As Assetline Capital’s Managing Director – Property Lending, Paul Munt brings balance to our driven leadership team. His willingness to step outside his comfort zone and embrace a steep learning curve is paying off in major milestones for the business.
We asked Paul to share a few things he’s picked up in his 20-plus years working in finance.
What attracted you to work in property and construction finance?
Finance is basically my trade. It’s what I know. But I don’t think I ever aspired to be in finance. I fell into it while studying at university and then forged a career in banking that saw me travel and work around the world. In London, I was exposed to global banking systems, and then from there worked in product and distribution roles in New Zealand. Eventually family drew me back to Australia, and I shifted into the broking side of the market.
So what brought you into the Assetline Capital team?
I immediately saw an alignment of values with the Assetline Capital team when I came on board at the start of 2021. I felt a connection with their drive and motivation to build a successful business. And there’s also a strong set of ethics around how the business is run, and a real commitment to our people. That appealed to me, along with their entrepreneurial mindset. Working in banks, it’s almost coached out of you to be entrepreneurial. Then working in a broker business for five years was the opposite. Assetline Capital is a really good balance between entrepreneurial drive, risk and governance.
Assetline Capital is at an inflection point with new products and funding sources. We’ve got more growth on the horizon, and I’m really looking forward to building a true competitor in the non-bank lending space.”
How does your experience in banking and broking shape your approach to partnerships?
I think it brings a balance. There’s risk controls and compliance, and also understanding the need to move quickly. When I’m out talking to brokers, I don’t just charge in with a solution. I want to listen and understand their business, and work out where their clients align with what we do best. Then it’s on us to back up what we say we’re going to do.
We know if we build something our clients value and have a highly engaged team, the rest takes care of itself in terms of financial outcomes.
2021 was a big year for you at Assetline Capital – what stood out for you as a milestone?
We’ve added a long-term product to the product mix and added further diversification to our funding mix, which is game changing for us as we can now develop competitive long-term mortgage products. The funding mix is important as it ultimately enables us to structure deals for a broader subset of small to medium sized businesses. Establishing a partnership with FAST involved extensive due diligence as well, and that now gives us access to one of Australia’s largest commercial broker networks. We’ve invested heavily into our tech and confidently call ourselves a tech player in the small to medium sized business lending arena. All of this whilst we have built out a really strong performance-driven brand and culture.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are ever the same, but they would involve all the key components of the business at some point – people, clients, strategy, and operations. At the moment, I feel like my learning curve is steep. It’s challenging me in a good way, because that’s when you grow most as a person and I’m fortunate to have a great team around me. I’m looking at distribution partnerships, funding and portfolio management. As we evolve to become a commercial fintech, I’ve also been looking at our core operating platform and letting go of some legacy systems.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give a broker or borrower in today’s market?
The market is certainly interesting at the moment. It can go up and it can come down, and the businesses that are successful ultimately stay close to their customers. If you can find outcomes and solutions for them, ultimately you’ll get more clients regardless of what’s happening in the market. Listen to your clients and listen to your staff who support them. There are strong links to a highly engaged team that create highly engaged clients. If you can achieve this shareholder returns take care of themselves.
What excites you most about this next chapter for the business?
Assetline Capital is at an inflection point with new products and funding sources. We’ve got more growth on the horizon, and I’m really looking forward to building a true competitor in the non-bank lending space. We recognise our rich 10-year history and we’re ready to build something different. We are both looking to the future, and running pretty quick at the moment to keep the agility and sense of urgency alive. Plus, the calibre of people here is first class… we are building something special together.
If a colleague was asked to sum you up in one word, what would it be?
Balanced. I’m the one who sits back and takes a view of a situation. There’s always balance between clients, brokers, funding requirements and compliance, and it just takes a level head to think things through.