ThinCats highlights crucial relationship between lender and broker
ThinCats is marking 18 months of working with an Edinburgh-based broker by highlighting the importance of understanding the needs of its partners’ clients.
Neil Davidson, managing director of Edinburgh-based Alderburn Finance Solutions, became a ThinCats partner in 2016. Asked why his partnership with ThinCats has been so successful over the last 18 months, he said: “They think the same way as I do; I value ThinCats’ understanding of risk.
“While they are not lending themselves, they do ensure the loans presented to their investors are of good quality. This is time and effort well spent and it provides confidence and consistency to both borrower and lender. If the loan request is marginal, ThinCats tries to work out how the deal could be done rather than look for reasons why it shouldn’t be done. This is an important differentiation with some other lenders in the marketplace, and makes my job much easier.”
Describing the most important aspects of his role, Neil added: “The first big question for me is, does my instinct tell me that I would invest my own money in the business? I need to get the right feeling; this aspect is helped by the number of years that I have been in the industry, and the sheer number of businesses that I have spoken to over the years.
“The answer is nearly always there after my first meeting with the client. Do I thoroughly understand the business and the opportunity? Does the management team really impress me – are they inspirational? Do they have an excellent understanding of their business and the market?
“If the answers to these questions are yes, then my job is simply to understand the detail, to help the client present their borrowing case to the lender in a concise, accurate and balanced way, and to ensure that lenders have the information necessary for them to make their own judgement on whether to lend.”
It is not always that straightforward, however. Neil concluded: “Sometimes there are challenges that need to be worked through first before getting to the right point. When my initial reaction is no, I don’t immediately walk away. I’m always up-front with my reasons and try to help the client as far as I can; it may be that the funding can be accessed further down the line, with some work and changes from the client’s point of view.”
ThinCats is unique in working in this way with expert partners to introduce loans to the platform, and the combination is a truly powerful one; harnessing local, industry-specific knowledge to successfully pair ambitious SMEs with flexible, tailored funding opportunities.