PROPERTY FINANCE

Interview with Dorothée Queyroux-Dembiermont founding partner of Voltaire Financial. Voltaire Financial is a real estate advisory firm. It has a focus on arranging property finance for investors and developers across all asset classes, both in the UK and European real estate markets.

When you first started your role how difficult did you find it?

Originally from France, I came over to London to improve my spoken English and realised that it was much easier to secure a job as a youngster here, than in Paris. In France, it’s significantly harder to gain experience on the job as a diploma is considered everything. In the UK, employers are less bound by paperwork. If you have a talent in a specific area, you are given a chance.

DOROTHÉE QUEYROUX DEMBIERMO

DOROTHÉE QUEYROUX DEMBIERMO

That said, it was still obviously a challenge as I certainly had a language barrier to overcome and arguably a gender barrier too. Starting my first job as a real estate intermediary in what is, effectively, a male-dominated world was also tough. However, I embraced the challenge and enjoyed every moment of it and that perseverance and strength got me where I am today.

How has the market changed over the last few years?

The market has certainly been through an interesting journey in the past five or so years. I’ve been witness to incredible highs, but also lows, as a result of the recession and subsequent recovery. While we have been on a rollercoaster ride, the market is now coming out the other side and I can see that people are steadily beginning to hold more confidence day-to-day.

What type of deals are you currently executing?

We are currently working with a number of residential developers and student accommodation operators and so far this year, we’ve completed several transactions ranging from £3 million to £200 million.  In addition, we recently launched Voltaire Equity, a vehicle which allows us to create joint venture arrangements with residential developers on schemes up to £20 million.

Equity requirements of up to £10 million can be considered and the capital at our disposal can facilitate up to a total of £100 million if demand requires it. We also have a fast-growing bridging operation, Voltaire Bridging, which delivers fast and flexible short term funding solutions in a variety of circumstances throughout the UK and increasingly in the highly competitive central London market.

Equity requirements of up to £10 million can be considered and the capital at our disposal can facilitate up to a total of £100 million if demand requires it. We also have a fast-growing bridging operation, Voltaire Bridging, which delivers fast and flexible short term funding solutions in a variety of circumstances throughout the UK and increasingly in the highly competitive central London market.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced during your career and what did you learn from them?

My biggest challenge to date was being a member of the real estate industry during the recession. It was a scary time as I was employed in the only finance job I’d ever known in London and it was stressful not to know what the future would hold.

Luckily, I had valued my colleagues and clients tremendously and having developed strong relationships, I was able to launch my own company, Voltaire Financial, with my former colleague and now business partner, James Thomlinson. We knew that we had to do something monumental if we wanted to stay in the financial sector and I was lucky enough that James was willing to take on the challenge with me.

Starting a company from scratch was the next big step. The first year was tough, but it enabled us to find our feet and pinpoint exactly what market was right for us. Clients we had formerly worked with were still around and because of the value we had placed on our relationships with them, we were able to secure their business and get Voltaire Financial off the ground.

What do you find most gratifying about your work?

One of the things I really enjoy is venturing on site with our clients and lending partners to see what the investment is actually achieving. It is exciting to see a barren plot of land or a tired property transformed into something desirable and more often than not in central London, on such an impressive scale.

Do you have any plans for expansion?

We are an ambitious company and we are certainly growing steadily, continuously hiring more staff to keep up with demand. In addition, we recently launched Voltaire Equity, a new product focused solely upon assisting developers to meet or part-fund the shortfall that exists behind senior debt development loans from all types of lenders, from private and high street banks through to stretched senior providers. This, along with the growth of our bridging business, put us in good stead for a bigger and better future.

Do you have any advice for women going into real estate?

Women shouldn’t be put off by a traditional view that the property industry is a man’s world; instead they should take advantage of being out-of-the-ordinary and stand out in their specific field. More and more women are making a name for themselves in the sector and it is as much about self-belief as anything else. While it may be overwhelming at the outset, it is important to remember that there are many women who have tread the path before you and that you can be a success too. Appear confident and keep abreast of industry news, like you would do in any career. This will help ensure success.

Voltaire Financial

Voltaire Financial is a leading real estate finance advisory firm, distinguished by its successful execution of property transactions throughout the UK and Europe. It has a focus on arranging property finance for investors and developers across all asset classes, both in the UK and European real estate markets.

Voltaire arranges commercial mortgages and development finance for projects from £2 million upwards and has just launched a new finance vehicle called Voltaire Equity, a dedicated capability that will facilitate equity solutions for developers and investors in need of capital to finance projects or restructure existing deals.

The team is based in Mayfair, central London.

www.voltairefinancial.com

Dorothée Queyroux-Dembiermont
Partner, Voltaire Financial

Dorothée is a founding partner of Voltaire and is primarily focused on property located in the UK and Europe and specialised in both developments and site acquisitions ranging in size from £3m to £800 million.

Dorothée has experience with mixed-use developments, prime residential, and numerous hotel projects. She also arranged funding for the acquisition of substantial sites valued without planning at c. £90 million in London.

Dorothée has arranged numerous investments packages including industrial, retail and leisure portfolios. Over the past few years, she has been helping small developers growing their business by structuring innovating packages and allowing them to be involved in several projects at the same time.

She began her career in real estate with a prominent London real estate broker. She graduated from ISC business school in Paris.

During her free time, she enjoys consulting interior design magazines and running after flea markets & art exhibitions.

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