Catherine Spode


Richard Norton


CS: Hi, Richard, in this two minute interview,  we will try to give a flavour of who you are and what you do. Why did you call the brokerage R and E Finance?

RN: R is for Richard, E is for Elaine. We have been married and in business for thirty years.

CS: You must be doing something right. Are you still regulated mortgage brokers as well as arranging project finance?

RN: Yes, Elaine has retained her licence. My time is now mainly  spent on the applications for funding from the larger property developers.

CS: You often refer to “thinking outside the box”. What exactly do you mean by that?

RN: It’s about making the finance fit the project as a whole. There are many banks, challenger banks, providers of bridging and equity funding available, and more entering the market on a weekly basis, but which combination will best fit the project and make it deliverable? That is the key.

CS: Do you see developers proceeding with unworkable deals?

RN: It happens all the time. Perhaps less so now that the rules are tightening, but historically we have seen developers proceed with an offer,  but have not seen – or even ignored – the fact that they will run out of cash before the units can be delivered.

CS: And that is costly?

RN: If the developer has to take the eye of the ball and renegotiate finance, it can mean disaster.

CS: So you tie the ends up, and even assist with finding the buyer for the completed units?

RN: Yes, we have done that for some time, and, going forward, it will be the norm. I will go into that in the next interview.

CS: Do you feel you are reaching a milestone in your career, Richard?

RN: Yes. The project in the South West – the one you refer to on the web site under Forward Funding, that one is for a project of just over £16m Gross Development Value  – Is approaching drawdown.

CS: Is that, roughly, the sweet spot for you?

RN: Projects in the £20m GDV to £60m GDV are ideal.

CS: Is £60m the top end for you?

RN: No – in fact I am now working with a specialist in planning who can assist with the syndication of funding for very substantial  development projects in the UK.

CS: Can you define what you mean by very substantial,  Richard?

RN: Yes, for example, a mixed initiative of residential housing, hotel, commercial and the much needed affordable housing.

CS: What level of funding would this require?

RN: Such a project would require funding of circa one billion GBP. As an office, we are now able to arrange the finance for such schemes.

CS: Is this a feather in the cap?

RN: Yes. We seem to be rising to the top of the milk bottle. However, as Will Smith puts it;

“I am not your free time. I am not your second choice. Prioritise me or leave me alone.”

CS: And developers requiring a top level negotiator for their finance needs should..

RN: Contact you in the first instance, Catherine. You seem to be able to talk to them and understand their needs.

Cs: Thank you, Richard.