The view from Michael Bolger FCCA, managing director, Beacon Capital

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Beacon Capital provides corporate finance advisory services to borrowers, predominantly in the property financing sphere. We are a small team but have successfully executed over €200m in lending across over 150 transactions since being established in 2015. We have developed a particular expertise in the social housing domain and have supported the delivery of over 1,000 units to date into this space.

We currently have about 40 different funders on our platform. Many of these are private family offices and high net-worth individuals, who tend to fund deals that would be perceived to be higher up the risk curve. We are continuously engaging with all the funders to ensure we are on top of any changes in lending appetites.

My focus is predominantly on the corporate finance needs of our larger clients, acting almost like an in-house corporate finance adviser. Many of these clients had to reinvent themselves following the crash of a decade ago, recycling their seed capital and profits, and are finally seeing the fruits of their hard work.

Our goal for the second half of 2021 is to continue growing our funding platform. We are constantly engaging with new funders, and our mission is to get all good projects banked with the most appropriate capital source.

Generally, there are three main drivers for our clients – gearing, speed and pricing. How these are prioritised helps us determine the most appropriate capital source for each project.

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The biggest challenge over the last year and a half has been the lack of personal interaction with clients, staff and industry peers. I look forward to getting back into the office in Dublin and meeting people for lunch and even a few drinks again.

Looking to the year ahead, a stable political and economic environment will be key to businesses getting back to normal. Most of our clients are crying out for this.

From a housing delivery perspective, the services infrastructure is a large problem that needs particular attention. The government should pull out all the stops to get this piece of infrastructure right to allow developers to deliver houses.

The planning process is another area that needs serious attention. The government needs to do whatever it takes to fix the blockages in the system. Perhaps the government needs to look at an all-party approach to housing, as it did with Sláintecare, to depoliticise housing and get on with supplying homes for our young people.

At times like this we are also afforded opportunities to make positive changes. We need to dare to dream about what we want our future to look like. The new sustainability agenda will be a key modus operandi for successful companies going forward. I hope Irish businesses embrace these positive changes.

In a previous life I worked as a personal insolvency practitioner. I came across many businesspeople who had been very successful, but who had lost everything in the crash. Seeing the real impacts and the devastation it caused was a tough experience that has stuck with me and has certainly shaped my decision making.

As an entrepreneur and a natural risk taker, it instilled a more conservative attitude into me. Today, if I’m winning on an investment or a deal, I am happy to walk away with some of the cake instead of all it.

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