Know Your BDM: Imogen Williams, CapitalRise

  • 13/06/2024
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Know Your BDM: Imogen Williams, CapitalRise
This week, Specialist Lending Solutions is talking to Imogen Williams (pictured), business development director at CapitalRise.

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at CapitalRise?

At CapitalRise, we specialise in financing the development of prime property. When CapitalRise launched in 2016, we had a specific focus on the prime central and outer London markets, but we are increasingly completing deals in exclusive postcodes across the South East, especially in the home counties. I currently work with around 300 broker and advisory firms in my role.


What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job at CapitalRise?

Interpersonal skills and the ability to build a rapport with our borrowers is absolutely key. Beyond this, being able to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions to our customers’ financing needs – particularly when structuring bespoke deals – helps me to fulfil my role.


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?

I am a big believer in self-improvement and continuous professional development. An area that I think is particularly pertinent at the moment is having the ability to navigate change and uncertainty. With the recent market volatility, this is a key skill to develop further for those working in property finance. At CapitalRise, we take a flexible approach to loan applications and treat each one on a case-by-case basis.


What’s the hardest part of your job at CapitalRise?

The most challenging aspect of my role is building trust with introducers that have never worked with CapitalRise before. A key way of building trust with introducers is via good communication, never overpromising, and being able to effect change to secure a deal when warranted. Getting that first deal over the line is always the hardest, but the most rewarding part as well.


What do you love most about your job at CapitalRise?

At CapitalRise, I am lucky enough to work alongside a host of inspiring businesswomen – something that is not all that common in our industry – from Uma Rajah, our CEO, to lending director Katy Katani, and our female-led tech team. Of course, working in the prime property market, I get to view some absolutely stunning properties too.


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

A previous manager of mine from back in my broker days once told me: “Never over-promise and under-deliver”. It’s a motto I still stand by today.


How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?

Alongside my own personal research and industry publications, I find LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for keeping up to date with market developments. Networking and creating industry connections is a great way to keep one finger on the pulse and can be a source of good intel too.


What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?

I worked on a bridging loan for an international politically exposed person (PEP) that purchased a large London industrial unit, intending to convert the property into a residential offering. The loan to value (LTV) ran at 70%, with a total value of £13m.


Tell us about your trickiest case – what happened and how did you resolve the problem(s)?

My most vexing case was a few years ago: I was tasked with overseeing the purchase of a large London office block, which was earmarked to be refurbished as residential apartments.

It seemed like a straightforward project, right up until the LTV increased at the last minute. We had to make an exemption outside of our usual policy, based on the strength of the asset and the borrower.

There were also significant legal complications. We worked closely with lawyers on either side to resolve these challenges, carefully deciding on which issues we could negotiate and which we could not.

Still, we got the case over the line – it took a lot of flexibility and creativity. The LTV bridge loan settled at 76%, and the final value was £14m.


What was your motivation for choosing this career?

My dad was an architect, so I was actively thinking about the property industry from a very early age. Back at school, business studies was always my favourite subject. Alongside my natural skill for building relationships, a career as a business development manager (BDM) was tailor-made for my interests and abilities.


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

I’d love to renovate historical buildings; it would be a fascinating albeit painstaking line of work.


What did you want to be growing up?

Growing up, I wanted to be a marine biologist, which was very much a trend in my generation for some reason. I still have a keen interest in ocean conservation to this day.


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

The ability to pause time – it runs away far too quickly.

What is your strategy for tackling challenges?

When you’re in a charged professional situation, you must always remove emotion from the equation. Breathe, step back, and draw up several strategies to move forward. Then pick the right one.


What is your greatest skill(s), either work- or non-work-related?

I can find common ground with anyone no matter our differences in backgrounds – I find this skill useful both in and outside of work.


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

“If you could speak to one type of animal, what would it be?” My answer would be my favourite animal: the wolf.

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