Ros James, Lifetime Achievement Award 2015
WMN Interview with Ros James of Ros James & Co. National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers Special Lifetime Achievement Award 2015.
Recently Ros James founder and principal of Ros James & Co, was delighted to receive official recognition of the 25th anniversary of her owning and operating her own commercial finance brokerage and being a ”trail blazer” for women in business. The ceremony was held at the annual Professional Commercial Finance Show at Olympia, in London, where the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) held its annual general meeting. Ros James was a founding member and the only female founding member of the NACFB, which was created in 1992. Ros, and other similar minded brokers, held the view that the establishment of standards of proper professional practice in sourcing commercial funding was crucial for clients and vital to the integrity and future well-being of the finance sector.
Based in the South Hams, it was in the early 1990’s that Ros James seized the chance to become the first female broker in the U.K to own and run her own commercial brokerage. This was a huge step, entering what was then a very male dominated world of brokerage but she has succeeded, building up a very strong business and client following.
As well as coping with the pressures of running her own business, Ros organises with support of KPMG, the well-known and highly successful Plymouth Breakfast Club, which now has in excess of 250 members and this Christmas celebrates its 95th meeting and from the booking fees over £50,000 has been donated to charity.
Ros said: “Much of our business is derived from clients who return to us on numerous occasions and their contacts, together with referrals from the professional and business community. Many clients return to us to review their existing finances or seek assistance with acquisitions such as new businesses, premises and equipment.”
Director Ros acts as broker and ”front of house” and her partner, Mike Plant is a consultant. Mike has over 25 years experience as a property solicitor and primarily writes the finance proposals and ”crunches numbers.” To use Ros’s own words ”this gives a very good balance.” The firm arranges funding for a wide range of commercial transactions from healthcare, hospitality and investment property to property development.
Ros added: ”Our firm’s high point has been the funding of the purchase and development by Dame Hannah Rogers Trust, of the former Seale Hayne agricultural college. Dame Hannah Rogers Trust or Hannahs as it is known, is a major South West disability and learning–difficulty charity, for children and adults. The former Seale Hayne agricultural college comprises a Grade 2 Listed quadrangle and some 90 acres of land.
”This was particularly rewarding being not only at the height of the recession when funding was very difficult to obtain but further in enabling Hannahs achieve another important milestone. Mike and I were subsequently thrilled to be invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by Samantha Cameron for Hannahs and the official opening of Seale Hayne by the Princess Royal.
“If I were to advise a young person wishing to follow my steps, towards setting up a commercial finance brokerage, I would advise them to firstly work for a reputable, established firm in a similar or related business. Numeracy, literacy and communication skills are essential as is a willingness to understand different businesses and how they are valued together with a grounding in law.
“I was born in Cheltenham and educated in South Gloucestershire. My father was as an engineer and became a director of the Dowty Group then a leading British manufacturer of aircraft equipment. My mother worked for Dowty mining, and later became a director of an industrial catering company.
“My release outside of the business is that I have my garden and keep two donkeys, Muffin and Susie. I keep fit with yoga, aquafit and walking the South West Coast and look forward to resuming sailing, one of my other loves. I have been an active member of the Lady Taverners and their charity work since 1992.”