Fiduciam also told Specialist Lending Solutions it is planning for the possibility that a no deal Brexit might prompt a UK recession and there were starting to be some concerns in the consumer credit industry.
The institutionally funded lender, which launched in 2015, granted £139m in new bridging and development loans last year and is aiming to hit £250m this year.
To cater for this growth and its strategic expansion plans, Fiduciam intends to hire 25 additional employees including case managers, underwriters, business developers and loan servicers.
The UK-based operation conducts a range of lending including exporting foreign currency bridging lending across Europe from deals completed by brokers in the UK – often with UK developer clients.
It also lends to domestic SME businesses for a variety of reasons and needs, using property as security.
Fiduciam CEO Johan Groothaert told Specialist Lending Solutions the firm had begun mitigating the potential fallout from a Brexit-induced recession.
“We’re staying clear of the biggest potential Brexit impact areas, such as the hotel sector,” he said.
“We’d like to see more business from manufacturing firms – our focus is moving into that area but we’re not seeing the demand coming through yet.”
Groothaert also noted that if Britain’s property market did stagnate or contract it would focus growth plans across Europe instead, but added: “We can continue to lend if there is a Brexit-related recession.”
The growth is planned to come primarily from increasing volumes in the current markets, but the lender also intends to enter two additional countries in 2019 and to open two new offices, one in the UK and one overseas.
It currently has a London hub and Netherlands office in Utrecht.
European targets for expansion include Portugal, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg and Belgium.
‘Risk not managed well’
Head of property lending Clint White warned that there were some concerns in the overall lending market.
“There is turbulence in the credit industry – we’ve had years of a bullish market but there are signs that risk is not being managed well in some areas,” he said.
“Some locations are seeing or have seen an overheated property market including London, Sydney and Hong Kong already, while Amsterdam and Dublin are a couple of years behind London.”
However, White emphasised that the lender had sought to tackle these with a diversified loan book.
“This year promises to be a more challenging year for the lending industry in general, with widening credit spreads, falling real estate prices in certain parts of the UK and the Brexit risk, however we are confident our positioning will allow us to take advantage of this environment,” he continued.
“We believe that our growth target for 2019 is realistic, yet the primary focus remains the quality of the loan book.
“Since we started lending three and a half years ago, we have never had to appoint a receiver, and therefore while we expand, we need to make sure our risk and quality culture is not watered down.
“This means we have to spend a lot of time looking for the best candidates and providing further training.”