Francis Smookler

A Conversation with Francis Smookler on Investment Banking

in Opinion

Francis Smookler was an investment banker from New York. Having been in this service line from 1997 to 2017, he is one of the most experienced professionals that can be found within this region. Smookler is guided by his dedication to providing high-quality services to those within his wide network of clients.

Another notable skill that causes many businessmen to turn to Francis Smookler is his ability to socialize and convert countless individuals into long-term customers. Moreover, he is known to be an outstanding golf player. This came as a part of his commitment to the sport since he was only 10 years old.

Smokler is a long-time supporter of Thoroughbred horse racing. The extent to which he is involved in this industry includes breeding, racing, as well as retiring Thoroughbred horses. This serves as a testament to the fact that this businessman’s persistence in pursuing his interests is beyond any temporary issues he might be facing. That is one of the most significant differences between Francis Smookler and hundreds of others who participate in the sector of commercial lending.

How often do you golf nowadays?

I usually do it on the weekends if the temperature allows it. See, in New York, most of the year is very unpredictable and immune to the weather forecast. In turn, a lot of my golfing sessions are impromptu and not scheduled ahead of time. I have also done some indoor golfing in the past as a part of my business routine for clients who come to meet with me.

Do you prefer watching your horses race or prefer golfing?

Well, those two are very different when it comes to the reasons I engage in them. First, I tend to golf whenever I am negotiating with a potential client or trying to get rid of some stress. Thoroughbred horse racing, on the other hand, is my go-to activity when I want to get a quick adrenaline spike. In the last few months, golfing has been more common.

Do you have some broad tips for people starting their own client network?

I obey a few rules that have kept me well organized thus far. First, establishing a network means creating a plan and a list of individuals one hopes to connect with. Then, reaching out to those individuals must appear seamless and not forced. It is essential to treat networking as an on-going investment into the future. Failing to do so can ruin relationships that would have been fruitful.

What are some things you wish you knew before you started?

The only thing that I wish I were prepared for a little better is the competition and how to deal with it. I used to be stuck in a mindset of being highly opposed to all of my rivals. When looking back, it was not the right way to go about conducting business.

Where do you see yourself at the end of the upcoming decade?

I do not like thinking about the distant future as it leaves little room to plan for the present. I think I will still be working as a lender who loves dedicating his weekends to fishing.

Do you see your industry changing with the development of technology?

Absolutely. Most changes are for the better, and I am happy that they are happening. For example, whenever I was first starting in the lending industry, the employees had to fill out an ocean of paperwork and calculate hundreds of numbers per client. As the software and programs developed, all of this has been streamlined and is now done with a few clicks. One thing I dislike is that technology sometimes fails. Whenever that happens, however, it fails on a much bigger scale than any individual employee ever could.

Did you have issues rebuilding your business after the economic crisis of 2008?

I would not say I had too many difficulties getting my businesses back on its feet. Did I notice a sudden drop in demand for my services? Sure. Thanks to a lot of long-term relationships that I have with my clients, however, most of them came to me to discuss the ways that they can get out of the economic downturn.

When you look at your industry now, where do you think it is headed?

It is tough to say. See, the laws are changing every day. We just had a major tax overhaul in the last three decades, and it is going to impact my sector as much as any other area of business. So, although I am not sure what commercial lending might look like twenty years from now, I can certainly guarantee that it will be a lot different than it is today. That will definitely help all the newcomers in this market as they will develop their area of expertise alongside the changing laws and policies.

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