10 Questions with Simon Allen of Total Business Finance

10 Questions with Simon Allen of Total Business Finance



A Man City fan who wanted to be a military policeman with the power to vaporise people…



Jason McGee-Abe spoke with Simon Allen, Business Finance Specialist at Total Business Finance…




(1) How long have you been in the industry and how did you get to where you are now?



27 years in property finance and 5 years in bridging. Mainly development and investment finance. Equally at home in hard hat and riggers or in the office. Have done business development, audit, underwriting and have also been a director of a principal lender. Every deal is looked at with these various heads on looking for issues and considerable time is spent on identifying the repayment route for the lender.



Total Business Finance is now in its third year and as well as helping professionals and their clients in the bridging market, we are partners of both Shawbrook and Aldermore which is great news for a business still in its infancy.



(2) What did you want to be when you were younger?



Either a journalist or military policeman. Couldn’t make the decision between the pub and shouting at people so I went into banking with Williams & Glyns.  



(3) What is the most significant difference you have seen in terms of bridging over the years up to now?



It’s no longer lending of last resort and there is more credibility and transparency in the market. Not 100% there yet but it’s getting better.



(4) Which sports team do you support, if any, and why?



Man City because I’m City till I die and was born in Manchester. Mixed views at the moment due to the number of mercenaries there and it seems at times like football is a franchise. I have a vision for getting football back to the fans. Everybody to cancel Sky Sports and in five years we’ll have it back.



(5) If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be?



More transparency from lenders with brokers. We understand the sector a lot of introducers don’t. Increasing interest rates after offer with very weak reasons, hidden fees, absence of interest calculation clauses in documentation. The list is not endless thankfully and we vote with our feet. When an offer is accepted and legals paid the money for the loan needs to be sent to the lenders solicitor then so there will be certainty of pay out.



(6) If you could have one superpower, what would you choose and why?



The ability to vaporise people who wind me up. Watch out politicians, NIMBYS and the people who make the Halifax adverts.



(7) What was the last film you saw and what did you think of it?



With my son and six of his mates. No idea what it was called or what it was about as spent most of the time taking the kids outside to be ill as I had bought them too many sweets.



(8) What would you put in room 101 if you had the chance?



24 hour news reporters and breaking news. How can they talk about nothing for so long? Important news use to interrupt Coronation Street now if someone sneezes it’s at the bottom of your screen for hours.



(9) What do you expect to happen in the bridging finance industry over the next 12 months?



Survival of the strongest. Too many lenders chasing the same deals and more self-regulation which can only be good for the customer. Whilst price is important it’s the overall experience ,both with the lenders and their advisors that differentiates .Still too many stories of lenders pulling out of deals when they don’t have the money



(10) If you could do anything you wanted this Sunday, what would it be?



It’s Derby day in Manchester so would like the referee to blow for fulltime after 90 minutes. No more Taggart time please (that’s playing on until United score). My wife who is a red refers to me as a sad, twisted, bitter blue. I’m not; just misunderstood. Any other Sunday would be a walk with the family and next doors dogs, stopping off for a few pints followed by a curry.


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