What do you currently do?
I joined the Kuflink Group last October, after a 17-year career in Banking. As CEO and Director for both Kuflink Ltd and Kuflink Bridging, my focus has been on systems, controls, risk management and overseeing our 2 applications to the FCA. It has been quite an intense 12 months, especially for Kuflink Ltd, as we prepare for the platform to go live – the team has delivered a fantastic P2P offering.
Kuflink Bridging is a well-established bridging finance company which, since its inception in 2011, has delivered year-on-year growth and profits. All funding is secured against UK property only. Kuflink Ltd is our entry into the peer-to-peer world. This business is about to go live and compliments Kuflink Bridging, as it will be facilitating lenders and borrowers on UK property.
Most recently, I have also been meeting with various city institutions, to seek a funding line for Kuflink Briding, to help the company achieve its growth ambitions.
What defines your way of doing business?
Keep it simple. In business we seem to have a habit of overcomplicating matters. At Kuflink, we have installed a culture of keeping everything we do simple and clear. This ensures we have a robust, efficient and effective business model across the group. Furthermore, it ensures that the group is well aligned. By keeping it simple, the lines of communication remain clear for the Board, the management and all staff. In 2016, we have embraced technology to streamline many of our processes and procedures and the impacts on business performance have been instant. We took on a CTO in April to oversee the building of bespoke systems for our companies, enhance our compliance monitoring and assist with sales and marketing.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Kuflink Bridging is a business born out of the credit crisis in 2008. In Kent, local businesses wanted to raise funds, however, the conventional lenders had stopped lending. Our original shareholders came together and provided the funding to establish Kuflink Bridging and lend out funds to suitable clients. Now five years later, we have a strong business that has delivered year-on-year growth and profit.
The Board at Kuflink is extremely driven to deliver innovative solutions, by identifying new markets. In January 2016 – as part of our group growth strategy – we conducted detailed research into the peer-to-peer sector. The conclusion of those findings was clear and this complemented Kuflink Bridging. Whilst the peer-to-peer sector is highly regulated, the barriers to entry are very high and this appeals to us given our knowledge of the industry, niche offering and desire to build a successful business. Just nine months later, we are ready to launch our unique peer-to-peer lending platform.
We are constantly looking for new opportunities and have a short, medium and long term plan for the group, which aims to ultimately become a full UK challenger bank.
Who do you admire?
Given that Kuflink is a FinTech group, it will come as no surprise that the one and only Steve Jobs is a man I admire. Described as a “creative entrepreneur who has a passion for perfection”, Mr Jobs is a source of daily inspiration. Myself and my fellow directors are constantly reviewing our products and services, to perfect our offering and deliver new solutions by embracing technology. Bringing together finance and technology is critical given it’s what our clients want. The challenge is to ensure we stay ahead of our competitors by listening to clients, constantly researching the market and ensuring we offer a best-in-class service.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
It’s difficult to say really. With Kuflink Bridging, its year-on-year success says no. With Kuflink Limited and our peer-to-peer platform, we have delivered a unique solution in a relatively short period. We have gone well beyond the minimum standards required to ensure it is user friendly, FCA compliant, meets legislation, is branded and marketed correctly and gives us data. Only time will tell if I should have done anything differently, but at present, I would honestly say no.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
The key is to have a strong and hungry team around you. If this is not present, it is vital to create one before you start your journey into business. As a team, you need to support each other and bring a wide range of strengths and skills to the table. You need to constantly share ideas, challenge each other and most importantly listen. If you can establish this from the outset, regardless of your business sector, you will have the foundations for success.