One to One: Chris Sykes, Private Finance

21 February 2020 | Finance

How does Private Finance intend to approach 2020?

After an uncertain but surprisingly buoyant 2019, we’re hoping to see the pent-up demand for property released this year. We are preparing for this upswing in demand and will continue working to ensure that would-be buyers have access to the solutions they need.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I’d like to see less duplication of data. The entire mortgage process could be significantly more efficient on this front, and I see no reason why new technologies should not be able to deliver this outcome over the coming years. This would be a boon to brokers and borrowers alike.

On a Sunday evening, what do you dread for the coming morning and what do you look forward to?

The thing I dread about Monday mornings is the sound of my 6am alarm.

On the plus side, I genuinely enjoy my job; we have an amazing team at Private Finance. I regard my colleagues as friends so it’s a great place to be and I look forward to arriving at work each day.

What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?

When I left university, I was already fully CeMAP certified and had a year of experience working in the mortgage broking industry. I was therefore in a good position to consider setting up as a self-employed broker.

In the end, however, I decided to join a well-established firm in Private Finance, and I can confidently say it was the right decision. Aside from the obvious perk of working within a team of people that I genuinely like and respect, I don’t feel I would be half the broker I am today if I hadn’t been able to learn from the seasoned industry pros who make up my team.

What was the biggest challenge you faced personally last year?

I had some fairly significant personal goals within work but I hadn’t expected my biggest challenge to be Carter Jonas’s annual charity pedalthon.

Private Finance took a large team to Yorkshire and, in a moment of foolhardy over-enthusiasm, I signed up to do the 50-mile route despite being only a casual cyclist at best. The terrain was extremely challenging – far more hills than I’m used to as a London cyclist – and the weather was forbidding, but I’m proud to say I completed the route and had a great time doing so. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve signed up for the 75-mile route this year!

As a child, what was your dream job?

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a chef. I love to cook, always have, and I could think of no better career than one that allowed me to explore this passion.

Like most people, though, I was encouraged to stick with school and, at a certain point, I discovered I had a knack for finance. Pounds and pence clicked with me and from that point I knew I was destined for a career in the financial sector.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I would emphasise the importance of learning how to learn and what works for you, as well as pushing yourself constantly to grow and improve. That said, I’m pleased with where I am and what I’ve been able to achieve so far.

Do you have any (soon to be not so) secret talents?

As I said earlier, I love to cook and consider myself something of a maestro in the kitchen. I love sampling different cuisines while travelling the world and then trying to recreate these exotic dishes from the comfort of my own kitchen.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Sir Richard Branson. I respect the way he treats people – both his staff and the end users of his products and services. The fact he has been able to sustain this people-focused approach while building some of the biggest and best brands in the world inspires me to be the best person I can be.

Company profileYear established: 1999

Headcount: 40

Address: 29 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, London, WC2A 3EG

Tel: 020 7317 2820

Private Finance is an independent mortgage brokerage that provides bespoke advice to private clients throughout the UK. With access to every lender on the market and strong working relationships with key building societies and banks, Private Finance’s mission is to exceed its clients’ expectations, working on their behalf to find suitable solutions and competitive terms, quickly and efficiently.

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