1-Minute Interview with Jamie Russell
Jamie congrats on your 1 year anniversary with Ortus!
Thanks! Its flown by!
What was your experience before joining?
Before working at Ortus I worked at Octopus Property (now Octopus Real Estate) in a similar capacity. I was working in the London/Greater London area and building relationships with brokers and clients. Before that I served as a commissioned officer in the British Army for a number of years.
What was it about Ortus and the role that attracted you to the position?
When I first met the team it was clear that they were incredibly passionate about what they do. The opportunity to expand and reach out to key brokers in Central London, and to work on commercial transactions really appealed to me. I have always been interested in commercial property, so it was great to join a lender specialising in this area. It was also really important that any potential employer was funded properly and as a balance-sheet-lender with committed funds under management Ortus definitely met this criteria.
Can you tell me about the role at Ortus when you first joined?
As with any new sales role, there is a period of learning (which never really ends!) and a period of breaking into your new market. However, I’ve done some really interesting deals and expanded my network to include brokers with a specific interest in commercial property.
How has your role grown during the past year? Key deals/ challenges?
I think the biggest challenge has been a change of mindset. The focus is on truly understanding what can sometimes be very technical and complicated transactions. I am heavily involved in the structuring of deals and my opinion really matters. I can confidently negotiate with introducers and put a deal together, backed-up with the support of my colleagues. Its really satisfying and my technical knowledge has come a really long way.
What are you most proud of achieving at Ortus so far?
Well, firstly I’m proud of the deals I have completed. These have included loans secured over a school, a wedding venue, a hotel in Scotland, a care home – just to name a few. I have also helped some complex clients – including offshore jurisdictions, non-UK nationals/residents and complex corporate structures.
I also feel I’ve built a solid reputation for being positive and helpful. This is important at Ortus where a heavy emphasis is placed on showing integrity and doing the “right thing”. For example, if I can’t help on a deal I will suggest another lender who may be able to help. This has also led to some good referrals from other lenders.
What’s the team like?
There is a lot of knowledge and everyone has real credibility in their specific function. Whether it is deal-structuring, surveying, accounting or banking there aren’t many problems that we can’t solve as a team. I think that this is why some many brokers come to Ortus for large and complicated property deals.
There is a really positive atmosphere and a genuine desire to do deals. We are big enough to deliver but small enough for everyone to care about the brokers and borrowers around whom our business is built.
What do you enjoy most about working at Ortus?
That’s easy. Learning. The day you stop learning in any job is the day that your job becomes boring. Commercial property is so heterogeneous that the variety of transactions will always keep you on your toes.
Anything unexpected/ entertaining you’ve dealt with at Ortus, that you’d be happy to share?!
There was a fairly impromptu team visit to Brussels over the summer. It was a great opportunity for team bonding and to sample Belgium’s ample beer selection.
What are you looking forward to / your goals at Ortus in 2020?
I feel I spent much of 2019 talking about politics so, while it was a good year in terms of business volumes, there were lots of repeated and increasingly boring conversations. I’m pleased to say that 2020 so far has been a flurry of activity with lots of transactions moving into valuations and legals.