Jim Harding is Finance Director and Company Secretary at Eskmuir Properties Ltd, a private UK property investment business. Eskmuir is also asset manager and fund manager of The Diversified Property Fund for Charities which it established in 2015. Eskmuir has total assets under management of c.£330m.
Jim qualified with Brebner Allen Trapp Chartered Accountants in 1999 having gained experience with clients in a variety of industries including property, financial services, sea freight and the media. In 2000 he joined the property industry with a move to Chelsfield plc where he formed part of a superb team and gained wide exposure to investment, debt, development, joint ventures, asset management, financial reporting and tax compliance. The privatisation of the business was also a very involved and learning experience.
Jim gained further experience at: Prestbury Investment Holdings Ltd with its large sale and leaseback portfolio and private equity investments; and then Howard Holdings plc with its large development portfolio. Through a Chartered Accountancy practise established with his brother he subsequently undertook work for banks backing Howard Holdings and then for Prestbury to assist with their launch, listing (Aim and Jersey Stock Exchange) and the subsequent ongoing management of Max Property Group. Jim joined Eskmuir in 2011.
Q-What was your first job and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
My first job was as a paperboy for a local newsagent. Other school age jobs included: working for a carpentry / furniture restoration business (a favourite); making breakfasts for the early Saturday shift at a local factory with a pal; and a brief stint on the sales floor of a domestic white goods retailer.
I would say I’ve never had a bad job but I much prefer being a user of domestic white goods…
Q-Was finance your first career choice and what were you doing before?
Careers in carpentry and architecture were early considerations but during A’level studies I quickly came to the conclusion that finance was for me.
Q-Why did you choose a career in the commercial real estate sector?
My practice background gave a good overview of a number of industries. Real estate was my favourite as it was dealing with tangible assets where value and quality could be improved through development, refurbishment and management. In addition, returns could be enhanced through the use of debt, the arrangement of which was in the finance team’s remit.