JBR Capital – An Origin Story

Executive Chairman Darren Selig, reflects on the market conditions that brought about the birth of JBR Capital.

The start of a long personal journey to bring a new lender for higher value vehicles to market was born out of frustration. As far back as 2006, lenders did not have a good understanding of high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Additionally, consumer-based lenders were moving at a rapid pace towards highly automated, low human interaction process models with very limited appetite for loans over £50,000.

The problem was, and remains, that rigid computer automated processes are highly accurate for consumers who fit a predictable lifestyle – but not for HNWIs. This customer does not structure their life in a predictable manner and would not be able to appeal the decision if the lender rejected the deal. At JBR, anyone who has a deal rejected has the opportunity to appeal it to the credit committee. Combined with little understanding of higher value vehicles such as supercars or classic cars, this made for a frustrating day at the office for a specialist broker!

“Surpassing £500 million paid out loans is nothing short of an incredible milestone achieved only by the will and determination of all the 50+ amazing staff we now have at JBR.”

JBR Capital Office

JBR Capital Office

#FundYourPassion

#FundYourPassion

The servicing of this market fell to the commercial bank-led asset finance players of the 1990s (a number of which have since ceased to exist or left the market during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008). Essentially lenders to the small to mid-size enterprise (SME) market and the corporate officers of the SMEs had a better understanding and ability to underwrite the HNWI market through a manual processes. However being generalist asset lenders they didn’t have the specialist knowledge required for expensive motors, especially when it came to assessing residual values of limited production cars.

With little appetite to lend more than £250,000, this made for a narrow and frustrated market. I was even told by one underwriter at the time: ‘unless it’s for David Beckham then we aren’t approving a car like this!’. Unfortunately this McLaren SLR coupe wasn’t for David. How frustrating!

In addition finance for sub sectors such as the classic and modern classic car market just didn’t exist as these cars failed the over-10 years old rule and there was no guidebook as to future values to rely on. Furthermore, lenders struggled to deal with the fact that certain cars were becoming collectible growth assets in a sector that had, in the main, been depreciating.

I started the long road to bring a new fresh approach to a stale market in 2006, but it was stalled by the credit crunch. Lenders were leaving the market by the day, and it reached rock bottom when ING Lease announced in October 2012 that they closing down. It was uncertain and scary times but in my mind only solidified the strong rationale for a new lender.

After a number of early iterations I realised that I couldn’t build this vision and dream by myself. I needed to put together a strong management team who had the prerequisite skill to build a distribution network and originate loans, raise significant funding, find equity partners and build a robust state of the art operational platform.

In 2014 I turned to long time friends and colleagues Shalom Benaim and Stephen Halstead who could instantly see the opportunity – and JBR Capital moved one step closer to reality. We opened the doors (and the phonelines) in January 2015 and Shalom and Stephen have been instrumental in JBRs growing success with a real team effort.

“On a personal level I am bursting with pride and fulfillment….The last 15 years has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me…’.”

Surpassing £500 million paid out loans is nothing short of an incredible milestone achieved only by the will and determination of all the 50+ amazing staff we now have at JBR. I may have been the one to start the mission and embark on the long journey but JBR owes its success to every person in the business that has put their heart and soul into building the foundations of the business and providing our introducers and customers with best in class speed, service, sector knowledge and empathy. This simply didn’t exist 10 years ago.

On a personal level I am bursting with pride and fulfillment. Have we really achieved over £500m of loans in just over 4 years from launch in 2015? I have to pinch myself sometimes that it’s real and not just a dream. We started out in the back end of 2014 with a handful of highly enthusiastic individuals huddled around a computer in a small office in Hampstead. A blank screen and a mission to disrupt an industry that was desperate for a new beginning.

The last 15 years has been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. There have been many dark moments, self-doubt, hurdles and failures along the way and at times was ready to throw the towel in – trust me, this has not been an easy ride! My wife and children (J, B & R) have always put 100% faith and support in me and without this I think I may have given up long ago.

“The problem was, and remains, that rigid computer automated processes are highly accurate for consumers who fit a predictable lifestyle – but not for HNWIs.”

Stephen, Darren and Shalom - JBR Capital

Stephen, Darren and Shalom

Goodwood Revival - Bonhams and JBR Capital

JBR Capital and Bonhams at Goodwood Revival 2019

I have been asked what does reaching this unbelievable milestone mean to me. The answer, as you can see, is it means everything, and I don’t say that lightly. I always believed it was possible – you have to, otherwise you would give up at the first hurdle. And there were many!

But even though you believe it is possible, nothing comes close to the sense of achievement of actually getting there. It’s indescribable. Validation that you weren’t going mad (even though many told you you were), there WAS an opportunity, funders were willing to back and support the venture, and most importantly your customers and friends and colleagues in the dealer/broker world were willing to give JBR a break and a chance to prove ourselves worthy as the new player in the market.

At launch in January 2015 we were totally unknown – and many wondered if we would survive the distance. I think £500m of loans answers that one. We are now a well recognised brand in our niche sector working closely with 100s of introducers and thousands of customers. Thank you to everyone who has supported JBR on this journey. We could not have done it without each and everyone one of you.

We should celebrate these important milestones – it is a monumental achievement but what excites me now is the future and what comes next. As chapter one closes there are many more chapters to come at JBR.

Watch this space…

Call us for more information on 020 3603 0074.

#fundyourpassion, with JBR Capital

Author: Darren Selig, Executive Chairman
Author: Darren Selig, Executive Chairman

JBR 500 virtual garage

Celebrate our £500 milestone and visit JBR500 virtual garage, a place where we take time to celebrate some of the most interesting and historically significant cars that have formed part of our £500 million lending milestone.

Visit the JBR500 Garage