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Offa strengthens senior management team with new hires

Sharia-compliant bridging provider Offa has appointed Sultan Choudhury (pictured above) as its first chairman, and Andy Blenkinsop as chairman of its risk committee.

Sultan has 26 years of experience in professional and financial services, having previously worked at Deloitte, Charles Schwab and Barclays.

Before joining Offa, he was the CEO at Al Rayan Bank for eight years.

Sultan — who received an OBE in June 2017 — played an instrumental role as part of the founding management team that obtained western europe’s first authorised Islamic banking licence.

He is also a chartered accountant, member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a board adviser to the UK Islamic Finance Council.

Andy has a 40-year career in real estate finance, including 27 years working for Barclays and HBOS.

Prior to joining Offa, he worked as a partner for 10 years at Pluto Finance.

Andy was instrumental in raising and managing funding from major global institutional investors and pension providers.

Commenting on his appointment, Sultan said: “Offa is a much-needed service required in the UK Islamic finance sector.   

“I know from having built a large shariah-compliant real estate financing book in the UK, that short-term finance can make a real difference for investors seeking to purchase a property quickly or otherwise lose opportunities. 

“I see real potential for shariah-compliant bridge finance products in the UK and we have strong evidence for market demand from our experiences at Offa in the time I have been here. 

“Offa's management team have a depth of experience that provides a solid foundation for success.”

He added that the company was ready to expand and that he would be supporting the process through guiding the business in funding, governance and scaling up both capability and capacity to meet that unfulfilled demand.

Andy commented: “Since joining Offa, I have very much enjoyed working with a team that delivers an ethical finance solution to the market and [have been] impressed by the professionalism of balancing the credit risk and delivering great customer service”.

Bilal Ahmed, founding partner and CEO of Offa, added: “[Sultan] is a great addition for Offa and is a boost for its vision to grow into a significant alternative ethical financier in the real estate sector.

According to the lender, since its launch in 2019, Offa has seen strong demand for its residential (non owner-occupied) and commercial bridging finance products, which range from £100,000 to £5m and with a maximum finance to value (FTV) of 75%. 

This year, Offa aims to be further develop its product range by adding refurbishment, stretched development and planning finance facilities.

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