Avamore names Philip Gould as new principal

Philip Gould, head of underwriting at Avamore Capital (featured in the video, above), has been made a principal at the specialist lender, the first outside of the existing four founders.

Philip was promoted to head of underwriting in April 2020, after joining the business in March 2019 as senior underwriter. 

The announcement comes shortly after the news that Avamore had reached £250m in lending, which equates to 189 loans provided.  

“Inevitably, my role will change slightly in terms of managing the business alongside the other principals,” Philip told B&C in an exclusive filmed interview. 

When asked how he was aiming to further strengthen the company this year in his new position, he said that he is looking to expand the underwriting team and continue to enhance the lender’s processes and systems.

Last year, Avamore started conducting virtual site visits and borrower meetings. 

This has meant that the specialist lender has been able to increase its geographical footprint to include Leeds and Manchester.

It also brought on different KYC procedures to simplify the lending process, such as integrating Nivo’s ID verification and messaging technology

“You can be human-resource intensive or technologically-intensive, and I prefer to be the latter,” he said, explaining that work can be done more efficiently as a result.

B&C probed whether Philip thought the role of a bridging underwriter has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In terms of the core role, not so much,” he answered.

“There’s probably a little bit more credit analysis around what you actually think the impact of Covid will be . . . is the exit still there? Are valuations holding up?”

However, he said that, inherently, it is still the same job. 

He added that Avamore saw its volumes pick up towards the back end of the year when the market felt more comfortable — “I think it will continue that way going forward.”

The specialist lender closed more transactions by number in 2020 compared to 2019 and saw enquiry volumes increase by approximately £1.2bn to £5.1bn

What key changes and challenges does he expect to see in the market this year?

“I suppose exit is always the biggest one, realistically,” he said — especially when it's on to development finance. 

“There are headwinds coming which could cause delays in terms of finishing projects and, if we start to see [this], we’re going to want to push out terms for development financing which will then stretch people’s ability to refinance because, as the term increases, you’re going to have to have lower day ones, or lower build facilities.

“Those deals which were previously on the margins in terms of LTV may find it more difficult to refinance out into development loans, if you were at the higher end of those LTV spectrums.”

The interview can be viewed in full, below. 

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