. I would put in brokers who talk and don’t listen. As I always say, conversation is a two way experience.

B&C: Is this something you have had a lot of experience with?

To be honest no, not too much at all, which is why I’ve highlighted it and I think that it just goes with the territory. At the end of the day, as they are sales people they are used to doing all the talking!

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

If I could have one super power it would be to be able to predict the lottery numbers. On just the one occasion, that would be fine!

B&C: What would you do with the money?

Well I would probably head off travelling somewhere. (Pauses) Actually I’ve got a young family I couldn’t really take them travelling with me... on second thoughts, yes, we could all go!

9. What is your favourite film and book?

My favourite film is ‘Remains of the Day’ with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. It is a very powerful film.

I could read anything by John Le Carré, I am a huge fan of spy novels.

10. Are you supporting an X Factor contestant and if so who?

I’m not actually supporting anyone on the X Factor at the moment – I think this is the first year I have managed to avoid all of the shows.

I do like Simon Cowell though; I think he would make an excellent underwriter!



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