With a twenty-seven year career in investment banking, it’s probably a given that Diksesh Patel is good with numbers and has an eye for detail, attributes which certainly appear to be helping with the success of his latest property development projects. As a regular attendee at property events in London I’ve talked with Diksesh on various occasions and so I looked forward to learning more about his recent property investing activities when we met recently.
Diksesh has worked for some of the blue chip investment banking firms such as Credit Suisse, HSBC, Nomura and Lehman Brothers, but he told me his background initially was on the ‘tech’ side and he’d been on the trading systems floor in the early years but as he explains, working very long hours is not always sustainable.
“It required a lot of energy and quite regularly some long hours, sometimes eighty hours a week, but once you have children that is not an ideal scenario and so I then moved into credit and market risk and eventually into back office and finance.
“I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and two years ago, for the third time, I opted out of investment banking to focus on planning and development projects full-time. But property is something I have been doing in various ways for many years. Like many others I started out doing some smaller buy to lets and then some small refurbishment projects, often learning useful lessons along the way. With hindsight I should have stuck with property earlier and not gotten distracted with some other business ventures.
“Knowing what I know now, and knowing what I have achieved in recent years in property, I cannot see myself going back to The City as the evidence is clear to me that I have made the right decision. I initially got into the development side of property around five years ago while still working full time and started to build up a ‘head of steam’. I had got to that tipping point stage of being ‘too big to be small and too small to be big’, effectively working full-time on both and it was clear that something had to change. The choice was clear to either quit my job or cut right back on property investing.
“Property was the choice and in Spring 2017 I went into it on a full-time basis. Along with my partners we created a group of 14 HMO properties of various sizes including a 25-bed unit, which in itself was a real learning curve and these properties were all in Peterborough. The operational side of running a very big 25-bed HMO on an ongoing basis was not something I wanted to do, so that was sold onwards. You get a lot of tenant turnover with regular void periods and I felt there were better ways of leveraging my time to get better results.