AOBP's panoramic view of bridging finance

AOBP's panoramic view of bridging finance



The Association of Bridging Professionals (AOBP) has seen incredible growth in its first year. Self-proclaimed as the only industry Association which truly represents bridging finance as a whole, the concept appears to have gained traction. 




Its unique inclusion of the different areas of the market is defined by membership tiers, which have each seen a substantial increase in numbers. 




With 16 lenders, four of which joined in the last week alone, over 350 brokers, 20 specialist distributors and 15 professional service experts, the AOBP is a force, similar to that of a network, to be reckoned with.




Last Thursday, the AGM and first birthday celebration was held at Altitude 360° on the 29th floor of the Millbank Tower. Fortunately lovely weather afforded panoramic views across London, the perfect backdrop for the morning event.  Affiliate Lenders were among the first to arrive, followed by brokers, valuers, solicitors and packagers. It proved a good opportunity for those who had not seen one another for a while to catch up, but more importantly for new connections to be made.




Those who have been a part of the AOBP for the full year since inception had the pleasure of taking in this measure of growth and meeting the members who have taken it to these new heights. Those in the room appeared to share important ideals, coupled with appetite and enthusiasm and a genuine desire to contribute to the industry’s ongoing success.




The presentation session was opened by newly appointed Chairman, Jonathan Newman, Senior Partner at Brightstone Law. He emphasized the role of the AOBP as a forum for the exchange of ideas and initiatives and highlighted a few key areas, including published documentation and FSA liaison, in which the Association has made great strides.




Gill Hall of Aztec Property Valuers, Alan Margolis of United Trust Bank, John Phillips on behalf of the NACFB, Miranda Khadr of MK Associates and Andrew Bloom of Masthaven all took their place at the lectern as members of the Association and ambassadors for their particular sectors. 




According to attendees, the two presentations which impressed them the most were by Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Dragonfly Property Finance, and Ray Cohen, compliance expert with Jackson Cohen, who spoke of the impending EU directives and Financial Sanctions. 




Nick Sneddon of ALT-FS Bridging said: “I thought the day was really good and very informative. The key highlight today was Jonathan’s presentation that touched on the bear market. He was very engaging and hit all the right notes, especially in terms of what should be done in gearing up to the change in regulation.”




Robbie Paterson, a surveyor at Levene Surveyors and Valuers commented: “I thought Jonathan’s presentation with his data and the perspective of the future, which included finding out Dragonfly’s point of view, was really good. It was interesting for us today as surveyors to understand more about what’s going on in the bridging sector and which issues are key to brokers at the moment.”




Anil Patel, Director of INJ Dynamics, agreed: “We’re a regulated member of NACFB. I thought today was brilliant. It was a great venue and all the speeches today were varied and extremely informative, in particular Dragonfly’s and the presentation covering compliance.”




After the talks, guests locked dates down in diaries, grabbed some promotional goodies and ate birthday cake made by AOBP secretary, Tina Patel.  It was considered a successful event in terms of turn-out, quality of presentation, venue and atmosphere. 




Gary Hoffman, of Strategic Economic Planning, became a member three months ago and did a fine job of summing up the occasion: “I thought today was really nice. It was a great venue, time of day and views. I thought the amount of people who attended today was a very good number. It was ideal for networking and I’ve met so many people today that I hope to be in touch with in the very near future.




“I think the AOBP is great branding and has a good code of ethics. It helps to counter the average retailer’s perception of bridging.”




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