Christine Toner catches up with Dragonfly Property Finance MD Mark Posniak to find out their plans for the rest of 2016
It’s eight months since you took on the managing director role at Dragonfly. What changes have you implemented in that time?
Eight months? It feels like 8 weeks. It really has gone quickly, but that’s a good sign I’m sure as it shows things are happening. So what have I been up to? Well in the most basic terms, my remit has been to grow and scale the business, not just through consolidating existing product areas but by branching out into new ones. To achieve our many goals, we’ve been hiring actively, further fine-tuning our processes, turbocharging our development division and launching new products, including exclusive low rates for our partners. We’ve also been involved in the exciting Octopus Choice peer-to-peer investment product that was launched recently by Octopus Investments. In short, it has been all go. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that December 2015 was our biggest month ever and shows that the momentum is very much still there.
What is the reason behind the rebranding to Octopus? When will that take place?
As many will already know, Octopus has been instrumental in Dragonfly’s success ever since it provided the business with its first funding line back in 2009. In this sense, we have always been part of Octopus and the rebrand cements this relationship with the broader Octopus group. We firmly believe that the strength of the Octopus brand will put us in an even stronger market position and help us to accelerate our growth in the years ahead. We have big plans for the future and while the Dragonfly brand is strong, we feel we will be able to achieve them much sooner by being part of Octopus Property. As for when the actual rebrand will take place, all I can say is we’re working on that and will be making an announcement in due course. But with the wind behind us, it shouldn’t be too far away.
How has your P2P platform Octopus Choice been received?
Octopus Choice is currently being piloted with a number of financial advisers from around the country, and the response has been hugely enthusiastic. Though fast-growing, the peer-to-peer market is still young. It’s clear that advisers are eager to see a level of experience and track record that Octopus is uniquely positioned to provide. The fact that Octopus Choice is built on the same lending deals that we’ve been making for years – deals which advisers know and trust – gives us real credibility. Advisers have also responded very positively to the fact that we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and invest alongside customers, putting our money at risk first. It helps inspire confidence – a much in-demand asset in this area of the market.
What challenges have you noticed since MCD was implemented?
I wouldn’t say we have experienced challenges as such, it’s more that you have to adapt to new regulation as it comes in. This naturally involves adjusting your processes and, where necessary, educating people as to how things now have to be done. But then a
decent lender should have the necessary skills and processes to accommodate any change like this in-house. All in all, and I’m sure this applies to other lenders, for us the MCD was a fairly seamless transition.
With second charges completing much faster now, are you seeing more interest in them over bridging?
Not at all. In fact, our bridging proposition is doing better than ever at present.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2016?
Grow, grow again and grow a bit more. And when I talk about growth I’m talking about our staff levels, completions, redemptions, product range and – where possible – the awards cabinet. If there’s one thing we won’t be planning to grow, of course, it’s our rates. Clearly the rebrand, when it happens, will be a massive event for us but at the same time we are all hugely excited about the opportunities being part of Octopus Property will bring.