HOW’S BUSINESS? Business is very challenging at the moment. With the number of transactions down considerably in the last year, the focus of the business is now on our core services of property management and professional services which continue to be strong performers for us.
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS IN THE PIPELINE?
We are always working on major development projects and have a number of projects in the pipeline, including our involvement as sole commercial property consultant and sole commercial letting agent for the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Sirocco Works in Belfast.
In addition we continue to grow our management and professional services teams and will soon be providing Energy Performance Certificates which will be compulsory for all transactions in commercial buildings early in 2009.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM PROSPECTS FOR YOUR ORGANISATION?
The long-term prospects are good given the quality of our staff and the fact that the long-term prospects of the Northern Ireland economy are extremely good, once the current downturn has passed.
Also, property moves in cycles and in such scenarios, values inevitably rise again after a fall.
In the current circumstances, the rise will come when the financial market uncertainty is diminished.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUR ORGANISATION?
The biggest challenge facing our organisation is the current credit crunch and the potential that the UK economy will fall into recession.
However, whilst the transaction side of our business has suffered as a result of the credit crunch, our management and professional services division is growing as property owners focus ever more on maximising the value and performance of their assets.
COULD THE GOVERNMENT HELP YOU TO DO BUSINESS BETTER?
If the government could help the banks secure their lending books, this would help the banks to release capital which will get the market moving again.
With regard to the local Executive, it should not be deterred by the current economic challenges from its task of putting in place the building blocks to secure long-term economic growth.
YOUR VIEWS ON THE ECONOMY PLEASE.
Consumer confidence has been dented, particularly by the rise in food and oil prices, combined with falling house prices.
Local business confidence is more robust than elsewhere, but the climate is clearly challenging. The economy is definitely slowing down.
How far will this go? Ask me next year.
THE BUSINESS CLIMATE — GOOD OR BAD?
The general business climate is OK, but property is in the doldrums for the moment.
However, property investors with access to cash will find themselves in a good position to avail of bargains.
WHAT AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE AT A PERSONAL LEVEL?
To help our team continue to outperform the competition in these challenging times.
And to get my golf handicap back to single figures.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WORK FOR YOU?
Because we keep things in perspective and we try to create an enjoyable, but focused working environment.
WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
A little golf, a little running and lots of children — not necessarily in that order.