10 Questions with... Ian Broadbent, Managing Director of Blue Sky Mortgages

10 Questions with... Ian Broadbent, Managing Director of Blue Sky Mortgages



From Orwell to brothels, being a bum and hating politicians, to running naked in the sea...

Dawn Murden speaks to Ian Broadbent


1. When did you start working in financial services and where were you before that?

I started working in financial service about twenty-two years ago, in 1988, but it feels more like 1943! Before that I was a qualified roof truss designer, rather an about change!

B&C: Sounds glamorous, so how did you get into finance?

Unfortunately my father got involved in the business so it was sort of a natural progression really. To be honest I always hoped he would run brothels! I’m joking; it was because of my family connections, and I decided to start my own business.

B&C: Is it like your baby then?

Something like that – it has all the same growing pains, though I seem to recall making the real thing was more fun!

2. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Like most other young lads I would have loved to be a footballer, but after the quick realisation that I had two left feet it never could have worked!

B&C: What position did you play?

I played in a little Sunday league junior team, but I never knew where I was on the pitch. I suppose in theory I was in midfield. I am more business orientated than football-minded now, I know where I belong in business and I believe I have landed in the right place in the end.

3. What would you be doing now if you weren’t working as a lender?

I would love to be a bum living on a narrow boat sailing up and down the canals of the UK. We travelled the Pennines recently, near Manchester, and once you get out of the hustle and bustle of the cities it’s gorgeous. The whole activity of just relaxing, taking in the scenery, walking the dogs and opening and closing the locks is just marvellous. Mind you, on our last trip my 11 year-old-son managed to fall in whilst we were in a lock! He’d gone underwater twice before I hauled him out. It was very frightening, but it hasn’t put me off boating – just taking the children along!

4. What’s the best thing about your job?

Undoubtedly when a client is very happy with what you’ve done for them. When you have successfully arranged a deal for them and know that 99% of other lenders couldn’t have achieved the same. It’s the buzz of achieving something that I like the most.

B&C: And the worst thing?

The worst thing about the job is when we can’t help, when we don’t have the ability to do anything for the client. The market is in a different place to three years ago and unfortunately that means we can’t help as many as we would like.

However, I do think in these circumstances lenders can, at least, be more honest and simply say so at the outset, it’s the next best thing to being of help. We do have a sister company that does secured loans and mortgages, and often if we can’t help them on the bridging side we will talk with the introducer to see if they wish us to explore other products on their behalf. Ultimately we’re an introducer-driven business, they’re our clients.

Another thing that annoys me is the constant change in regulation. I don’t mind regulation and I’m happy to work with the authorities, but they keep fiddling and changing the rules and regulations. There is a real lack of stability, and we really need firm rules we can all work with.

5. What trends have you noticed within the bridging industry over the last 12 months?

There has definitely been a growth in the number of lenders around, but they’re all very much accumulating around a small area in the market which is larger, first charge, non-regulated contracts. This means there is a real void for clients who are looking for a contract that may be FSA or CCA regulated.

These changes are a benefit to us, as we look to fill those niches that other lenders aren’t supplying, but from a client’s perspective, the regulation is restricting opportunities to obtain suitable bridging finance – and this is a huge issue.

6. Who do you fancy off the telly?

The entire female cast of Spartacus ‘Blood and Sand’.

B&C: Looking blank

It’s a brand new series shown on Bravo and it’s absolutely fabulous. Get it on DVD, watch it on the internet, petition to the station for a re-showing, you have got to have see it!

B&C: So, why do you like it so much?

Well...it’s the historical perspective and the superb story line, nothing to do with the gorgeous and scantily dressed cast whatsoever, honest!

7. What’s your favourite film?

B&C: We have a real suspicion you are now going to say Gladiator…

Well then you’d be wrong. It’s actually Zulu. It stars Michael Caine and it’s historical, and I love history.

B&C: I think I’ve got that on an old VHS somewhere...

Well you’ve got to dig it out and dust it off, it’s brilliant. I’m a technophobe, so I love a good old VHS, forget Blu-ray.

8. If your life was a TV show what would it be?

Hmm... difficult question. I suppose it would have to be The Rise and Fall of Regginald Perrin.

B&C: Looks blank once again

The great Leonard Rossiter?

B&C: Still no bells ringing for this one

It was a programme from the 1970s and early 1980s about a chap who always did his best in life for his family and work, but got frustrated by others for always putting obstacles in the way. 

Eventually he decided to get rid of life altogether, so he walked into the sea, left all his clothes and belongings and faked a suicide. He then assumes various disguises and carries on living different lives. It would be a classic to anyone around the age of 30 plus.

B&C: Sorry, what about the walking into the sea bit?

I think we all have a dream of walking into another life and starting completely afresh, but I haven’t got enough guts to do that! 

9. What would you put in Room 101 if given the chance?

This is an easy question… Politicians – of all persuasions, of any description, local or national, I think the country would work ten times better without them.

The mess you see that they make of everything, constantly adding to rules and regulations, getting involved in areas they needn’t be involved in. Their general desire to control, it has gone beyond what is reasonable. I think we’re heading towards George Orwell’s… Do you know George Orwell?

B&C: Looking very proud. Yes, I have heard of 1984, and read it too!

Good, well I think he was spot on. We’re close to reaching that point. Did you know in our day-to-day lives we can get caught on as many as 60 or 70 cameras? There is a real lack of personal freedom.

10. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

Ian pauses for a long moment 

I couldn’t possibly tell you the honest answer to that question. The News of the World would be on my doorstep for two months, camped outside waiting to get a glimpse of me if I did reveal!

B&C: Feeling defeated. Can you balance a spoon on your nose? What about any tattoos? Or piercings perhaps?

I’m fairly transparent, but everyone has their dark secrets in the wardrobe! And no, I’m not saying any more, I will remain a man of mystery….


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