New association launches for bridging sector and promises to 'unite' industry

New association launches for bridging sector and promises to 'unite' industry


A new association has been launched that promises to unite ‘bridging professionals’ by acting as a trade body for the short term finance industry.

The Association of Bridging Professionals (AOBP) launches today, and is the brainchild of a collection of industry figures, including bridging consultant and new chairman, Sidney Cohen.

Commenting on AOBP’s origins, Mr Cohen said:  “Every now and then an idea comes to you that is so simple, yet so valuable, that it leaves you thinking, ‘Why didn’t I come up with that sooner?’

“AOBP is such an idea. Its launch will see a huge benefit to both introducers and bridging lenders. I say this because bridging finance is perhaps the only, truly bespoke loan facility available.”

In a statement released by AOBP, the association says it aims to: “Promote a better operating environment in the bridging finance sector, whilst providing essential information and industry analysis.”

AOBP has an executive committee of nine members which include: Sidney Cohen, consultant and AOBP chairman, Lucy Barrett of W&B Mortgage Solutions, Ray Cohen, compliance expert, Miranda Khadr of M K Associates, Jonathan Newman of Brightstone Law, James Rainbird of Pink Pig Loans, Craig Scott of Commercial 1, Danny Waters of Enterprise Finance and Alun Winter of Intelligent Loans. 

There are main three types of membership available within AOBP; the Blue Level, Silver Level and the Affiliate Membership.

The Blue Level Associate Membership, aimed at the advisor, provides an associate membership, and promises the following benefits; access to special deals within AOBP, use of AOBP’s logo on company correspondence, attendance to the AGM and a monthly newsletter.

The fee is £20 and only FSA regulated or CCL holding advisors may apply. Commenting on AOBP’s decision to price membership at £20, Lucy Barrett, director of W&B Mortgage Solutions, said:  “The idea is to include as many brokers as possible who are involved in bridging, and the more brokers that join, the more we can demonstrate willingness to keep the sector free from the issues which arise from no regulation at all. 

“We see no reason why even those transacting little bridging business can’t join, and take advantage of the resources within the association provided they are happy to agree to the code of conduct.”

The Silver Level Associate Membership is aimed more at master brokers and packagers – although it is open to independent advisors too. It provides the same benefits, plus access to quarterly meetings where the member can submit issues for address and discussion.

It also offers preferential rates on AOBP marketing and access to the silver tier logo. The annual fee is £240.

The Affiliate Membership is: “Specifically targeted at those who work within the bridging industry, outside of an advisory role, such as solicitors and compliance experts.”

AOBP has included the membership to provide, “an opportunity for those who serve the industry to have their voices heard.”

The annual fee is also £240 and the benefits are similar to those of the Silver Membership.

Executive Committee Member, Jonathan Newman of Brightstone Law, spoke of the association’s intent to promote better awareness of regulations, he said: “I have provided legal services in the bridging industry for many years.

“Lenders have only recently woken up to the need to pool knowledge and information to form a better understanding of the legal and regulatory framework in which they operate.”

Adam Tyler, Chief Executive of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, says: “The NACFB welcome any addition to an unregulated market where brokers can seek advice and help on arranging short term finance.

“We are happy to have been in the initial consultation and to continue to provide ongoing advice. It will provide assistance in this sector, as we strive to see well presented clean “deals” coming from this section of the broker community thanks to the help of AOBP.”

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