Sat Bhandal, West Midlands Regional Sales Director
Posted on 10th January 2020
With a career in commercial banking spanning 13 years and a focus on cash flow and trade finance over the past two years, our West Midlands Regional Sales Director , Sat Bhandal, brings with him a wealth of knowledge that helps his clients find the right funding when they need it.
After a more traditional role in corporate banking, why did you decide to make the change?
I guess like a lot of bankers I was fed up of the rat race and working in a role that made me a jack of all trades but a master of none. I wanted to concentrate on my strengths and what I enjoy doing which is meeting businesses, understanding what drives them and helping them grow. I really enjoyed developing new business in my banking days and spending time with my clients and introducers. This job allows me to spend quality time with clients which is important in this industry.
What are your particular strengths/specialisms?
I enjoy building networks and genuinely enjoy speaking to businesses and learning about what they do. This enables me to build networks easily and explore new markets for the firm within the West Midlands.
I also pride myself on linking businesses and professionals in my network where I see synergies. I find making positive introductions always comes back to you in spades.
You speak to business owners and entrepreneurs every day, what are their main concerns surrounding (funding, Brexit, economy, banks?)
It’s not rocket science; the word I hear nearly every day is “uncertainty”. Nobody has known what is going to happen for three years and it’s not much clearer now. Businesses want to be able to plan and make moves in the market, especially with the growth businesses I work with in the West Midlands. Funding is more challenging from the traditional sources (again, this is no secret) but I find myself advising clients that they should take a good offer for funding when offered. Too often they return having been let down when said funder has approached credit and has not been able to deliver.
How do you see business developing in the West Midlands in the next few years?
The West Midlands is now at the epicentre of another industrial revolution. Birmingham has received huge investment over the past five years (the construction cranes in the city centre pay testament to that) and, with London stalwarts relocating their offices here, jobs and commerce are continuing to rise. The city’s first-ever tech week took place a month ago and new tech start-ups continue to flood to Aston which will be the UK’s first smart city.
I can see a change in the type of industry the region is famous for moving from engineering and manufacturing to tech in the next five years. HS2 will also be a game-changer, bringing London even closer. So there really is no more exciting region in the country in my opinion.
How do you think Fresh Thinking Capital differentiates itself from other funders?
We differentiate ourselves simply by doing what we say we are going to do and delivering. Clients approach me every day having been let down by another lender or a bank that hasn’t taken the time to look at their proposal or take a view on their history and track record. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and businesses will have bumps along the road as a result of this. We sit down, listen to them and take a view with all the information.
A point I make to a lot of professionals I meet is that we are not “just another lender”, we are structuring deals and speaking to clients in a way that hasn’t been seen in the market. I am offering businesses a way of doing deals that they haven’t even thought of and that’s a unique position to be in.
What do you like most about working at Fresh Thinking Capital?
This place is like a family. I have worked for some big banks and some smaller firms but this is a place that cares. Nobody is too busy to take the time to talk something through or give you a hand. If something isn’t working or if a process seems clunky, we just fix it – there are no politics or propaganda.
I also get the freedom to do what I need to without pointless conference calls and spreadsheets, and we are fully backed when we want to make decisions that influence the business.
Everyone, from portfolio managers to the owners, has a common goal to deliver for the client and we all buy into that. It’s a hard thing to explain but when we have a client and a deal in motion it just works. In short, we don’t just talk about it, we get stuff done.