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Know Your BDM: Justin Cooper, Octane Capital

  • 29/08/2019
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This week, Specialist Lending Solutions is speaking to Justin Cooper, senior business development manager at Octane Capital.


What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I look after 40 or so brokers in my area, which is London and the South of England.


How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

Trying to inject a bit of fun into proceedings and generally being yourself is a good place to start. Relationships with brokers work best when they’re natural rather than corporate and formal. And it goes without saying that the better the service you provide to brokers, the more likely they will be to send business your way in future. Above all, just be yourself.


What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

I’d like to think I can communicate with people fairly well, although clearly that’s for them to decide, this definitely helps transactions complete as smoothly as they can and keeps everyone happy. You need to be a multi-tasker as you can be juggling countless cases at the same time and you also need to be flexible about your hours to meet tight deadlines.


What personal talent would you most like to improve on?

I’d like to say I have the patience of a saint, but that’s not true. I like to get things done quickly and have a dread of missing deadlines so sometimes I can become a tad overenthusiastic, shall we say.


What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?

To always enjoy your job. A colleague once told me: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s true. I always have this advice in the front of my mind. And thankfully, I really enjoy what I do and the people I work alongside.


What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

A few years ago I was approached by a broker to help provide a loan to support the acquisition of a £20m office building in London on behalf of a Dragon from Dragons’ Den, with, errrr, five days’ notice.


If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

This is a great question. I would probably look at introducing a minimum entry level qualification for those looking to enter the specialist finance industry. It’s a specialist sector and it needs specialist knowledge. There should be a minimum barrier to entry.


What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?

I have always been extremely competitive and I’m also highly motivated when it comes to reaching sales targets. Also, working as a BDM allows me to have an element of control over my earnings.


If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?

Definitely a property developer. The challenges of building new homes from the ground up right through to sale is something that I respect and would take great pride in achieving.


What did you want to be growing up?

When I was a young lad my friends and I were completely obsessed with cars, so I always wanted to be a mechanic.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To be able to fly. Those that know me are aware that I have had a prosthetic leg for the best part of 35 years so walking can be pretty tiring. Being able to fly would definitely be a dream come true.


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

I was once asked if I would be prepared, for charity, to jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet without a parachute. As charitable as I like to think I am, I couldn’t possibly agree. Hitting the ground at 200mph is not my idea of a good day. The person in question then explained that I would be strapped to an expert who would be wearing a parachute big enough for the two of us.



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