Career Path: Setting a benchmark

See how Scottish Pacific CEO Peter Langham climbed the ladder

1980: Trains in accounting

Peter Langham trained in the UK as an accountant in public practice, preparing accounts and audits for small businesses. Over the years he worked within the debtor finance industry in credit and international trade and sales, progressing in 1988 to head of sales at Kellock, a bank-owned debtor finance company.

“I developed a healthy respect for business owners who put it all on the line and never stopped working. I wanted to be able to really help them and not just tell them something based on historical numbers.”

1992: Builds strong relationships

Langham moved from the UK to Perth to join Scottish Paci­fic as its state manager, a sales and relationship role with administrative work carried out in Sydney. At that time, Scottish Paci­fic had no introducer base and managed only a handful of clients. Being away from the eastern states was a good thing for Langham because Scottish Paci­fic Perth could market and sell in a way it felt would work, instead of following someone else’s formula.

“By getting to know many accountants and finance brokers in WA, educating them on funding products and building strong relationships with clients, we grew the client base and developed a full operating centre in the Perth CBD.”

1997: Broadens product knowledge

As the regional head of debtor ­finance at AGC, Langham further developed the company’s invoice finance business.

“Here I learned more about a wider range of lending products.”

1998: Creates a benchmark

Feeling that Perth businesses weren’t getting the best support, Langham launched Benchmark Debtor Finance (BDF). Initially aimed at helping WA businesses, BDF expanded and set up offices in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide over seven years. The business re­financed ­five times and carried out several capital raisings.

“I had to develop the business plan, forecasts, investment papers, policy and procedures and legal documents, along with ­finding investors and funding lines. This was a period when I learned how hard it is to be a business owner and how lonely. My already high regard for business owners grew tenfold.”

2005: Acquires Scottish pacific

The management and remaining stakeholders of BDF stayed on after the business was acquired by a consortium of Sydney businesses. In 2007, BDF then purchased Scottish Paci­fic from St. George Bank. Following the acquisition of three debtor ­finance businesses, Scottish Paci­fic became a public company on the ASX in 2016. Today, Scottish Paci­fic Business Finance, having been acquired by Affinity Partners in December 2018, is a private company with some 300 staff that lends over $1.3bn and handles $17bn in sales annually.

“We have learned to change our structure, and our leadership team adapts as the business grows and changes.”

2019 and beyond: Seeks innovative solutions

Given the long and successful history of Scottish Paci­fic Business Finance, Langham and his team have a broad understanding of SMEs and business owners. Their knowledge guides them as they search for new and innovative ways to help business owners grow more successful.

“The large and successful network of broker introducers we have built up over 30 years is an integral part of this success. Many of these brokers have become friends to me and to many of our staff.”

“Through this journey, what we have been able to achieve is to keep clients and business owners at the heart of what we do. We have added solutions to meet the needs of Australian and New Zealand businesses”