Welcome to this edition of Personal Profile and we are very thrilled this issue to have Stuart Maxwell Foulkes as our guest. Stuart might be a name you have noticed as he has already become quite an integral part of the magazine with his interesting and informative articles in our Property Report.
We thought it was about time to let you get to know Stuart a little more and find out about his life and work in Thailand.
Stuart, please tell us where you are originally from and when you came to Thailand?
I come from a little village just outside of Plymouth in the South West of England. The region is also home for Ivor Dewdney Pasties, Plymouth Gin and of course, the famous Devonshire Cream Tea, which consists of Scones, Clotted Cream with Strawberry Jam, alongside a Pot of Tea which must come with a cup and Saucer. I moved to Thailand back in January 2010.
Where are you now based?
That’s a good question. Both Bangkok & Jomtien see a lot of me, though the main residence let’s say, is in Jomtien on the Eastern Seaboard.
What is it you actually do?
Matrix time is passed, by helping both Foreigner and Thai obtain finance, with property or land as collateral. Whether in Bangkok, Jomtien, Phuket, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai or Koh Samui etc. Finance can be both made and closed, with relative ease. Property inspections, marketing and managing client expectations, form the largest part of work.
Where did you gain all this experience?
Previous to Thailand, I had moved within a top 5 UK bank over a span of almost 10 years of which 8, were spent offshore between Isle of Man, Jersey and finally Hong Kong. None of which could have prepared me for how to get things done in Thailand! It did however provide a “solid background” for opening new doors to gain local Thai style experiences.
Thailand has had much bad press about foreigners owning property, how do you feel that what you’re doing is something to change that?
Being positive minded, I tend to miss any negative news and focus on moving forward. Corruption might appear evident for any newsworthy stories though also depends on what you are looking for and what frame of mind you are in. I believe for every wrong doing, there is an equal good thing happening somewhere, it just doesn’t make the news as won’t sell headlines. Offering finance to foreigners means we do Lender Due Diligence, which at-least is something to check legalities and formalities when using our services.
Where do you feel that many foreigners go wrong?
Going with the flow, having patience and not expecting anything to go in a straight line is useful. The lifestyle of Thailand is more relaxed, the sun is out, the sea is warm and has blue sky above the palm trees. For many, to come from a direct, professional environment where logic and speed comes as a standard, it will be difficult unless can understand things work differently here and adapt.
The Property Market in Thailand is still a good investment? Would you agree?
As a lender offering finance to all would be buyers, yes, it’s a great investment, the more the merrier and you know where to come for finance.
For someone looking for a property whether as an investment or home what would you advise?
Do your own research, trust only a few and always do due diligence. There are dream properties around with some at only a fraction of what it would cost “back home”, though could turn into a nightmare if not properly done. As a lender, we carry out our own due diligence before we lend on anything, so certainly if you are mortgaging with us, a little comfort could be taken in the fact we are not going to hand over any cash unless, we were secure in the collateral. We also have a pre-approved list of condo’s which means we are fine for that project.
When you eventually finish working and retire, where will you settle?
I always fancied a little beach cafe with decent music, overlooking turquoise waters, underneath a blue sky and bright sun on a relatively small island which is connected to the outside world, but not too much connected… Guess that would-be Koh Samui then! I do however miss my parents and UK family loads, so could quite easily be tempted back to the little village back home, where I have strong fond memories.
Last but not least, do you think that Cryptocur-rency has a good future in Thailand or Asian?
Traditional banking feels more and more dated now Cryptocurrency has come along. Whether Crypto is the ultimate Ponzi scheme OR, is the future of money, is yet to be told. Being able to send a coin which has some kind of perceived value from Thailand, to Australia, to UK, to Japan, to Dubai or even in theory from planet to planet, in just a matter of seconds at a fraction of cost is surely a good thing… Having the option to either transact publicly or privately is surely a good thing when doing business… For now, I see the cash based countries making rapid strides into Crypto more than traditional western style bank orientated countries. A future of Crypto and 50% less banks in 5 years wouldn’t surprise me.
Stuart M. Foulkes
Expat Team Head / Credit Analyst
MBK Guarantee Company Limited
444 12th Fl. MBK Tower, Phayathai Rd.,
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Mobile +66 (0) 81278 5382
Fax: +66 (0) 2620 7879
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