Apex Bridging

An interview with Sonia Shortland: 'We have a three-year growth ambition to increase the loan book to £50m'

In an interview with Bridging & Commercial, Sonia Shortland, managing director at Apex Bridging (pictured above) talks about her new role and her long-term ambitions for the company.

As the new managing director at Apex Bridging, what strategy do you have in mind for the future of the company?

Our stakeholder relationships are key to the growth of the business. We want to support and educate our brokers so they fully understand our proposition, and we can all focus on the type of deals that fit our criteria. The team at Apex Bridging care about everything that they do, and this has built trust with the brokers, valuers, and solicitors that we work with. We are regularly collecting data about what our brokers and customers need, so that we can adapt and improve our service to suit.

You’ve set out plans to increase the size of the middle management team. What will this consist of?

We are currently recruiting for an operations manager or senior underwriter who will take our business forward, and have recently taken on a marketing manager who has already made a great difference to us. In time I expect that we will need to bolster our relationship management too.

What is your long-term ambition for where you’d like to take Apex Bridging as a lender?

We have a three-year growth ambition to increase the loan book to £50m. We will always be a small lender and will never jeopardise our values in pursuance of growth. We believe this is driven by the quality of the relationships you forge and the repeat and referral business that such an approach generates.

What are your biggest concerns for the bridging market this year?

We have just had our first broker survey concluded and, not surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with most respondents that the biggest concern must be Brexit. Lack of confidence by investors is vital to any lender’s model and, at the moment, short-term confidence is low, despite some encouraging figures from the likes of the ASTL and Bridging Trends.

How did you get into the industry?

I was a mortgage adviser working within estate agency up until 2011, when I had my first son, Oliver. At the time, proc fees had reduced significantly, and my income was continually reducing. Being self-employed I found it very difficult to take time off and switch off. A year after Ollie was born, I took a job as a buyer for a property trading company. In all honesty, it was supposed to be a stopgap. I started working for House Buyer Bureau and loved the company. They started to lend on a second charge basis through a packager, and I put myself forward to get involved. It has been an incredible journey, with lots of professional, and personal, highs and lows. Six years later, I am ready to take the company to a new level.

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?

I have always been interested in finance, apparently as a toddler I loved nothing more than adding up the coins in the moneybox we kept by the phone. If there was anything else, it would have to be running a sandwich shop.


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