Page 65 - Bridging & Commercial Magazine Issue 5
P. 65

 “Why should we try to grow the market? It’s a supply-and- demand thing. You know, if there’s more demand from borrowers than there are brokers, there will be more brokers” the number crunching and the analytics about asset and type, you’re then on to: who are their lawyers? Which valuers are they going to use? CS: (to Liz) So, speaking from the point of view of running the Connect Academy in which you are seeing people go through the practical, workable knowledge and also graduates and people outside the industry come in, what would you say is the biggest stumbling block or the hardest part of this transition into specialist finance that you’ve witnessed? Is it the structuring or is there more to it? LS: Yes, partly because there is such a lot of choice \[when it comes to\] lenders. There’s a large amount of criteria. We give our academy attendees access to things such as Twenty7Tec, Knowledge Bank and so on, but when you start to talk to them about how they research some of the real detail around bridging and commercial... It’s about teaching them ... how to build relationships, get to know lenders, understand their product offering— because none of those lenders actually have a very black-and-white product \[set\] and that’s the problem with the systems. You’ve got to get all of those ducks in a row. It’s about encouraging them to spend as much time as possible—we get lenders that come on the course and talk about those things—post-course \[making\] contact with those lenders, \[getting to know them\], \[and\] to have them come in regularly into their offices so that they can continue that learning curve. LS: I absolutely do believe, from my own business perspective, that there is demand for more and more specialist brokers. Our business model is 75% specialist, 25% mainstream. For other businesses that I talk to—not yourself obviously, Chris—it’s the other way around. But I’ve seen other brokers \[and\] networks say, ‘Hang on a minute, where’s the market going to be in the next five, 10 years for your traditional residential remortgage? It’s probably going to be a much more electronic process because that can happen with some of those more basic products. But when you look at the specialist market and all the complications we’ve just been talking about—not complications, but the analytical part, the understanding of the lenders’ products, the relationships and so on—that’s not very easy to replicate in a system. Therefore, that creates an opportunity for advisers who are currently very competent \[in\] the mainstream market to actually give longevity to their businesses by also becoming more and more involved in the specialist markets. CW: I think I probably agree slightly on that, only because we do slightly different things. LS: We do, yeah. CW: From my perspective, why should we try to grow the market? It’s a supply- and-demand thing. You know, if there’s more demand from borrowers than there are brokers, there will be more brokers. I don’t necessarily feel we need to just go to someone and say, ‘Look, 80% of your business is regulated mainstream, you’re doing it with the high street names, but actually we can help you to go into that specialist space.’ Which is what Connect does and is very good at. But from my, I guess, selfish perspective, that’s not something I particularly want to happen. LS: He doesn’t want me taking on more advisers that are more competition, basically. (laughter) CS: Who’s responsible, ultimately, for an overheated market? Because some of the practices that we’re seeing from lenders, let’s say, could be as a result of them not being able to get money out of the door fast enough, \[a case of\] not having enough advisers out there to help borrowers, especially because it’s such an intermediated product. So, there might be borrowers out there, but there aren’t enough advisers for them \[and\] that is having an effect on practices, from a Interview   CW: All of the things that Liz has just said. . . You’ve not just got to be able to them, you’ve got to enjoy doing them. LS: Yeah, I agree. do CW: ... I think that’s where we see some very competent bankers come in as brokers and then after a few months just decide, ‘ You know what? I’m just not enjoying this. I’m outside my comfort space. I’m going back to what I know.’ You’ve got to enjoy going out talking to people; you’ve got to have fun broking a deal, which is why I choose to work with Enness and not my own brokerage or on my own—it’s fun broking the deals. I am not someone that enjoys running a business per se; I enjoy broking. CS: Would you both agree that we need to grow the broker side of the market for distribution purposes, given that there’s so much liquidity out there?  63  Sept/Oct 2019 

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