Regional director Tom Stewart, based in Growth Lending’s London office, is responsible for finding new clients to benefit from the lender’s fast, flexible funding.
What do you do at Growth Lending?
I’m a regional director and I’m responsible for new business – in other words, transforming prospects into clients. Part of my role involves managing a network of advisors, from accountants to brokers, who can introduce me to potential customers.
Are you naturally a “people person”?
I’ve always enjoyed meeting people: that’s why I wanted to get involved in origination. I studied business at Northumbria University and did a year abroad in Jönköping, Sweden, which combined the academic bedrock with a mindset of learning from different people. My first job was in the relationship management team at RBS and I really enjoyed meeting clients there.
How did you end up in London?
Seven years ago, I joined a graduate scheme at Bibby Financial Services and moved around the country learning various roles. I then helped to build Bibby’s London team from scratch, which helped me to establish a large network in and around the capital.
What attracted you to Growth Lending?
Growth Lending is genuinely different from other lenders. We offer flexible products that aren’t available from the banks, and we also work with our sister company, BOOST&Co. We’re from the selective invoice finance world, but BOOST&Co focuses on term debt and venture debt, which gives us a different perspective. We’re currently working on half a dozen joint transactions, taking Growth Lending’s approach to helping small, growing businesses but putting an extra nought on it. Not many people can do what we can do.
Which item can you not work without?
I should say my phone, given that I’m responsible for new business, but I’ll have to add coffee to the list, too.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I’m a keen traveller, but while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place, I’m playing a lot of sports, including football – I’ve been in a team with a great group of guys in Putney for around five years. At the moment, I’m juggling football, golf and my girlfriend: one of them has to give and I know which one won’t!
Which football team do you support?
I support Sunderland, because someone has to. My dad’s side of the family moved from Scotland to Newcastle, but my dad wanted to be different, so instead of supporting Newcastle, he chose Sunderland. I enjoyed following England’s run to the final of Euro 2020: as a Sunderland fan, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a continuous smile on my face.
What’s on your bucket list?
I’d like to visit friends in Australia and I’d love to go back to Brazil with my girlfriend. We adored the country, the people and the food, so visiting for Carnival would be phenomenal. In the meantime, we’ve booked flights to Israel, Croatia and Italy, but we’re waiting until the airline gives the go-ahead for those.
Given £100m to spend or invest, what’s the first thing you would do?
I’d love to travel around Africa. I’d go down the east coast and visit countries including Tanzania, Botswana and Mozambique, before finishing my trip in South Africa. That would be awesome.