Meet Trilogy Funds’ Head of Lending, Clinton Arentz
Since joining Trilogy in 2017, Clinton has been instrumental in the extensive growth of Trilogy’s construction loan portfolio, the establishment of the Trilogy Industrial Property Trust, and expanding lending and asset acquisitions to a national focus.
With over 25 years’ experience in property development and project management, Clinton talks navigating the current property boom as the property market continues to evolve.
What has 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.
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.
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.
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 manage 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.
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”.
Eager to start your property development or construction project?
Trilogy is currently providing construction finance at interest rates from 6.95% p.a.*