Our journey has shaped our experience
MSP’s journey started in 1981. A prolific year indeed – Lady Diana got married, John Lennon’s Imagine was playing on the radio and the idea was sparked to make finance empowering for the property industry as opposed to it being perceived as a barrier.
From small beginnings, we have grown consistently to become pioneers in our field as we realised that people were coming to us for solutions. The dramatic changes during and post the 2007 credit crunch showed us that the standard tick-box approach of the high street lenders just didn’t cut it for an MSP developer. Our clients needed top-notch knowledge, applied with up-to-the-second relevance. Most of all, they needed certainty to navigate the challenges faced and to amplify the opportunities they had.
It quickly became clear our initial ‘we need to hire more experts’ became ‘we only want to hire experts’.
With this in mind, over the past 40 years, MSP has evolved to be so much more than just finance. For our clients, it’s the availability and consistency of that same person on the end of the phone, a constant friendly voice whenever life throws something unexpected up at their dream project. MSP’s signature on a loan is a seal of approval that an opportunity has begun and is believed in.
For Team MSP it’s about being part of a family of like-minded individuals, all passionate about our roles and our community. We’re a lively team of property and financial experts who deliver the MSP experience every day to clients. When contemplating our milestones, we thought it only natural to ask our team what their most memorable moments were.
We’ve started with seven team members and we’ll be adding more throughout our 40th year. Read on and see if you have been part of any of their memories too …
Taking leaps of faith
Chris Sheppard – I joined MSP in 2016, at the time there was only seven other members of staff, there are 23 at the time of writing this. I used to be MSP’s bank manager so I knew of them well, however leaving after 23 years was still a leap of faith. That said I have never looked back and my only regret is that I wish I’d made the move earlier!
Raising funds for local charities
Tom Callaghan – Becca and I organised the Ride to Scotland fundraiser in December 2019 for our local charity Julia’s House. Everyone got involved, people were coming in early, staying late and spending their lunch breaks cycling to raise money. There was such a buzz around the office, everyone putting in maximum effort to reach our target. This same team spirit was replicated in the 2020 step challenge! Chris Sheppard – Yes my personal achievement was cycling 85 miles in the first challenge despite not being on a bike for about 20 years! This year walking over 100 miles in 10 days and still be able to move on day 11 as a result! Overriding all this was the end goal of putting something back into the community and raising money for a great local cause.
Chris Wright – The Cheltenham Charity Race Day in aid of Julia’s House – The event was a collaborative team effort to put together. It was something a little different and as MSP’s first networking event for all of our clients, nobody really knew how it would turn out. In the end, it was deemed a huge success and the glowing feedback we received from our clients that attended still gets spoken of today. It’s an event that we would certainly like to repeat as it enabled our clients to meet all the MSP team and not just the ones they deal with on a daily basis.
Solidifying our offering and market position
Martin Higgins – Welcoming Cabot Square Capital as our new equity partner, and NatWest into our lender group. It is important for our business to have partners who have the same confidence as we do in the specialist finance products we provide to property investors and developers across the UK. This new capital structure has helped us deliver our relationship-led experience to even more borrowers across the breadth of the country.
Supporting our local football team – AFC Bournemouth
Adam Tovey – I’ve been a life-long supporter of The Cherries and negotiating the deal with AFC Bournemouth and then getting the photos taken on the pitch was a definite milestone that made me reflect on how far we have come in our mission to widen our reach and support our local community. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing; the wrong number was printed in the programme for the first game so I had to call and sheepishly explain to a lovely old lady that she might get a lot of calls about finance and loans. I asked her nicely if she could keep a list and I’d call back in a week!
Being part of a real team culture
Chris Wright – There are not many people that I know that could say they look forward to arriving at the office every day, but I do. It is an absolute pleasure coming in, and the culture created just means that we all feel empowered and take huge pride in what we do. We are a family and during the COVID times, we realised even more how much we’ve come to rely on each other.
Appreciating our team’s talent and always looking for new bright sparks to join
Tom Callaghan – Since I joined in March 2019 it seems like we are constantly growing and looking for the right people to join the team. It’s exciting to be part of such a positive company who is always looking to improve and get bigger and better!
Doubling our scope to support new opportunities
Chris Sheppard – Breaking through the £100m loan book in March 2019. That felt like a significant milestone. Becky Harris – Absolutely, this was an incredibly motivating moment that was only topped in 2020 when we doubled it to £200m. The scope of opportunities for growth and for that of our clients has meant that we can expand our team, widen our reach and work with more brokers and developers.
Adapting and helping others to do the same in 2020
Chris Sheppard – Pushing forwards and refining the company through the COVID challenges of 2020. We did not actively generate any new business during the four-month period of the first lockdown but instead, we focused all of our efforts on supporting all of our existing clients.
Developing new products that create opportunities for our developers and brokers
Lee Merrifield – I have to say launching our Premium Bridging product in 2020 was a key one for me. It’s helped so many businesses survive the chaos and move on to thrive which of course feels good. From a company standpoint, it really solidified our personal offering, our experience and our will to keep Britain building. To have seen the company grow first hand and know that we could offer finance solutions in such a solid way makes me equally excited for the future of MSP and what’s going to come next …
Building a culture that everyone enjoys
Martin Higgins – Supporting our clients with their projects can often lead to longer hours so I personally enjoy surprising the team with a well-earned company BBQ to say thank you for their hard work and help them unwind.