Trade bodies - all steam ahead for brokers

Trade bodies - all steam ahead for brokers


We at Bridging & Commercial thought it would be a good time to get in touch with the Heads of some of the trade bodies for brokers and lenders to find out what they’ve been up to over the past year and to get their views on the industry in general in the current climate.


Adam Tyler, Chief Executive of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB):


November is always a very busy time for the NACFB and this year has proved no exceptions! The Association has been busy on a number of fronts within the last few months, so here is a brief outline of our activities.

As CEO of the NACFB, I have been particularly busy meeting a wide range of MPs to discuss the problems of funding for SMEs in the current climate. With the obvious problems in funding from mainstream lenders, it has become more important than ever to bring the range of alternative funders that the NACFB has on its panel. The NACFB has always lobbied hard on behalf of the commercial broker but with the raising of the Association’s profile over the last few years, we now have a particularly strong voice to lobby Government and making them understand the alternatives that are on offer to small businesses. This has led to a wide range of meetings with MPs, along with trips to all the political parties’ conferences and visits to Westminster along with representatives of a wide range of other trade bodies representing the vast range of SMEs in the UK.

To underline our commitment to helping to fund UK business, we have also undertaken a rebranding initiative with the aim of emphasising our role as an Association, in putting SMEs in contact with brokers and lenders that can help. This has always been a major part of the Association’s work but with businesses struggling to secure funding along mainstream lines, we want to ensure that the message is clear and that we are focusing more strongly than ever on this matter.

November is also traditionally the month in which we hold our AGM and Gala Dinner too, so the office has been frantically tying up the loose ends to what should be a very successful night. This year’s demand for the Gala Dinner has already outstripped last year’s, with around 520 guests attending. This is also coupled with the NACFB’s AGM which is a great opportunity for the membership to decide on the path taken for the coming year. In addition, we are also hosting the extremely popular Networking Lunch throughout the day, with over 40 exhibitors attending and a huge turnout from NACFB brokers. All in all, this promises to be a very busy but extremely worthwhile day.

On top of all this, the Association is also making preparatory arrangements for its 20th anniversary as being the trade body for commercial brokers. Next year will be a huge year for the Association and a great chance to look back at the achievements throughout the 20 years we have been around but perhaps more importantly, the range of challenges that lie ahead. The culmination of 2012 will be the 20th anniversary celebrations at the 2012 NACFB AGM and Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony but it is probably best to get this year’s event out of the way first!


Jonathan Newman, Chairman of the Association of Bridging Professionals (AOBP):


The AOBP is a pan- industry association. Its mission is to further and protect the interests of a divers set of professionals operating in the bridging loan sector. In so doing, the AOBP becomes a promoter of bridging loans and the industry itself.  2011 has seen a huge increase in the volume of business and new players in the market. The Association looks to ensure that such business is transacted in a responsible, professional and compliant way.

I believe that the Association is ideally placed to achieve all of this because it can draw on the experience of its members which include some of the most significant lenders in the market today, packagers, introducers, surveyors, lawyers and compliance specialists.

We are ideally placed to listen to participants needs and whilst we cannot guarantee that every wish list will be met, we can ensure that voices are heard – and passed on.  More often than not, this results in change.

3 objectives have been achieved in the last year

·         - An astonishing increase in membership, beating all targets in terms of numbers and diversity

·         - publication of the AOBP borrower information booklet, bringing transparency to the bridging loan transaction

·         - The effective exploitation of the network for members benefit

In an ever evolving world, there are big issues on the horizon.

The 2 greatest issues facing the industry in 2012 will be

·         - dealing with and influencing further regulation by publicising the needs and advantages of a thriving bridging loan sector and,

·         -

Ensuring that that new entrants to the market, keen to get a foothold, perform in as responsible and professional way


Our links with NAFCB and ASTL are invaluable. There is a mutuality of purpose. The louder the voice, the more likely it is heard. That can only be good for the industry

I always look forward to the MBE. It’s a great place to see old faces, and equally to meet with new ones.


Adrian Bloomfield, Chief Executive of the Association of Short Term Lenders (astl):


The Association of Short Term Lenders (astl) is the trade body which represents the lenders and it exists to promote and protect their interests.  In addition to lender members astl has a group of associate members who are mainly professionals and service providers to the short term lending industry.  It is believed that there are as many as 100 lenders in the UK.  The astl has almost 30 members and whilst there are no accurate or reliable figures collected and circulated astl believes that it represents the majority of the short term lending market by volume of loans written and existing portfolios.  There are a couple of large lenders who are not members of the astl and then there is a long list of small lenders, including some private individuals who are short term lenders but whose businesses maybe too small to warrant the expense of being a member of the trade body.

The astl is increasing its awareness and developing a higher profile especially with the regulators.   There is a code of conduct and membership rules.  There are some lenders who would not welcome the publicity and prefer to operate fairly anonymously, and regrettably there are still some operators who would not meet the code of conduct, the membership rules and the standards expected by the members and executive of astl. 


2011 has been the most successful year for short term lenders since the formation of the astl, which was established almost 4 years ago in the eye of the storm which we have now come to refer to as the “credit crunch”.  The current year has seen the industry recover and go forward with new entrants and new funding from wealthy private individuals and funds.


Several more lenders and professionals are considering joining astl and we are looking forward to another successful year in 2012. 


Everyone is looking forward to the MBE in November.


By Jason McGee-Abe

Leave a comment