GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ‘FORGET THE TARGET, FORGET THE RHETORIC AND JUST BUILD HOMES’

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Brightstar

Development Finance Today caught up with William Lloyd-Hayward (pictured above) following his promotion to managing director at Sirius Finance, to discuss his new role and the ongoings of the property market.

After the Autumn Statement last week, Will felt that the government let itself down with the lack of focus on housing.

“When the government gets behind something, it can make a difference. If it wants to, it could build and unlock hundreds of thousands of new homes every year, which would help start solving the housing crisis. [However], it hasn’t — and the government needs to prioritize this,” he elaborated.

He added that the constant turnaround of housing ministers over the last 15 years has not helped this issue either, and highlighted the importance of ensuring housing policy is “intrinsically linked” to the environmental policy.

“Any [political] party needs to make sure that they forget the target, forget the rhetoric and just build homes.”

Reaping the rewards of hard work

Prior to his career at Sirius and Brightstar Group, Will gained experience in politics from his previous role as a councillor at Brentwood Borough Council, which he said gave him a “huge grounding” for specialist finance.

We went on to discuss the challenges of his promotion, with Will explaining: “I think the biggest one is just trying to make sure that the staff understand where we are, where we want to take [the company] and keep them on that piece of the journey.

“Practically for me, the most challenging has probably been my diary and my life — still running the operations function while taking on this new opportunity. But I’m incredibly lucky that my operations team is self-sufficient and work incredibly well to keep the lights on and [handle] everything that needs to happen day-to-day,” he added.

He also explained his growth within the two companies. “I came in as the most junior and I’ve now, by luck and fortune and hard work over the years, ended up being COO at Brightstar and now MD at Sirius — two great businesses.”

One of Will’s biggest aims as managing director is to promote diversity within Brightstar and Sirius.

”I’ve always spoken about when I was coming into the industry as a gay man, it wasn’t easy to identify strong role models for me to look up to. What we’re really passionate about is the fact that we’ve got a hugely diverse and talented team — not just in terms of ethnicity, but

also backgrounds, education, social mobility, and the cultures and experiences they’ve had. And actually, we need to create more ambassadors and champions from them, by advancing more of the team and showcasing them.”

Weighing in on industry trends

Regarding the property market, research from Sirius revealed that commercial property transactions are down 67% in the last six months.

When asked for insights as to why this was the case, Will said that this was likely due to the market volatility, which made some investors more reluctant to move forward in the commercial space.

“Some businesses have probably been used to some good commercial terms over the recent years and are probably holding firm and looking at other opportunities.”

He also pointed out that there hasn’t been as much innovation in the commercial market recently — nevertheless, he claimed there are still some great commercial deals to be done in the sector.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, as Will said that Sirius’ bridging team has seen some of its best months this year in comparison to previous years.

Looking ahead, Will said he expected the asset finance division — which was launched last year to broaden Sirius’ proposition — to be one of the biggest growth areas for the business at the end of this year and in 2024, together with second charges.

He added that there may be opportunities in the BTL sector in the future, which he claimed it would grow next year, albeit not massively.

“On a wider section for next year, there’s plenty to be positive about. We’re going to face more bumps in the road, but in terms of government and outside factors, hopefully we’ve all weathered enough storms,” he concluded.

 

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