Trust in JJC Capital Partners.

Ian Comaskey, who purchased JJC in July 2022.

Equity Release.

Our clients trust me. I’ve never stolen a thing in my life. The clients who deal with me or deal with any of my various collaborators and employees always have, and always will, get the best deals for their needs.  

I trusted my team members. 

We’ve been in business since 2002 and (helping to inflate my ego even more) I often tell my clients that I wouldn’t have ever sold 365 million euro worth of Spanish property had my clients, collaborators, and employees not trusted me. It feels good. I don’t have to lie or steal. 

Trust, as some vague idea is fine, but really our clients need proof. Who can I trust in Spain? People need proof of who they can put their faith in. Our clients will judge who to trust in such a cut-throat business once they have seen all the facts and figures. 

We trust that the food at the local cafe will be fresh and edible. We trust that the doctor, dentist, vet or accountant knows what she is doing. So, what do we do when that trust is violated? It puts any relationship at risk but even more in a sector such as equity release. In this business you are not selling fax machines that may or may not work; you’re playing with people’s life savings and even their futures. 

I always think that my employees in the law office, in my real estate company and in my equity release business are capable of performing to the best of their abilities. We don’t ask them to do anything they don’t understand. I wrote procedures, put systems in place, and introduced them to the key people and it should have worked. I always believed that employees would perform better if I showed them how to operate, told them what my values and principles are and then let them get on with it. It appears not. Maybe I should have been keeping a closer eye. 

One point; if everyone you work with tells you that you need to cut all ties with an employee, it is important to stop feeling sorry for him. When you first find out that he has lied to you, that is the time to block his calls and just pay him off. 

We instinctively know that trust is a good thing, but there are more concrete reasons why trust matters to a company like JJC Capital Partners. 

Zero Trust equals zero clients. 

If our clients know an employee has done something unethical (and probably illegal due to GDPR laws) like trying to get them to move to his new firm then how can they trust that organisation again? We are lucky in JJC that our clients know who we are, we still have those 20 years of ego-inflating success, but still, the client surely has doubts. 

Poor Judgement.

What does it say about our judgement? If we hired staff or got into business with people that are untrustworthy, does that make JJC Capital untrustworthy? If our clients can see an employee of ours taking shortcuts, do they think that this is the norm here? If they see evidence showing that a team member has stolen, will they ever believe in that company again? Maybe it is just the individual’s reputation that is ruined. We’ll know soon enough. 

Options. 

Clients have options in the equity release market. It is true that the only other company offering English-speaking Equity Release all over Spain is a spin-off of JJC Capital partners. What are the alternatives? Clients can talk to high street banks, find private lenders, do deals with family members, downsize and more. We don’t pretend we are the only show in town and if another firm tells you that they are the best alternative for you, without being able to prove it, you should be careful of them. 

Happy JJC clients. 

81% of clients across all sectors, said that they must trust a brand before they deal with them. This week has been tough on me personally. Imagine having “team members” calling your clients and telling them not to deal with your own company. 

“Don’t buy from us, buy from me”. 

Just think about it. 

I find myself asking, has this really happened?

Can this be true? Is there a way for that brand ever to recover? We spend a lot of money on marketing, tech, developing the business model etc but what use is it if the brand is sabotaged? What does a long-drawn-out legal case do for those involved? Apple recovered, and so did Texaco. Barings Bank and the South Sea Company famously did not. We could try to brush this under the carpet, but we must do the right thing or we will never get any lost trust back. Worse still those people will be out in the market and who knows who is next on their rip-off list? I think the court of public opinion will not judge these people kindly. 

Reputation matters to me, personally and in my various businesses. I cannot be involved in an activity in Spain that forms a bad reputation. Luckily, we have lots of credit in the bank and we now need to draw on it while we wait for the situation to be resolved legally. 

We feel that one of the best ways to re-establish trust with our customers is first to cut all ties with anyone our clients no longer can put faith in. That has already been done. Most of our customers already know what is right and what is wrong even in a business as delicate as Equity Release. We always wanted our clients to believe that they can put their faith in us by cultivating the best client experiences. This was my policy back in the early days of 2002. Receiving a call or an email to tell them to no longer work with us must sound bizarre to the good and decent clients we have. 

I spent so much time encouraging my now ex-staff to provide better service. I tried to help him, not because I’m a genius but because I know what works. We run a law office here in La Zenia so we know how much listening means to our clients, especially those who are not originally from Spain. I wanted us to deliver customer service worth remembering. 

Most business owners know that building a successful business takes time, effort, and persistence. Short cuts do not help, despite looking in the very short term like they have taken a step forward. The core of a company like JJC Capital partners is the ability to establish trust with our customers. Once that is broken, we take two steps back. 

We don’t know what the future holds for JJC but what I can promise, and I mean that it’s a promise, you will not be forced to deal with anyone who is treating you for a fool. None of us will have to do that.

Will anyone ever trust this firm again, considering the activities of the past number of months? Will we all be tarred with the same brush? 

Time will tell. By the time there is any “officially resolution”, it may be too late. 

 

In the meantime, we will be 100% focused on the client, as we always should have been. No more stealing will happen here. I’m still in shock this has happened, but maybe something good will come from it. 

 

Ian Comaskey 

 

P.S. J, what is the quote again I shared with you? 

Even if you hear a bad story about me, understand, there was a time I was good to those people too, but they won’t tell you that.” 

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