Tim Green speaks to Paul Coates, Head of Debt Advisory and Structured Finance (EMEA) at CBRE.
Paul Coates has been with CBRE for just under two years, having joined to build out the company’s debt advisory platform across EMEA. He previously spent more than 25 years in the real estate ﬁnance world, being part of some major UK corporate ﬁnance and development projects. From 2008 for ten years he led RBS’s real estate lending teams across the UK and Europe, which he describes as an interesting, challenging and rewarding role to take in the wake of the global ﬁnancial crisis.
Paul is currently chairing the Property Industry Alliance initiative to create an industry wide loan database to promote greater transparency in the UK real estate lending markets. Following the Vision for Real Estate Lending report in 2014 the initiative seeks to provide accurate, timely and relevant information about the ﬂow of credit into the UK Real Estate market and trends within the market to seek to promote more informed decision making and risk taking.
Coates lives in Richmond, south-west London, where he enjoys the space around Richmond Park and the River Thames as well as being close to Twickenham, where he is a member and avid follower of the Harlequins rugby team.
What was your ﬁrst job, and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
My ﬁrst job was working at B&Q, from selling carpets to designing kitchens. Worst job… I think delivering 380 free papers every week for less than £2 a week. In business I think a lot of the enjoyment (or not) is shaped by the leaders and the environment they create – I’ve had the fortune to work for some great bosses and mentors.
Was ﬁnance your ﬁrst career choice and what were you doing before?
I turned down British Airways pilot training to go into the ﬁnancial world. Who know where that alternative route could have taken me – literally…
Why did you choose a career in the commercial real estate sector?
In a way it just happened: as banks started to specialise in sectors, I had a number of clients in the property sector – including George Wimpey, long before its current guise – so it was a natural progression.
Why do you enjoy the sector?