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Date: 31 March 2023

Author: Rachel Bartlett

We spoke with directors, Martin and Adam, about why innovation is important in challenging times.

The property industry is no stranger to market turbulence. While the average house price has continued to go up in the past few decades, there have been many challenging periods.

Seasoned observers know the property market tends to be cyclical. When conditions become tough, those with an entrepreneurial spirit will take stock, think long-term and prepare to go where new opportunities arise.

And go they will.

Entrepreneurial spark

We are a prime example of a property finance lender that has kept the precious spark of innovation and entrepreneurialism going during difficult times.

We started as a small family-owned business in Dorset that made its first customer loan against a cherished car number plate in the flatlined economy of 1981.

Forty-two years on, we have grown to become a specialist lending provider with certainty of funds and a reputation as one of the foremost providers of non-regulated property finance in southern England.


A defining point in our journey to success came during the 2007 credit crunch.

“The dramatic changes and challenges at that time meant that flexibility was needed over the standard tick-box approach of high street lenders” explains Managing Director Martin Higgins.

“Clients wanted a lender who recognised that every project is unique and needs a tailored approach.

“The experience of 2007 and 2008 confirmed to us that even when times are challenging and uncertain, you can progress if you are creative, innovative and agile.

“Since then, we have built our company around that same entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a mindset, a way of thinking that is not constrained by the norm you see elsewhere. We encourage our team to proactively find solutions to challenges they come across and not just to keep to the tracks laid down by others.”

Structure and team

Our lending strategy has been strengthened in the years after the credit crunch by a move from family to privately-owned status. This paved the way for a revised capital structure, an expansion of funding lines and institutional backers, and the on-boarding of equity partner Cabot Square Capital in November 2018.

“It’s vital for us to have partners who have the same confidence as we do in the specialist finance products we provide,” says Martin. “The revised structure has helped us deliver our relationship-led experience to even more borrowers across the breadth of the country.”

Complementing the capital structure has been the steady assembling of an in-house team of expert including underwriters, accountants, surveyors, valuers and analysts with extensive industry experience.

Among them is Adam Tovey, Valuation Director, who joined MSP Capital in 2010. His previous property sector experience spans over two decades.

“We are property people first and foremost so we know how projects operate,” explains Adam, whose remit includes managing the risk and oversight of every deal agreed. “We love making a positive difference by enabling clients to find the right funding solution.

“We have ‘walked in their shoes’ so we understand the value of listening, understanding and making rapid, decisive responses on requests to lend.”

Adam Tovey

Staying on course

Looking to the future, Martin says: “We will continue to grow our business and keep focus on our products and solutions, using our expertise and experience to help our clients.

“As a principal lender with 100% autonomy and control over funds we can hold steady when markets are in difficulty.

Because we know the property industry so well, and understand development issues, we offer more than just capital.

“We provide guidance and insight to help investors and developers who may struggle to find real-estate funding from more traditional means such as a high- street bank. That’s why our strapline is ‘Experience beyond finance’. It’s apt on so many fronts.

“If there’s one thing borrowers need right now, it is tailored funding solutions from lenders who understand the market.

“In this challenging period we will continue to price and underwrite as accurately as we can to help our clients generate growth and prosperity.

“Our expertise and ability to create flexible solutions means we can provide huge reassurance and confidence when the economy is uncertain. We’ve been here before and we know we can deliver on what we promise.”

Secrets of entrepreneurial success
Based on their experience, Martin and Adam offer these thoughts to aspiring business leaders:

msp shield

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Pick a target market and stick to what you know, and most importantly what you care about!

When your company starts to grow, work out the core spirit that you love about it, and work hard to protect that and build your culture around it.

  “Ski with your helmet on” – In other words, have fun and go for it, but don’t take risks just for the sake of it.

When thinking about how to automate or digitalise parts of your business to make your life easier, don’t forget to consider scalability and ensure that automation doesn’t damage the authenticity of your business.

Finally, build a strong network around you, surrounding yourself with experts who can fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

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