1-Minute Interview with Stephen Davison
Stephen congrats on your 1 year anniversary with Ortus!
Thanks! The time as flown by which has been really great!
What drew you to Ortus originally and has it changed since?
I always wanted to work for a small company with big ambitions and that’s exactly what Ortus is. It hasn’t really changed…we are busier than ever but we still give every transaction the attention it deserves.
Tell us a bit about your background before Ortus
I am a property banker by background, having started out with Bank of Ireland Corporate back in 2008 just as the wheels of the Irish property market stopped turning. That presented a great opportunity for me to look at the market from a different perspective relative to some of my peers at the time. I was there for 7 years, and then spent three years working with NPL portfolios on behalf of a private equity firm, focussed primarily on commercial property but with residential and trading commercial enterprises in the mix too
What were your first impressions of Ortus
My first few days were spent at our London office and I have to say I came away with the impression that Ortus is a business that is really going somewhere. We’re fortunate to have an experienced group of individuals who have come together and created a fantastic team spirit, all pulling in the same direction to ensure we deliver for our clients. There is an open culture where there is no such thing as a stupid question…something that really helps us to harness the talent and knowledge we have across the business to get deals done.
What are the objectives for the year ahead for you and the business
That’s a good question and one that changes with each week. With the Covid-19 outbreak, our focus will be on supporting our existing client base through regular engagement, something we pride ourselves on at Ortus. We want to continue to grow our loan book too…and that will mean continuing the work we started last year in terms of building our brand ensuring that the Northern Ireland market is aware of our product offering and the flexible funding solutions that we can provide…that might involve a few less coffee meetings and a few more Zoom calls than I would have anticipated at the start of the year!
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love meeting new people and helping to turn their vision into reality – when we finally get a deal done there is an enormous sense of achievement and it’s a privilege to part of the journey with our borrowers as they work towards their goals.
Tell us about some of the transactions you are currently involved in and how your approach has been influenced by the impact of the Covid restrictions
At present I’m involved in deals covering a whole variety of sectors – hotels, residential investment, owner occupied industrial, care homes and pubs / leisure to name but a few, which shows the ability of Ortus to get to grips with all sorts of different transactions. The Covid outbreak has changed our approach somewhat– talking to borrowers over video call is the new normal and probably will be for some time to come. We are also more reliant on our valuers when it comes to physical inspection, whereas before we liked to see properties ourselves whenever possible. I think there will be a balance as things start to normalise – but we’ll continue to adapt where necessary to ensure continuity of service to our clients as we have done to date.
In one word describe Ortus…