Successful entrepreneur and private debt specialist Hugh Wade-Jones, the owner of Tenn Capital and Enness, relocated from the United Kingdom.
Born in London and having built a highly successful brokerage business over 15 years, Hugh moved to the Principality three years ago with his family, just before lockdown. At the same time as his move from London, he founded an international bridging lender, Tenn Capital. Tenn has since grown rapidly to be one of the largest non-bank real estate lenders in the UK and Channel Islands.
How did you start in business?
“From an early age, my dad instilled in me the mantra that you don’t get rich working for anyone else, so after a few years working for a large PLC post-university, it was a natural step at 26 to start my own shop with my business partner, Islay. We founded Enness in 2007 in a tiny two-person office with the help of a £30,000 unsecured overdraft and a pocket full of credit cards. Little did we know that a week later, there would be a banking run on Northern Rock which signalled the start of the credit crunch in the UK, and all hell broke loose.”
Despite the precarious start, Enness is one of the world’s leading high-value debt advisory firms with offices globally.
“We broker finance that spans residential and commercial property, corporate finance, securities-backed lending, private debt and luxury asset finance.”
Tell us about Tenn Capital.
“I founded Tenn Capital in 2020, again with Islay. Tenn is backed by Eliott Advisers – one of the oldest and most respected investment managers in the world. The challenging economic climate through COVID and since has simply turbocharged the business. Tenn is headquartered in Guernsey but we also have offices in Jersey and Gibraltar.”
What’s the best thing about running a business from Monaco?
“It’s got to be that you’re surrounded by an interesting and diverse community. I think the fact that 90% of people here are foreigners means Monaco is unique in the sense that it’s the perfect melting pot for a truly global cross-section of people.
Whilst Monaco could be considered ‘old school’ on the one hand, on the other when you are based here, it can be very forward-thinking, and the people that live here are the same. I’d say residents want to move quickly to get things done, want to take advantage of opportunities and are ambitious for themselves, their businesses and their families.”
How would you compare London to Monaco?
“London is a great city and one I love, but increasingly, it is hard to do business and is more of a service centre than a place where like-minded business people meet and create business. This is where Monaco has become so powerful in my opinion.”
How do you see the lending market currently?
“In macro terms, there are less deals being done as the cost of borrowing is higher and lenders are being pickier. Its not the perfect mix. That said there is huge opportunity in all markets currently and activity levels for ‘best in class’ assets is strong – you can see this in the Monaco property market, for example.
A prominent lending trend that we are starting to see across the board – be it for property, stocks and shares, corporate finance or luxury assets such as planes and boats – is that banks are retreating, and this gap is being filled by non-bank lenders. This can include hedge funds, family offices and private debt specialists to name a few. Their capital is more flexible, aggressive and can move quicker. It’s not for everyone, but certainly is not a trend that will abate given the traditional lending channels will continue to act more cautiously and the cost of capital increases.”
Where are your go-to places in Monaco?
“I start most days at Thermes so after using the gym you can find me between the sauna and ice bath. I’ve also started to cycle since I have been down in Monaco but I am a bit of a fair-weather cyclist, so the bike gets dusted off in May and goes to the back of the garage with the first sign of a cloud in October!
Socially, my go-to lunch spot is Gaia for some great seafood and people-watching, and dinner wise Cantinetta or Maya Bay. That said, while I like to zoom around during the day, I increasingly keep my head down in the evening, so you’ll probably find me walking the dog around Fontvieille.”
Your businesses are international. Do you travel a lot?
“Between the businesses, I have offices in six different countries, so I am always on the move. London was home for 39 years and is an amazing city and still has an incredible buzz, so I get over as often as I can.
I also travel to Guernsey regularly where Tenn is based, to give direction into how the business is running and see the team. Because I also have offices in Jersey, I can often be found on the tiny Blue Islands Airline planes hopping between the two islands. I find the Channel Islands great fun, and despite booming property markets, they are massively underserviced from a lending perspective. It was my aim when I started Tenn that we become the biggest lender in the Channel Islands, and we are rapidly closing in on that accolade.”
And where do you spend your quality, holiday times?
“Holiday-wise, I am a Dubai addict. The weather is good, and I can completely switch off (or at least I can for the first 3-4 hours of the day until the UK and Europe wake up). My last family holiday was to New York, which I found great fun but exhausting. I think I have become accustomed to the pace of life in Monaco, and playing dodgems in the streets of Manhattan isn’t my idea of a break.”