Amicus appoints Head of Real Estate Developments

Towards the end of last year, bridging and development lender Amicus snapped up heavyweight chartered surveyor Cedric Houghton-Brown as its Head of Real Estate Developments. Since then, Cedric has discussed with B&C what he has planned for the department over the coming months.

Cedric was brought into Amicus in late October last year in a role which had not previously existed at the firm. As a chartered surveyor with 27 years’ experience in the industry, Cedric has worked for a number of large construction and property consultancies. However, he was looking for a change in his career path. Cedric explained that he wanted to experience life in a smaller organisation which had ambitious plans for growth and development.

Amicus is a dynamic, progressive and growing company which ticked a lot of the boxes - a market leader I would say. The plans for Amicus’ future are very impressive and I’m really looking forward to being a part of them.

I have spent many years working as an independent risk advisor to major banks, funders and lenders of development finance and that experience and track record was recognised by Amicus.

Cedric Houghton-Brown
Head of Real Estate Developments

As part of his role, Cedric reviews, from a risk perspective, the design drawings, specifications, construction costs, cash flow forecasts, development appraisals, valuation reports, planning permissions and associated conditions, building contracts and schedules of amendments, consultant appointments, insurances, warranties, guarantees, surveys and reports.

Cedric continues:

“Other tasks on my lengthy list involve formulating and setting up processes and procedures, including how and where my involvement fits smoothly into the existing Amicus business model.”

Just a few months into his new job and Cedric has already implemented several new ideas and processes, including a risk model which has been trialled by the underwriters and was rolled out across the business shortly before Christmas.

“The aim of the risk model is to score all of our development loans based on a number of construction-related criteria and arrive at a risk rating between high, medium or low, which will dictate how we approach our lending on each scheme. It will certainly quicken the approval process once established.

Assessing risk and determining opportunity is at the core of the Amicus model and my role will become an integral part of the model that over the last 12 months has become so respected by funders and distributors alike.”

Cedric believes that the strengthening of the lenders risk model will increase their influence over the commercial market in which to date they have been fringe players.

“Memories of the recent banking crisis and the effect it had on the construction and development industry are all too fresh in my mind but I am confident that with my experience and the Amicus Group ambitions, linked to its reputation for quality prudent lending, the commercial sector will deliver growth business.

We need to make sure that we have the necessary measures in place to safeguard our development loans and that is a key reason for my being at Amicus.”

Commenting on Cedric’s appointment Keith Aldridge MD at Amicus said;

“Cedric has already introduced processes and procedures that will strengthen our proposition and benefit our stakeholder partners who share our optimism for the development and commercial markets in 2016. He is a significant addition to our team which in recent months we have been growing to ensure we have the expertise in place to satisfy the growing demand from our distributors.”