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Staff spotlight – Jason Liew

Jason Liew .

The next of our Staff Spotlight series, this week featuring Jason Liew, our Melbourne based Senior Associate at Pallas Capital.

Can you tell us about yourself?

I’m a Senior Associate at Pallas Capital, responsible for conducting due diligence on loan submissions.

Born in Malaysia, I migrated to Australia after completing my commerce degree at Melbourne University. I’m also professionally-trained as a CPA accountant and am intrigued by the power of story-telling with numbers and how it can be used to shape, sell, and solve problems. This fascination led me to a management consulting role at PWC with a focus on banking and property development segments. I was subsequently hired by Beulah International, a property developer, to manage wholesale channel and site acquisition. Since then, I’ve spent more than 10 years in the real estate industry overseeing non-bank development finance.

How did you come to be part of the Pallas Capital team?

I first met one of the directors when I was approving lending transactions for Pallas Group. With the team growing exponentially, the same director eventually knocked on my door.

I actually joined at the height of the pandemic in mid-2020, highlighting the tremendous resilience of Pallas Capital as a lending business, as well as the entire non-bank industry.

In the past five years, we’ve seen a trend of established property developers, who used to be comfortably served by major banks, start to consider a more holistic omnichannel approach to their development funding requirements and capital stack.

That’s where I believe Pallas Capital is well-positioned to deliver an unrivalled solution and, ultimately, why I joined.

What does a typical workday look like?

My day starts when a loan inquiry needs to be pre-vetted. I’ll conduct preliminary research on the transaction to see if there are any ‘deal-breaker’ elements in the credit proposal, and if so, my job is to figure out how we can mitigate such risk by structuring the deal into an indicative finance offer. This process usually takes priority, as it’s about bringing business into the door.

Afternoons are about sealing the deal. This is where I review loan submissions that have been accepted by prospective clients and all consultant reports are now provided. My role is to put the critical information into a recommendation report, which is then submitted to our Credit Committee, in order for them to come to a ‘yes/no’ decision to fund the underlying transaction.

As simplified as it sounds, this two-step process centres all around people. People in similar roles in the industry are often quite sceptical in nature, like the old Soviet saying, ‘trust but verify’. I try to remind myself that every transaction that ends up on my desk represents somebody’s vision, development blueprint and career life story.

I always challenge myself to bring an open mind and call the broker or borrower to comprehend and understand their world. Ultimately, we are not a ‘checklist’ lender, we are a tailored-solution provider.

What has been your highlight at Pallas Capital so far?

The three months leading up to Christmas 2020. Victoria was operating under strict lockdown and many non-banks ‘turned off the tap’. But Pallas Capital did not. Leaning towards our deep knowledge and experience in property development from Fortis, it allowed us to make sound credit decisions and progress with development funding while the typical checklist lenders had hesitated and blundered. With a tight-knit team, all working from home, sometimes late into the night, we settled hundreds of millions of loans during that period, showcasing the resilience, resourcefulness and resolve of Pallas Capital.

What are your personal goals for 2021 outside of Pallas Capital?

To buy an apartment within a 5km radius of Melbourne, to future-proof my liberty of movement. I have one in the CBD and one at 15km. I’m now working towards a 10km location.

If you would like to speak to Jason email him at jason.liew@pallascapital.com.au

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