Having qualified as a chartered accountant in 2006, Simon Antonis started his career working in audit and tax at internationally recognised firms PKF and KPMG. With clients in the property and investment sectors, he gained valuable insight and experience of their internal operating processes, along with strategic management and reporting, before moving into industry.
Simon joined the GRE Assets team in 2012 and provides financial consultancy and management in his role as Corporate Financial Consultant. Bringing his wealth of accountancy expertise to the fore, he works across departments in a highly strategic role.
In this interview, Simon explains what he enjoys about his role as Corporate Financial Consultant and offers advice to businesses looking to bounce back as lockdown restrictions ease. He also shares his predictions on how the property investment landscape will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is your role at GRE Assets and how has it changed?
When I joined the company eight years ago, I was focused on building a more structured accounts and financial department through the implementation of internal systems and processes. In my current role, I work on developing the financial strategy of the business, collaborating with most departments internally, as well as several external stakeholders.
I enjoy collaborating with many different people within the company and the varied nature of my role means no two days are the same. Ultimately, I strive to work with my colleagues to provide a seamless and financially rewarding investment experience for our clients. We pride ourselves on offering a personal service and I take our investors from the initial commitment of purchase all the way through to completion and investment efficiency analysis.
Amid the current Covid-19 situation, do you have any tips or advice?
Now is a good opportunity to focus on improving the efficiency of your business operations and aligning your strategy to make the most of opportunities in a business environment that is likely to be altered for some time to come. Maintaining a cash buffer, resisting the temptation to dispose of assets at a discounted price and investing in longer term fundamentals can be highly beneficial in weathering the current situation.
During times of uncertainty, particularly for international investors, it is always prudent to increase investment in well-established and relatively stable economies like the UK.
How do you see the landscape changing for property investment now that Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease?
While things remain relatively uncertain, I would predict the UK’s economic recovery to be much faster than during the 2008 global financial crisis, where asset classes were artificially inflated well above their true value. By comparison, this hasn’t been the case during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had more of an impact on activity within the market.
The UK is well-positioned to navigate the economic implications of the global pandemic and in the short to medium term, we would expect property returns and activity within the market to return close to the levels before the crisis. Looking more longer term, property remains a good investment with a very favourable risk to return ratio.
GRE Assets is a property investment company with major residential schemes in the UK and Spain.