AOBP update: Association enters third year

 The appointment of a new Association of Bridging Professionals (AOBP) Executive Committee on 1st October has rounded off a flurry of recent activity, coinciding with the trade body’s upcoming second anniversary.

Four new representatives and their firms have taken seats on the Association’s board: Wayne Smethurst of The Finance Centre, Russell Martin of Finance 4 Business, Mike Hue of Embassy Financial Services and Graham Allen of Commercial Money Matters.

The new additions join the four existing packager members of the Executive Committee, namely Miranda Khadr of MK Associates, Andre Bartlett of SPF Private Clients, Rob Jupp of Brightstar Financial and Simon Juniper of Only Bridging.

They – along with retained members Ray Cohen, compliance expert, non-Executive Director Sidney Cohen and on-going Chairman Jonathan Newman – make up an 11-strong committee which will take the Association into its third year.

The new line-up is in place in time for the Association’s second Annual General Meeting, due to take place on the 25th October at panoramic venue Altitude 360° in London’s Millbank Tower, where members and affiliated partners are invited to join the Committee for breakfast, presentations and a catch-up from a height of 387 feet.

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Associate bridging lender Dragonfly Property Finance, will head up presentations by a host of industry speakers, including representatives from Seddons Solicitors, Levene Chartered Surveyors and most recent AOBP Associate Lender member Portman Finance.

These announcements come after a successful week on tour during September, when the AOBP Roadshow visited Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Southampton. 

During the Roadshow, Associate Lenders addressed broker attendees from across the country, opening a forum to debate issues ranging from the basics of bridging and development finance through to more specialist advice, such as how to present a deal to a lender in order to maximise completions.

Those attending had a chance to discuss the workings of the AOBP, including the Association’s role in the bridging sector’s self-regulation and the implementation of recommended panels – of, for example, solicitors - for brokers to suggest to their clients. 

David Penny, Managing Director at packager Bridging Solutions, attended the Roadshow in Southampton. He said: “The sessions provided a great opportunity to put names to faces, and meet many of the bridging professionals I’ve dealt with recently.” 

Chris Davidson, Lead Commercial Broker at Sheridan Financial Services, attended the Bristol leg of the Roadshow. He said: “We heard from two lenders, West One Loans and Bridgebank Capital, who were both very informative in alerting us to the practical applications of bridging finance. Keir Morris’ interactive ‘red or green’ presentation was a particularly interesting and practical way of assessing potential bridging deals.

“Though I’ve been in commercial finance for years, I’m new to bridging, and have concluded after the Roadshow that it’s a worthwhile avenue to follow. I now have a better understanding of what lenders are after from a bridging deal and can change my mind-set appropriately: rather than presenting an unprepared deal to a lender, I can start to think like one of them when assessing it.”

Brokers who were present also undertook a survey, allowing them to voice the changes they would like to see from lenders and the short term market as a whole. 

The survey found that over 40 per cent of attendees believe that they could triple the short term business they currently write as a result of attending the Roadshow.

The results also showed that 24 per cent of brokers considered the cost of bridging finance to be the main obstacle to placing successful deals and almost half added that the real issue is a lack of lending available outside of the M25; such feedback from attendees and the discussions that followed have ultimately highlighted lenders’ awareness of investment possibilities outside of London.