Derek Pratt, commercial director at peer-to-peer lending platform Sourced Capital, on how he got started in property and his cultural recommendations.

Derek Pratt

Derek Pratt

How did you join the property industry?

My involvement in the industry is very much based on my various roles within banking and finance. With more than 30 years’ lending experience with both mainstream and alternative finance providers, I have worked with clients in all areas of the property industry.

What does your job entail?

Sourced Capital is an FCA-regulated peer-to-peer platform providing secured loans to property professionals to support their development or projects. My main role is to ensure we always provide our borrowers and investors with a product and level of service capable of meeting their highest expectations. To do this, I will always unashamedly rely on my amazing colleagues to help deliver innovation and continual improvement.

What do you like most about the property industry?

From a lender’s perspective, there will never be two identical transactions, so you need to take time to fully understand the nuances of the proposal and the general economic influences at the time. I enjoy working closely with the borrower to shape a loan structure that meets their desired objectives in a deliverable way. Speaking more generally, the property industry has introduced me to some great characters and being part of a successful project is always massively rewarding.

And what do you dislike most about it?

It would be great if we could shorten the length of time it takes to conclude a transaction. Also, I am not a massive fan of the unnecessary politicising of issues, which can cause disruption to the sector.

What would you change about the property industry?

I look forward to the Land Registry delivering the digitalisation and automation of their systems and processes.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

Anyone who has been in or around the sector for a good number of years has seen massive swings in the fortunes of the market and the wider economy. Finding a way to support clients during the more difficult times is challenging – especially if you were working for an organisation with an agenda not always aligned to that intention. Seeing those clients survive and prosper is rewarding.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I have always sought to give my best to my employers and to those I have worked with, whether clients, suppliers or colleagues. I am most proud of the fact that I’ve been offered new opportunities by employers, senior colleagues or clients

I have previously worked with. This would suggest they thought I had brought the right kind of values to their business.

What do you value in people?

Honesty, integrity, positivity, fairness, empathy, directness and loyalty. In reality, just treat people how you would want to be treated yourself.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Remember that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it successfully. If you are looking at a potential project where it only works financially if everything goes perfectly to plan, that is probably not the deal for you.