Spotlight Series: Farrel Joffe

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Assetline Capital’s Credit Risk Manager is the can-do gatekeeper to capital for our brokers and borrowers. He manages Assetline’s Credit and Property teams, ensuring that we can live up to our promise that we deliver serious capital at speed.

We asked Farrel to share a few things he’s picked up in his 15-plus years working in credit risk.

Farrel Joffe

Assetline Capital’s Credit Risk Manager is the can-do gatekeeper to capital for our brokers and borrowers. He manages Assetline’s Credit and Property teams, ensuring that we can live up to our promise that we deliver serious capital at speed.

We asked Farrel to share a few things he’s picked up in his 15-plus years working in credit risk.

Farrel Joffe
You’ve spent over 15 years working in credit risk – what drew you to work in this side of finance?

I have always been a cautious person – I enjoy calculating risk! Working in a credit team at Investec in South Africa, I was inspired by its CEO and culture at the time – balancing a robust risk focus with an entrepreneurial spirit. I liked that approach to assessing deals. Getting down to the nuts and bolts of a transaction, ironing out the real issues, and making great decisions. Working in credit, you need to make sure capital is in safe hands and protect the business.

What attracted you to the opportunity to lead Assetline Capital’s credit and property teams?

It’s a business with a great entrepreneurial culture, experienced leaders and exciting growth potential. And the credit and property analyst teams are a real asset to the business – having a property research team in house, working together closely with the credit team, gives us an edge. We play a critical role in the market, and we need to keep responding at the pace our borrowers need and build on the strong foundation we have, in order to take this business to the next level.

We get a lot of deals through, and need to focus on the right things immediately. That’s why everyone in our business understands our risk appetite and credit policies, so we can see if it stacks up quickly.”

How do you manage to turn around the due diligence behind deals in as little as 48 hours?

Our approach is to always try to make the deal while managing the risks appropriately, and do it with speed and efficiency. We need to ensure loans are repaid and investors’ funds are returned, and the experience, processes and structures we have in place enable us to do that every day. Sometimes that means triaging certain deals to manage expectations. We’re working with our BDMs and brokers to help them understand our risk appetite, policies, timings and requirements, so we can say yes as quickly as possible. And if it’s outside our ballpark, clients also appreciate a quick response even if it’s no.

Is there one deal that stands out for you as a memorable transaction?

Probably the first major deal we undertook when I had just joined the team in March 2021. It was a significant non-standard arrangement for a number of land assets in the Southern Highlands of NSW. What stood out was how everyone worked together to understand the client and the security. And it was a good example of how we assess transactions, mitigate risk, and make deals happen in the right timeframe.

What is the secret to a good credit risk assessment, and how can borrowers or brokers help get their deal across the line?

I always follow the 5 Cs of Credit: Character, Capital, Capacity, Collateral, Conditions. That’s what runs through my mind with every deal or scenario. Who are we lending to, what do they have at risk, what is the security, what are the market conditions, and how will the loan be repaid?

As a borrower, you should be ready to provide that information up front. It’s like preparing for an exam – if you know what questions you’ll be asked and what the examiner is looking for, you’ve got a much better chance. And if you can comply with these fundamental requirements, the chances are there’s a deal to be done.

What values were instilled in you through life that guide you today?

Integrity is a core value that was ingrained in me from a young age, always do the right thing even when its tough.   I  witnessed my parents and grandparents work very hard, and those family values have shaped who I am today.  

How would you describe the current credit risk landscape?

It’s always a busy time coming into the end of the year, but 2021 has been extremely busy.  There are a lot of deals being done and the market is very competitive right now. Despite ongoing uncertainty around COVID, I expect that activity will continue. And with our scale and structures in place, we can provide more certainty for more clients, regardless of what happens next.

If you’re interested in discussing a deal with our team, please get in touch.

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