Follow Duncan Kreeger on Twitter
💼 How did you end up as a CEO? What was your route to this position?
I started my first company, a mail-order business, at the age of 17. I then moved on to become the founder and managing director of a short-term lending company.
After seven years, I went through the first business sale, then two years later, I sold it again and left the company. In 2018 I founded TAB, starting with bridging loans and development finance as our first product offering.
Since then, I have acquired a majority share in four other businesses, as well as established a brokerage, The Finance Company, and developed the TAB product offering to include TAB Property, fractional property ownership, and TAB Mortgages, a long-term commercial mortgage product with a focus on ESG.
💼 Why are you the right person to be the CEO of your company?
I am an experienced and accomplished entrepreneur with a proven track record of success in building and leading companies.
Since starting my open company at 17, I have built and sold a £120m valuation business, managed over £400m of private capital, completed over £2bn worth of secured loans, and managed a team of over 100 staff.
Throughout my career, I have started several businesses, invested in startups across multiple sectors, and successfully turned around underperforming companies, almost all of which have been successful.
Interestingly, you learn as much from those experiences that don’t go as well as you do from the big wins.
Different skills are required to start, run, grow, and exit companies, and I am pleased to say I have positive experiences in all of these vital elements. I have a strong input in all of the key departments, including finance, where I am involved in budgeting, managing monthly P&L and balance sheets, reporting, and tax.
I am passionate about marketing and dedicated to presenting the business in the best possible light. I believe in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. Adopting it and seeking new ways to innovate is a key part of the strategy.
ESG is important for any business leader as we all bear responsibility. HR and culture form part of this, and I am committed to making the businesses I am involved with a welcoming place for all types of people to thrive in.
I’m always looking to move with the times and respond to our customer’s needs at any given time. I am currently CEO of the mortgage lender, TAB, and future plans for the business include developing and further enhancing our lending products to benefit our customers.
I have a clear vision for the company’s future and am committed to fostering a positive work culture.
💼 What gets you up in the morning?
As a parent, my three boys are my top priority. I work hard to spend as much quality time with them as I can and provide for their needs so that they can fully enjoy the journey of life.
Through my experiences, I have learned the importance of being present and savouring the journey rather than solely focusing on the destination.
I’ve trained myself to do the same thing every morning. I wake up and tell myself that it’s going to be a great day, and I’m sure that this paves the way for it. I follow some basic rules that set me up to win.
Too many people’s first thought is to worry about the negatives. If you wake up with the mindset that you’re going to have a great day, then you probably will. It doesn’t take much to remind yourself that you can overcome any personal or business challenges that inevitably lie ahead.
Don’t let the first sign of bad news or something tricky to deal with steer you off target. If you say it, believe it, or even post it on social media, then you can hold yourself accountable. This works incredibly well for me and has become automatic.
A little trick: my 5:15 am alarm says, ‘It’s going to be an amazing day today,’ and that’s the first thing I see in the morning.
💼 Who helped you get to where you are today?
My father, David, never suggested that I couldn’t achieve my grand plans. He gave me a place to work where I was able to think big, along with ensuring that I got the basics right and teaching me the power to challenge the status quo.
I remember clearly when he sent me down to NatWest Bank (situated below our office) to ask them to remove some charges from my statement. Before this point, I (wrongly) thought negotiating with a bank was not something one did.
To my surprise, the bank person immediately removed my charges and thanked me for coming in. This was a ‘light bulb’ moment. Since then, I have learned to always ask, and now I take this to a new level.
I almost never accept a no for something I deem to be reasonable. I would also point to my long-term business partner and school friend Stephen Wasserman. Throughout my career, he has been a constant sounding board and one of the few people that openly challenges me.
Having someone like this whose opinion you truly value keeps you honest and highlights the pitfalls and shortcomings. Stephen has certainly helped me to get to where I am today and will no doubt continue to do so.
💼 What is the best or worst business advice you have received, and from whom?
Surround yourself with good and positive people (courtesy of my Uncle Martin, 2005). I was looking for some real advice in order to assist me with a new business idea.
I thought it was extremely unhelpful at the time, but it was the best he had to offer. Many years later, I remembered him saying it to me, and year after year, this has been reinforced.
This means making sure that you spend your time with family, friends, and colleagues that make you feel happy and motivated.
Block out those that make you feel less worthy or those that are always complaining or telling you what you can’t achieve.
It may sound simple, but throughout life, I have found that good people will build you up and make you better. If you play golf with a beginner, you are likely to have a poor round. If you play with a pro, I’m convinced you will have the round of your life.
💼 If you could go back in time to when you were a teenager, what life advice would you give yourself?
Firstly, don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do something. Be bold and be fair, and your word is your bond.
💼 What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader?
Be firm but fair, and listen at least as much as you speak. If you empower others to learn and grow, they will assist you on your path to success. Recruit people that are better than you in the area where you need help. Be prepared to pivot, and never be afraid to fail.
💼 How can a leader fail?
There are a number of different ways, but an obvious example is not asking for help when you need it. No one can do it all by themselves. I also think being greedy is a terrible trait, and therefore you need to make things fair and equitable for everyone.
💼 What do the next five years hold for you?
I have extremely grand plans to continue disrupting the loan and property arena. I am convinced that the old way of buying and selling property is broken, and I have set myself a goal to improve all the things that I feel simply don’t make sense anymore.
By continuing to build this amazing company and building up trust, I believe that I will have a much greater chance of fulfilling my dreams. I am incredibly motivated to have a positive impact on the areas I can affect. It starts with me being more conscious of the impact of my actions.
Taking this further, I wish to upskill myself and the businesses I am involved with and continue to improve in all areas of my work and my life. There is no doubt that TAB does a fantastic job when it comes to having an all-around positive impact, and I see this increasing many folds.
Watch this space for new tech advancements, product launches, acquisitions, and reforming the way we buy, hold, and sell real estate all around the world!
💼 Mentorship is a big business in the West. Do you have any experience with it?
I am asked for help often, and I always try to make time for anyone who wants my advice. I don’t intend on making this anything more than a hobby, but as the saying goes – my door is always open.
💼 If people want to reach out to you or your business, what is the best way for them to go about doing that?
We want to make sure you have the right support for you. Whether it’s a current deal, an inquiry, or your investor account, you can speak to one of our team members from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Call us: 0208 057 9070 Email us: [email protected]
Follow TAB on LinkedIn and Twitter