Martin's Mailbox: Who's grabbing headlines?

Martin's Mailbox: Who's grabbing headlines?


Welcome to the first of my new weekly posts. My sincere thanks to the B&C team for giving me the opportunity; and for their confidence in that I might have something interesting and relevant to add. 


A quick scan of the stories that made the bridging and short-term news headlines last week confirmed what I already knew: that this sector is just about the most interesting place to be in lending right now. It may not be the biggest, and no-one would pretend it’s perfect, but what it lacks in scale is more than made up for in drive, energy and obvious opportunity.


Looking back at the headlines, I was grabbed by a number of stories in particular. Funding was right up there, with Connaught’s announcement that it had temporarily suspended activity on one of its funds being nicely balanced by positive news from Montello that it has secured new cash (Well done Christian). They may be a competitor, but funding’s at the heart of our collective success, and I take great encouragement from seeing investors continuing to be attracted to bridging.


Elsewhere, I was interested to read that wealthy homebuyers are apparently fleeing to the Shires to escape George Osborne’s stamp duty clampdown. Maybe, but I reckon the deepest pockets – Saville Row-tailored for Arab, Russian and, increasingly, Chinese clients – will keep prime London top-of-the-housing-pops for some time to come. 


Among other news, congratulations to the Y3S team for achieving their first completion through the miLoan sourcing system. The debate will continue about the suitability of such tools in bridging, but full marks to Matt Cottle and my other good mates in South Wales for their innovation and determination.

Lender-intermediary relationships are never far from the headlines, and so it proved again last week with news from Precise of its tie-up with a number of networks. Industry reaction was predictably mixed, but it undeniably shows how short-term lending is becoming increasingly relevant to a wider range of brokers and advisers. Expect more developments as lenders seek tocapitalise.


More controversially, Precise claims its new relationships will help ‘clean up’ the bridging market. I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m not sure it’s the best choice of words for a sector facing tighter regulation and closer media scrutiny. I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement – there is – but I doubt it’s in the gift of any one business alone to bring it about. That, I’d suggest, is better done in concert through our trade bodies.


Finally, it would be remiss of me not to say thanks to Rob Jupp whose big (huge?) shoes I’m filling today. I noted with amusement his handover comments in his final blog. I put it down to his beloved Brighton & Hove Albion’s end-of-season implosion from promotion contenders to mid-table Championship side. Football, like bridging, can be a cruel game, son. But from Ol’ Blue Eyes to Big Man, I say: “Thanks, Rob – You Did it Your Way…”

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