John Maltby talks about his career at the Kensington Mortgage Company

John Maltby, 38, is chief executive of the specialist lender Kensington Mortgage Company. KMC lends to those unable to get a mortgage from many of the high-street institutions. He joined the company less than three months ago and has been preparing it for its imminent stock market flotation.

John Maltby, 38, is chief executive of the specialist lender Kensington Mortgage Company. KMC lends to those unable to get a mortgage from many of the high-street institutions. He joined the company less than three months ago and has been preparing it for its imminent stock market flotation.

 

How did you get started in financial services?

I started working for Barclays in 1992. I was involved in major project management, including the roll-out of the bank's automation service. I moved to Lombard in 1994, which was then owned by NatWest, and in effect ran Lombard Tricity Finance (now First National). This arm of the company was the leading retail point-of-sale for finance deals for companies such as Dixons. We were taken over by Abbey National at the beginning of 1999. I became managing director of First National Tricity Finance and an executive director of First National's board. I stayed there until I moved to Kensington this summer.

 

What did you do before?

Basically, I have spent half my career in consultancy and half in financial services. I began working for Andersen Consulting after I left university. I was sent to Washington DC about three months later, which was a fantastic starting point in my career. After working in that industry for eight years, I realised I didn't want to be a career consultant and made the decision to move across to financial services. This area appealed because of the raft of changes that were occurring within the industry.

 

What qualifications do you have and are they relevant to your job?

I have eight O-levels and three A-levels and did a degree in engineering science at the University of Durham. I chose engineering because it was vocational and practical, and it taught me skills that have been very useful to me.

 

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

I wanted to do the usual stuff when I was younger, like be a footballer or pop star, or some- thing where I could earn as much money as possible doing as little work as possible.

 

Have there been any key moments in your career?

First National Tricity Finance was the first company I had ever run. Abbey National took the company over after it had had a difficult time and we managed to turn it around. I've been lucky to be involved in companies at important stages of their development, and joining KMC at this stage of its evolution is a great opportunity and challenge.

What does your present day-to-day role involve?

I'm responsible for setting direction and working with the management team to ensure that strategy is being implemented. I also have to work with key relations such as financiers and customers. However, in reality, I'm much more of a hands-on man than just doing that. Kensington is a fairly new company (it was established in 1995), so it's a matter of getting your sleeves rolled up and working with and progressing certain opportunities. I have spent a lot of time working on our flotation, the timing of which is going well.

 

What advice would you give to people starting out in this industry?

The days of working your way up from branch level have largely gone. I would recommend either trying for a graduate training scheme or starting off in a smaller company that will give you broader exposure than if you begin your career in a large institution. It is very different now and there are many more opportunities available.

 

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known then?

I've learnt the benefits of working with a good, motivated team. Leadership is about building a good team and not about whether or not you perform the best. Also, keep learning. Everyone has the opportunity to learn more, whatever stage of their career they're at; once you've reached a certain milestone, move on to the next.

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