With over 25 years’ experience in property development and project management, Clinton Arentz has stepped into a new role as Head of Lending and Property Assets.
Since joining Trilogy in 2017, Clinton has been instrumental in the extensive growth of our construction loan portfolio, the establishment of the Trilogy Industrial Property Trust, and expanding our lending and asset acquisitions to a national focus.
We recently chatted with Clinton to discuss his new role, where he sees the property market heading in the upcoming year and how he adds value for our borrowers and clients.
Here’s what he said.
1. Tell us about your career history that led you to where you are today.
My career experience stretches across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors from both sides of the property equation – funding and property development.
I started in property with a commercial agency, JLL. I then gained end-to-end project management experience, delivering industrial and commercial projects and refurbishments with Dalgety Australia as their Queensland Project Manager.
I then moved on to residential developments, before starting my own property development company, Winston Group, where I advised on commercial, industrial and residential projects in Queensland.
Through my career, I’ve developed a wide industry network working with most of the major lending groups and other property companies. I have known Philip Ryan and the Trilogy team for many years and joined in 2017 as I saw it as a great opportunity to bring together my experience with Trilogy’s dual focus on investment and property.
2. You’ve recently transitioned from Head of Lending and Property Developments to Head of Lending and Property Assets. What does your new role entail?
My role is two-fold. As Head of Lending, I am responsible for coordinating Trilogy’s team of portfolio managers, overseeing the growth and management of our loan portfolio, client and broker liaisons and new business development.
Then we have the property side. In my new role, I oversee the management of Trilogy’s property assets, including property management, capital structuring, acquisitions, and property syndications.
Acquisitions, design, development and construction delivery have all been part of my remit in my previous roles, so it’s been a relatively easy transition.
3. Where do you see the property market heading in the next 12 months?
The past 12 months have demonstrated how dynamic and fast-paced the property market is. If we went back to this time last year, we’d be looking at a vastly different market in terms of market forces, sentiment, and activity, to the one we find ourselves in now.
We’re currently seeing improving market conditions. This is driven by rising consumer sentiment, low interest rates, pent-up demand, a relatively strong global economy, and stronger recovery from COVID-19 than originally forecast.
The residential sector, in particular, is performing well and our Lending team is seeing strong enquiry levels for new construction and development loans across all the states we operate in – Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. These enquiries are coming from new developers and repeat borrowers with new development opportunities.
“On the Property side, the industrial sector is a compelling option for investors at the moment”.
In particular, the manufacturing and logistics sub-sectors have benefitted from the current low Australian dollar, and higher commodity prices.
Our focus on industrial properties in the Trilogy Industrial Property Trust and new single asset trusts has positioned us to perform well over the next year. We’re already seeing this through strong levels of tenant enquiries and investor demand for industrial investment assets.
The other major property asset classes, commercial, retail and tourism, suffered more significant impacts from COVID-19. However, as normal trading patterns resume, and the vaccine is rolled out, I trust we’ll see them resume their normal courses.
4. What challenges and opportunities do you see in the property and financial lending industry?
I believe there is an opportunity for us, our borrowers, and our investors, to benefit from the outperforming industrial and residential property sectors.
With rising investor and owner-occupier demand for property, there’s an opportunity, not only for existing project sales which struggled during COVID-19, but for new projects to enter the market and fill the void of what otherwise might have been an undersupply of residential and industrial stock.
However, with the dynamism in the current property market, it’s critical for developers and lenders to be alert to changes in the market and adjust to them swiftly. It’s a very agile industry in that sense, and we believe Trilogy is at the forefront of that with our flexible approach.
On the property side, we are actively exploring new investment opportunities in the outperforming industrial sector where we can provide our investors with competitive income, quality tenants and prospects for potential capital gains.
5. How do you add value for your clients?
“We care about our borrowers”.
Unlike some major lenders, who have a set-and-forget mindset, we want our borrowers to succeed and we proactively monitor the progress of their project to ensure this. Being a relatively smaller-sized lender, we are able to provide agile finance solutions and flexibility as a lender.
“Having previously been a property developer, I understand what drives them and what they’re up against”.
This experience enables us to closely monitor any factors that may affect project timelines and quality of output. If there’s a slowdown in construction activity, or a delay in sales rates against the original forecast, we can identify these issues early in the process and pre-emptively help solve them before they arise.
“We also structure our loans to succeed”.
We look at cashflow modelling, exit strategies and delivery methods to steer projects towards the best possible outcome that is not just good for the project and its sponsors, but also to Trilogy’s investors.
That’s where we add real value as a lender.
On the property side, our investors benefit from our expertise in property management, development, and acquisition.
We seek to only invest in high quality property assets by assessing properties based on our expertise and skillset in the asset class, feedback from our network of property specialists, and monitoring the current property market state of play.
This has been reflected in the regular and competitive returns provided to investors in the trusts.
6. Is there a project you’ve found most rewarding at Trilogy?
There was one case where a builder failed for one of our borrowers and couldn’t complete their work.
Our team was committed to helping our borrower get their project back on track. We immediately called in our own team of project consultants, including highly qualified quantity surveyors, engineers, and project managers, who stepped in to replace the building solution and understand exactly what needed to happen to get the work done.
“With our agile, flexible, and personalised approach, we got the project back on program, finished the construction on time and on budget and the developer was able to achieve all sales in the forecast timeframe”.
7. What are the three key ingredients to success in your role?
Without focus, you tend to have a meandering approach and arrive at successes by luck rather than design.
- Commitment and dedication to achieving your objectives.
If there’s a problem in your immediate vicinity, the best thing to do is face the problem head on. Identify solutions and have the commitment and dedication to follow through and complete the challenge at hand.
- Dynamism, flexibility, and agility of approach.
It’s important to be able to adapt to challenges quickly.
8. What is your favourite part about working at Trilogy?
The people – without a doubt. Trilogy is a people business. The founders and leaders at Trilogy have created a very dynamic and agile team of people who are driving the company to greater achievements, successes, and higher levels of growth.
It’s also a fun environment – I love the people that I get to work with every day, and particularly love meeting our clients as well.
9. Best advice you have ever been given?
Fortune favours the bold.
Want to meet more of the Trilogy team?
Learn about our Executive Director, John Barry.
This article has been prepared by Trilogy Funds Management Limited (Trilogy) ACN 080 383 679 AFSL 261425 as issuer of units in the Trilogy Industrial Property Trust ARSN 623 096 944. This advice is general advice only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances and we recommend that you seek personal financial product advice on your objectives, financial situation or needs and obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement when it becomes available before making any investment decision. A PDS will be issued by Trilogy in the future and will be made available at www.trilogyfunds.com.au. You should obtain a copy when available, understand the risks, and seek personal advice from a licensed financial adviser before investing. The Trust is not a bank deposit and Trilogy does not guarantee performance.