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Cabot Square Capital acquires a majority stake in MSP Capital

19 November, 2018

MSP Capital, a specialist provider of bridging and development finance based in the south of England, is pleased to announce the acquisition by Cabot Square Capital of a majority stake in the business.

Founded in 1990 as a family business, MSP Capital has become one of the largest providers of short-term property finance in southern England with a loan book of over £150m. The business has a strong growth trajectory and the management team are excited to partner with Cabot Square Capital in this next chapter.

Alongside the equity transaction, MSP Capital has also increased its committed senior funding line to £90m, with NatWest joining Shawbrook Bank and funds managed by Insight Investment as senior lenders to the group.

Martin Higgins, Managing Director of MSP Capital, commented:

The MSP team is delighted to welcome Cabot Square Capital as our new equity partner, and NatWest into our lender group. It is important for our business to have partners with the same confidence as us in the specialist finance products we provide to property investors and developers across the UK. Our new capital structure will help us deliver our differentiated relationship-led service to even more borrowers.

Richard McDougall, Partner at Cabot Square Capital, added:

Martin and the team at MSP have built a very successful business serving SME property investors in the south of England. We are delighted to be partnering with MSP to support them on the next phase of their growth plans.

MSP Capital was advised by the Financial Services Corporate Finance team at EY.

Ian Cosgrove, Partner at EY, said:

EY is delighted to have supported MSP Capital in securing a major investment from Cabot Square Capital and putting in place larger and more flexible debt funding to support their business plan. The combined sell-side and debt raising process enabled MSP Capital to have both equity and debt funding committed at closing, leaving the business well-placed moving into 2019 and beyond.

How does development finance work?

6 November, 2018

What is a development loan?

A development loan is a short-term funding option, usually for between 6-18 months. It is designed specifically to assist with the purchase costs and build costs associated with a residential development project. This can be a new build, conversion or refurbishment covering a single unit through to multiple units built across a number of phases.

A development funding package invariably involves two key parts to the loan. The first element of the funding will often be used to assist with the purchase of the development site. This could be land where a number of new properties will be built or an existing property that will undergo a refurbishment. The second stage of the loan is used to pay for the costs of the build works associated with the project.

This secondary part of the funding is usually drawn in stages, as opposed to being accessed in one amount at the outset. This often happens once a month as works are completed on the project.

Depending on the type of project, the experience of the developer and the level of build costs, drawdown of the build element of the development finance will be subject to independent monitoring surveyor (IMS) sign off. The IMS will act as the ‘eyes and ears’ on the project for the Lender to make sure works are progressing on time and on budget and will flag any potential issues. They will be acting for the Lender, but their costs will be payable by the borrower.

Build works can be undertaken on a self-procurement basis or via a main contractor under a fixed price contract.

The amount of funding that can be provided will be determined by a professional valuation report that will provide 3 key numbers:

  1. current value – i.e. the value of the site with planning or the value of the property before refurbishment;
  2. the build costs; and
  3. the gross development value – i.e. the value of the completed property(s) assuming all works have completed.

Each lender will have their own lending parameters that dictates the maximum that can be lent.

MSP Capital will lend up to 70% of the current value and 100% of the build costs. Each deal is assessed individually but the funding must be structured in a way to make sure there is enough funding in place to complete the build in its entirety.

The lender will charge fees and interest for the Loan with the amount of the charges depending on:

  1. the amount borrowed;
  2. the percentage borrowed against the overall costs – i.e. the current value and build costs combined; and
  3. the term the loan is required for.

The terms are then detailed in an Offer of Finance, which once accepted will allow the Lender to formally begin the lending process.

The mortgage and loan paperwork will then be dealt with by the Lender’s and the borrower’s solicitors.

Once all formalities are completed, the initial funds towards the purchase of the site can be released to the borrower with the remainder released in stages against works completed and usually signed off by the IMS.

Repayment will be expected before the agreed term has expired from the sale of the completed property/properties, although an extension will sometimes be permitted to provide an additional window in which to secure the sales, subject to additional fees.

Property development loans explained

A secured loan to help with the purchase of a property or land and to provide the build costs for the project.

Various types of developments from simple refurbishments and renovations to large new-build house projects are eligible for development finance.

Often the site will have to have planning consent (by law) although sometimes a version called ‘Permitted Development’ is required. These are obtained from the local council who will often advise applicants about their options and the council’s requirements.

Lenders will normally cap their lending against the value of the finished project (known as the Gross Development Value) and will provide only a certain percentage of the purchase price.

The most conservative lenders in this sector are the high street banks. Alternative and specialist lenders will often provide more debt to their clients.

Generally, loans are agreed for between 6-18 months depending on how long the project will take to complete and how long the finished properties will take to sell.

Once a project is up and running the build loan is drawn down in stages (usually monthly) with the amount of each drawdown equating to the value of works completed in that month.

Loans are secured, usually against the site/property in question, and normally through a first legal charge/mortgage.

The vast majority of development loans are provided for residential properties although occasionally, and in certain circumstances, a loan can be for ‘mixed use’ or wholly commercial use purposes.

Property development finance options

MSP provides fast, flexible development finance tailored to suit the borrower’s requirements and the type of development being undertaken.

Funding can be provided to assist with the simple conversion/refurbishment of existing residential dwellings, to the more complex multi-phased schemes where multiple units are constructed over a longer period of time.

Most development loans will be for a period of up to 18 months, but this will be very much dependent on the nature of the scheme being funded. A straight forward refurbishment loan may only be required for 6 months, whereas a multi-unit new build may require 18 months. The term of the loan will allow time for the property to be purchased, developed and then sold or refinanced to repay the debt.

MSP will fund all types of residential development including houses, flats and conversions of listed buildings and permitted development of offices into residential.

In some instances, development of commercial properties can be considered.

MSP will look to provide up to 70% of the land value (confirmed by RICs valuation). If this is higher than the purchase price (e.g. where value has been added via a planning gain) MSP will recognise this and fund accordingly. Many mainstream lenders will not take this into consideration.

MSP will then fund 100% of the development costs. These can include the core construction costs, professional fees and other expenses such as S106/CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) payments.

All funding including interest and fees will need to be within 70% of the gross development value.

Each loan will be bespoke to fit the borrower’s individual requirements and in most instances the build loan element of the facility will be drawn upon certification from a monitoring surveyor. By drawing in tranches following completed works, loan interest is only payable on the amount drawn at any one time.

MSP will often allow ‘equity releases’ when sales of completed units occur that can assist with cashflow where a number of other lenders will require 100% of net sale proceeds.

Allowing a cash release often enables clients to move on to future projects in a timelier manner and does not result in equity being tied up in an unsold property.

For further information about development finance, please contact the team at MSP Capital on 01202 743400.

How does a bridging loan work?

1 November, 2018

What is a bridging loan?

A bridging loan is a short-term funding option primarily used ahead of either:

  1. an alternative longer-term funding solution becoming available; or
  2. the sale of an alternative asset or even the asset being borrowed against.

Or it can simply act as a short-term loan option for a variety of purposes.

Bridging loans were historically designed to help people complete the purchase of a property before selling an existing one i.e. bridging the gap between the purchase and the sale.

However, they have evolved over the years. A property is offered to secure short-term funding for a range of different purposes rather than just purchasing a property whilst a sale is awaited on another.

Invariably they are now unregulated loans.

In simple terms, a bridging loan involves offering a property – usually a residential property – as security to a lender, such as MSP Capital, and using the value/equity within the property to secure a loan – normally on a short-term basis of no more than 12 months to suit a borrower’s requirements.

They can often be organised at short notice with bridging providers, such as MSP Capital, specialising in providing these loans quickly and easily.

Usually the funding will be via a 1st mortgage over the property. Sometimes, however, if there is sufficient equity, they will assist via a 2nd mortgage – subject to 1st charge holder approval.

Each lender will have their own lending parameters that dictates the maximum that can be lent.

MSP Capital will lend up to a maximum of 70% of the value of a residential property or 65% of the value of a commercial property.

The value of the property will be assessed by way of a formal independent valuation, which is undertaken on behalf of the lender but payable by the borrower.

The lender will charge fees and interest for the Loan with the amount of the charges depending on:

  1. the amount borrowed;
  2. the percentage borrowed against the property value; and
  3. the term the loan is required for.

The terms are then detailed in an Offer of Finance, which once accepted, will allow the lender to formally begin the lending process.

The mortgage and loan paperwork will then be dealt with by the lender’s and the borrower’s solicitors and once all formalities are completed the funds can be released to the borrower.

Repayment will be expected before the agreed term has expired although an extension will sometimes be required subject to agreement.

How long can you have a bridging loan?

MSP provide bridging loans for various periods of time to suit the borrower’s individual requirements. Bridging funding is generally considered as ‘short-term funding’.

The standard period for a straight forward bridging facility on a residential property would be up to 12 months. That said, 6-month terms are common place, although the loan can be repaid at any time from the day it is drawn.

Facilities can be agreed and provided in a very short space of time and provide the ultimate flexibility that enables clients to have confidence that funding is in place to either raise short-term cash for acquisitions or general business cash flow.

MSP has recently launched a medium-term bridging loan facility more akin to a standard ‘Buy to Let’ that can be for either a 2 or 3-year period. This provides certainty for a longer period, although can be agreed as quickly and easily as the ‘standard’ short-term bridging facility.

Bridging loans are generally taken to provide the borrower time to either sell the property asset or arrange longer-term finance.

Where can I get a bridging loan?

Most UK financial institutions will provide bridging loan facilities. These range from the main high street/clearing banks to the ever-growing number of 2nd tier lenders such as MSP Capital.

MSP Capital can provide bridging loans to any legal entity including limited companies, limited liability partnerships and in sole names.

As an unregulated lender, MSP bridging loans focus on the property value (we lend up to 70% of RICs valuation) more so than debt serviceability, which adds to the speed and flexibility when providing the facility.

MSP Capital can act quicker than its competitors in the bridging loan sector, which is a major factor in securing funding. The application process is a simple 3-page form. As MSP Capital lends its own funds, the loan is usually approved and credit backed within 24 hours of the initial enquiry.

Draw down of funds with MSP Capital can occur in matter of days if the legal and valuation process can be expedited efficiently.


If you have an enquiry about our bridging loan product or if you are simply looking to chat through your options, we want to hear from you.

For further information about bridging finance, please contact the team at MSP Capital on 01202 743400.