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Development finance junior portfolio managers

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Five minutes with... our Junior Portfolio Managers

Our Junior Portfolio Managers assist our Relationship Directors and Portfolio Managers in supporting clients and ensuring the smooth running of loan accounts.

We meet three members of the team - Megan Andreou, Jess Pilkington and Lilly Sargeant - to learn more about their role.

Megan Andreou

What are your career ambitions?

Megan Andreou

My ambitions are to acquire relevant experience and knowledge about the sector to aid my progression through the company. I aim to be confident in talking to clients and be well-equipped to answer the wide variety of enquiries that they may have. I work with some of the most experienced individuals in the industry and I hope to learn as much as I can from them to develop my knowledge and understanding of the sector.

The company is growing and developing, and I am excited to be a part of that process

What’s the most interesting deal you have worked on?

We currently have a deal in due diligence that qualifies for our Green Loan Discount because on completion the units are expected to receive an EPC rating of A. I find this deal particularly interesting due to the location and design of the units. The multi-unit scheme is based in Bruton, Bristol and has a contemporary design with a variety of green features, including solar panels on the roof and an ecology corridor maintained around the site boundary to encourage biodiversity.

EPC

This scheme takes into account the environmental pressures of society and it’s therefore forward-thinking and representative of deals that we’ll likely see more frequently in the future. Since this is the first green deal that I have worked on, I have found it particularly intriguing

What advice would you give to somebody looking to enter the sector?

When I first joined Paragon I had just left university and had to get up to speed quite quickly with the wider industry and Paragon’s ways of working. Fortunately, I had a great team around me and plenty of resources to make this as seamless as possible. I would advise anyone entering this sector to be curious and inquisitive because understanding how the company operates improves your ability to carry out your daily tasks.

Also, it is important to be approachable and friendly so that there is a good relationship and level of communication between you and your colleagues.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

French toast

I spend most of my time out socialising with my friends and exploring the different eating and drinking spots that London has to offer. I recently went to Shack-Fuyu in Soho and highly recommend the French Toast with Matcha Ice Cream.

I also enjoy watching Arsenal games and travelling to away games where I can.

Jess Pilkington

Can you tell us a bit about your career background to date?

Jess Pilkington

During my time at university, where I studied Business Management, I completed a placement year where I worked at a quantity surveying firm within the project monitoring team. I worked on a variety of projects across the North of England where my role was to advise banks and funds on construction risk.

Following my graduation from university, I had the opportunity to move from Manchester to London to join the Paragon Development Finance team.

Monitoring surveyors is one of the key professionals that we work with daily, and my prior experience has proved invaluable during my time at Paragon as it has provided me with a strong background knowledge of the development process. This ranges from demolition through to practical completion, which assists me in my daily interactions with both our professionals and clients.

What attracted you to the development finance/property sector?

During my time as a monitoring surveyor, I enjoyed watching construction breathe new life into disused buildings, contributing to the improvement of an area and observing a project develop from start to finish. I found development very interesting and therefore wanted to remain within the property sector as I progressed in my career. My prior experience working in project monitoring resulted in me being naturally interested in the development finance sector.

New build homes

The junior portfolio manager role at Paragon stood out to me as I felt I could apply the knowledge I had gained from project monitoring and utilise this in the finance sector whilst also remaining close to development.

What is your main focus at Paragon and what do you enjoy about the role?

As a portfolio manager at Paragon my main focus is to ensure the smooth running of each loan throughout its life cycle. This includes completion of detailed loan due diligence, efficient processing of monthly drawdowns and handling the repayment of each loan.

I enjoy working at Paragon as I am part of a high performing team with knowledgeable individuals who have enhanced my experience throughout my time at Paragon by sharing their knowledge with me. I enjoy the wide-ranging nature of the job, from my interactions with key parties through to the variety of tasks required of me daily. Ultimately, no two schemes are the same meaning every day is different, however, the end result is always rewarding when we see our clients complete a scheme.

Modular construction

What’s the most interesting deal you have worked on?

We are currently working on a deal which is utilising modular construction. This is the first deal of its kind that I have worked on where the whole development is modular build. Given the emphasis on modern methods of construction, making construction faster and greener, this type of construction is likely to be more prevalent in the future.

Gaining experience of modular construction now will put me in good stead for future deals of a similar nature and for the development of my knowledge on alternative construction methods. On our current deal, the modular units are due to be delivered to site shortly and I am looking forward to seeing how the scheme develops over the next few months.

Lilly Sargeant

What attracted you to the development finance/property sector?

Lilly Sargeant

I’ve always had an interest in the property sector as it’s a diverse industry which has significant economic impacts. Particularly as I studied Economics for my undergraduate and masters degree, I felt it suited my skillset and experience perfectly.

I was fortunate enough to gain some work experience with the Paragon Development Finance team whilst I was in my second year of university, and this confirmed my interest and desire to work in the industry as I gained a solid understanding of the loan process and what the job would entail.

The experience and enthusiasm of the team left me feeling motivated to pursue a career in development finance and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work for such an experienced and reliable bank.

What is your main focus at Paragon and what do you enjoy about the role?

My main focus is to provide our clients with an efficient and high standard of service throughout the life cycle of their loan by ensuring any requests and payments are dealt with promptly.

Every development is unique, and I enjoy being able to assist our clients in bringing great developments to life as it is very rewarding. I look forward to seeing the end product for some of the recent transactions I have supported on.

It is a pleasure to work with an experienced and knowledgeable team as I have learnt a lot since I joined and I am excited to progress and develop my understanding even further.

British Countryside

What do you enjoy outside of work?

Living in London is still relatively new to me, so I am enjoying exploring London and the variety of restaurants it has to offer. I also enjoy visiting my family home for a change of scenery from busy London life. This usually consists of long walks in the countryside and spending time with family. If I’m not in the UK, then you will find me exploring new places abroad!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to enter the sector?

I would recommend trying to gain some industry experience or reach out to someone in the industry to get a more accurate idea of what the day to day looks like. Keeping up to date with key issues impacting the industry will help your understanding of the sector and help with good talking points when interviewing with potential employers.

I think it’s crucial to be selective and do your research on a company as this will help your understanding of the business and ensure you find a company which shares similar values to you.

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Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551