Tiuta and a £30m funding impetus - the strategy revealed

Tiuta and a £30m funding impetus - the strategy revealed


In recent months, bridging lender Tiuta Plc has attracted a flurry of press attention since unveiling a new funding tranche, streamlining its product offering and with numerous shake-ups to its core team. Despite announcing these consecutive changes, Tiuta continues to be a leading name within the bridging industry. With this in mind, B&C thought it was about time we caught up with Steven Nicholas, CEO of Tiuta Plc to bring you an insight into the truth behind the headlines…

B&C: Back in February last year after George Patellis departed Tiuta you took a more hands-on approach to the company and moved it back to just short-term. As a strategy how do you think this has worked out for Tiuta so far?

Steven: It was the right thing to do and we are now beginning to reap the benefits of this strategic move.  In terms of both quality and quantity and focus on bridging, we feel like we have achieved all of our goals. 

B&C: In May 2011, we highlighted that Tiuta had opted “to voluntarily remove our permission to offer regulated loans but remain an authorised business to manage and administer our regulated loan book” in order to focus solely on core bridging activities. However, with many lenders rushing to become regulated as the FSA hints at overall regulation of the sector in the near future, do you have any plans to do more regulated deals?

Steven: The model is firmly focused on business-to-business which involves property professionals. The quality and value of this part of our business is paramount to its future growth and whilst we have a small regulated loan book it will continue to run down during the passage of time and there are no proposals or plans to increase this.

B&C: You have had a quite significant bout of ‘restructuring’ within the team, and a number of core members have left (including BDMs Gareth Lewis and Kirsty Buchanan after less than a year). This has drawn quite a lot of attention within the industry. What would you say to people who have highlighted this fact? 

Steven: As individuals we have nothing but praise and thanks for the short time that they spent with us. As to the impact on the business this was negligible in view of their short period of stay. Tiuta is a brand name within the bridging loan industry and attracts its business based on recommendations and referrals. In addition, our new clients become established and repeat business is the future growth of the company.

B&C: In the same vein, you have also added to the number of non-executive members of the board, how has this helped the company’s development?

Steven: I would say that my greatest achievement in becoming CEO is to engage with senior and knowledgeable industry heavyweights.  Their CVs speak for themselves and the non-executive board have achieved heights that Tiuta can only aspire to. 

B&C: What is in store for the year ahead? Can we have any hints about new developments?

Steven: We have had a bumper start to the year in terms of new business and there are exciting times to come over the next few months. This will be announced in the weeks to come, but we are proud of what we have achieved this year and are totally optimistic for the future.   

We have realised that as a business that our traditional lines of finance from banks in the UK are impossible to obtain and the future of SMEs can no longer be within the hands of traditional banking lines, but within the broader financial market abroad.

B&C: You’ve stated previously that Tiuta welcomes competition and that a boost in funding available from more lenders would be good for the market generally. With this in mind, what is your opinion on the influx of smaller lenders who seem keen to enter the market? Do you think they will survive and add value or do you think that small lenders who only have small levels of funding to distribute will struggle in an already saturated market?

Steven: I must say that when I made this statement I was not expecting to see the new amount of entrants that there are now in the market place. There seems to be a new bridging loan company opening up every week. I am not sure where the future lies for the bridging loan market and no doubt it will find its level in the future months or years. I can say that the fact that there are so many new entrants in the market may have taken away some of our business, however, the clients who form the core part of Tiuta remain with us and their business has grown with our support. We are about long-term relationships rather than short-term gain. 

B&C: What has been the impact of the £30 million tranche of funding you unveiled in December 2011 on the levels of business you have been writing so far in 2012?

Steven: This is now filtering through in terms of new business now being transacted and we expect to be fully utilised shortly. You will have to wait until the new announcement is made in terms of new funding lines but these are very exciting times for Tiuta plc. The £30 million is the impetus to seek additional funding lines.


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