About

UK Agricultural Finance Ltd is an Appointed Representative (FRN 74872) of Met Facilities LLP which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 587084). UK Agricultural Finance Ltd is registered in England with registered number 09760807 and registered office at 1 Connaught Place, London, W2 2ET, United Kingdom. UK Agricultural Lending Ltd is registered in England with registered number 10049593 and registered office at 1 Connaught Place, London, W2 2ET, United Kingdom.

Our Ethos

Agriculture is the backbone of any country and has been an important part of civilization for thousands of years. It is also a complex and challenging business. Like all businesses, flexible and responsive finance is an essential tool.

The practice of credit being given and received is an age-old tradition ranging from barter to mortgages. Private mortgages played an important role in the local exchange of money and the UK’s once great building society sector developed from this. It’s only recently that the drive for ‘efficiency’ has turned lending into an impersonal and seemingly deliberately unhelpful process. We aim to remedy this.

At the heart of our business is the desire to provide the agricultural sector with finance options that help it develop and grow. We know rural property and rural businesses; the driving factors, the challenges, and the appeal of taking this type of initiative. More importantly, we understand lending against land for unique enterprises that aren’t simple businesses and that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is unhelpful.

We believe in taking time to understand our borrowers’ needs, so we can tailor solutions to fit their objectives. We aim to be reliable partners, who act with integrity and deliver every time on what we say we will do.  You’ll find us pragmatic, with common sense, flexible attitude prevailing.

We believe passionately in responsible lending. This means providing useful, relevant and fair products to our borrowers, that also deliver a fair return to our investors. Therefore, we expect our borrowers to be fully open and honest with us, and communicate in a timely manner, ensuring we have all necessary information, even if we’ve not asked for it. In return, we will deal openly, honestly and promptly with our borrowers and do whatever we can to help their business succeed.

Meet the team

Lord Davies of Abersoch - Chairman

Mervyn Davies is the chairman of Corsair Capital, a private equity firm specialising in financial services.  He has a wide range of interests, including being Chairman of the Royal Academy of Arts Trustees, the Garden Bridge Trust, and Chime Communications. Prior to this, he was a government minister and Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank. He was awarded a CBE for his services to the financial sector and is a JP in Hong Kong.

Jim Downing - Non-executive Director

Jim Downing has over 30 years of experience in international financial and is a non-executive director for several companies. Previous roles include Deputy Head of JP Morgan Chase’s European Investment Banking Group and Head of European M&A at Chase Manhattan. Jim has an MBA from Yale and a BSc from Rensselaer Polytechnic.

Graham Noble - Director

Graham is a highly experienced investor, having worked for Credit Suisse and UBS. Since 2008 Graham has been instrumental in the founding of a number of successful asset management businesses. Graham is a non-executive director for Scholium Group plc and Chief Investment Officer for Soho Estates Holdings.

Mark Thompson - Director

Before joining UKAF, Mark was the founder and managing director of Tiptree House, a corporate finance advisor, with a proven record in growing entrepreneurial businesses. As part of this, he spent five years on the Board of the Holmesdale Building Society and as Executive Chairman successfully completed a major turnaround that rebuilt its lending business. Most of Mark’s career was spent in the City, financing and investing in small companies, with a focus on renewable energy. Mark is a member of a FTSE Index committee and has an MSc in finance from London Business School. His first degree is in Mechanical Engineering and his early career was spent as an officer in the British Army.

Robert Suss - Director

Prior to UKAF, Rob was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, where he spent 18 years building a number of businesses in their investment management division. His last role was as Head of Private Wealth Management in London. Robert is a passionate supporter of the Royal Academy of the Arts, serving as a trustee and as Chair of both its Patron Committee and its Schools’ Annual Auction and Dinner. He is also a trustee of J.K. Rowling’s charitable endeavour Lumos. Rob has a BA (Jt. Hons) in Economics and Management from the University of Leeds.

Risk management

We are all about a fair deal for borrowers who want quick, simple and flexible agricultural finance; a fair deal for our investors; and a fair return for us. This means we take risk management and responsible lending very seriously: they help protect our borrowers and the wider rural community, as well as our business and investors.

If you’re a borrower:

  • We recommend independent financial advice before applying for a loan from an IFA, business adviser, NACFB accredited broker or chartered accountant.
  • We insist that you have independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor.
  • We always visit your farm and don’t just rely on the usual box ticks, as we like to take a holistic view of you and your business. This helps us assess if you will make a good borrower, but also means you get to deal with a real person and have chance to understand us as well.
  • We do lots of checks and ask for a fair bit of normal business paperwork. None of this is unusual and we will help you through this process, although the more organised you are at the outset, the easier this will be. Your professional advisers should also be able to help you with this.
  • We don’t formally assess your business plan, but do need to see a credible use for our loan proceeds that demonstrates how you will: (i) increase your business’s capital value or its income; (ii) afford our loan; and, (iii) repay it at the end of the term or refinance it from a reputable source.
  • We don’t require you to have a perfect credit record, as we’ve been in business long enough to know that there are always bumps in the road, especially in agriculture. However, we do need you to be upfront about any issues and to be sure that you have honoured any previous debts.
  • We expect you to have relevant experience or access to expert advice and a credible business track record. However, if you’re just starting up, for example buying out the family farm, we may still help if you have an appropriate guarantor (typically a parent or sibling) and support.
  • If we’re lending to a company, we always require personal guarantees from all the directors and any substantial shareholders.
  • We’re fair, pragmatic and approachable, but also aim to be responsible and turn down a borrower if we don’t feel comfortable lending to them, or if we believe our loan isn’t in their best interest.

Before taking out a loan from us, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with our Terms & Conditions.