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Date: 10 August 2023

Author: Rachel Bartlett

In the world of finance, where adaptability, experience, and customer-centricity matter, Chris Sheppard stands out as an invaluable member of MSP Capital.

As the Associate Director of Underwriting, Chris brings with him over three decades of banking experience, specialising in property development funding. 

We caught up with Chris, in our Chesterfield suite, to look back at his career journey – starting as a graduate recruit at NatWest Bank in 1994 – and discover his passion for creating win-win solutions for his clients.

Unplanned Beginnings 

Chris’ career journey began with a twist of fate when he joined the banking sector – a path he initially vowed never to tread. 

“I said I was never going into banking. That’s one thing I said I wouldn’t do. And I did.

“After university I was accepted onto a graduate recruitment programme at NatWest. The bank only took a certain number of people across the whole country, and it involved two to three days of intense psychometric testing. To be asked to join was a good start to my career, and something I’m proud of achieving.”

Rising through the ranks, he found himself excelling in corporate banking and, eventually, landing a role as a relationship director in real estate, managing a portfolio of property customers. 

Little did he know that his interaction with MSP Capital as their bank manager would lead to an exciting opportunity to join the thriving organisation.

From Bank Manager to MSP’s Associate Director

During our chat, Chris reminisced about his days as the bank manager for MSP Capital during his tenure at NatWest. 

Despite MSP being a financial institution, his close association with the company and his expertise in real estate led him to oversee their account locally, instead of having it managed from the centralised London office. 

Over the years, Chris became instrumental in facilitating the growth of MSP Capital. With a strong bond forged over time, Martin, one of MSP’s founders, extended an offer to Chris encouraging him to join the team. 

After some contemplation, Chris left his established banking career behind and joined MSP Capital in 2016 as the Business Relationship Manager. As the first member of the underwriting team, he played a pivotal role in building the department from the ground up – creating a more structured and efficient approach to deals.

“It was a bit of a leap of faith. But I knew MSP and the people there, I knew what the business was. I was confident to what I was coming to. From there, I helped start the underwriting department which we have today.” 

Chris’s wealth of experience and deep understanding of the real estate industry have been instrumental in his success at MSP Capital. 

As a customer-focused team player, Chris approaches every deal as a unique challenge. With a wealth of experience, he can creatively structure solutions tailored to each client’s needs, viewing the relationship as a partnership rather than a transaction.

“I’ve been dealing with property and real estate for 17 years. I know what to look for and how to provide solutions for each individual deal.

“I’ve always been really invested in understanding things from my client’s point of view. I look at it as more of a partnership, as opposed to the traditional bank manager versus customer relationship. It’s cliché, but to me, if both parties can win out of a scenario, then that works for me.” 

With a plethora of responsibilities and hundreds of emails pouring in daily, staying focused can be a challenge. 

When asked about his tips and tricks for dealing with a busy day, Chris said “I’m old fashioned. I write everything down, so I have a to-do list every day that I can adapt and change depending on what the day brings.

The finance industry is an ever-changing environment and at MSP we’re proud that things can happen quickly. By having a list I know that I can always see exactly where I’m up to and what I’ve got to prioritise.”

Life in the Southwest

Having spent most of his life in the southwest of England, Chris has a deep attachment to the region. 

“I was born two miles up the road and have lived here most of my life. In fact, I have only lived away from the area for eight years in total.”

After a few years of working in Plymouth, he chose to return to his roots to start a family with his wife, who also came from Poole.

The MSP Difference

Chris attributes much of MSP Capital’s success to the people within the organisation. The shared vision, common goals, and supportive atmosphere have fostered an environment where everyone is motivated to contribute to the company’s growth. 

“I come from a corporate background, where you have different departments all with different agendas, which made things difficult at times. I find with MSP, we’re all focused on a common goal.”

He believes that this shared focus helps so decisions are made swiftly and efficiently, contributing to the company’s reputation as a major player in the specialist lending space.

The Journey Continues

Although Chris has witnessed the ups and downs of the real estate industry over the years, he remains steadfast in his dedication to making impactful deals that support our clients’ visions through funding at MSP. 

“You spend a lot of your life at work, and you’ve got to enjoy it. And part of that enjoyment, is the job. I love doing what I’m doing. I love going home at the end of the day, thinking I’ve helped someone get closer to their goals.”

Thank you to Chris for taking the time to tell us more about his experience at MSP and in the industry. If you would like to talk to Chris about your next development let him know by calling our offices on 01202 743400.  

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