Martin's Mailbox: Networking Opportunity

Martin's Mailbox: Networking Opportunity


Bridging… networks.

Until recently, you’d rarely see the two mentioned in the same sentence, at least not in polite company. But that appears to be changing, with some networks now showing real interest in short-term lending and the many positives it offers.


If I’m right, there are a number of reasons for this. Bridging has raised its profile significantly in the past few years. A key factor has been the emergence of new lenders. Bringing with them fresh funding and new ideas, they’ve helped inject liquidity and vitality at a time when other sectors remain in deep-freeze.

The new players are also perceived, rightly or wrongly, as instrumental in raising standards in bridging. For the networks – regulatory-compliant structures by definition – this is an important consideration as they look to engage with an industry previously saddled with an ambiguous reputation.


But I suspect the biggest game-shifter has been the continuing drought in mainstream lending. With the Eurozone lurching from crisis to crisis, a tax-and-spend socialist about to occupy the Elysee Palace and UK Plc bumping along the bottom of the growth curve, it isn’t about to change anytime soon. In fact, it’s likely to get worse as banks hoard their cash.


Hardly surprising, therefore, that the cannier networks are searching for new ways to maximise opportunities for their members. Buy-to-Let is one of them. But among the alternatives, there really does appear to be only one serious player sitting at the table.


Welcome to our world.


Solicitors… legals.


Two words I hear too much of in the same sentence – and definitely not suitable for polite company. But let me be clear. I’m not talking about the lawyers we retain, but those used by our brokers’ clients. Ours, of course, are excellent practitioners of their craft. Their fees confirm as much.


But I share the despair of our brokers who routinely encounter so-called professionals lacking in knowledge and devoid of any service mentality.

Ah, I hear you cry, isn’t this a compelling argument for dual representation? Well, no actually. Dual representation certainly has its advocates, but it comes with its own challenges – not least how to overcome potential conflicts of interest.


One possible solution is for the larger broking-distributor firms (and networks) is to offer in-house legal services. Danny Waters at Enterprise Finance has already taken this step. Whilst I recognise the cost and logistical implications, it may prove a wise investment in the long run, particularly with bridging continuing to extend its reach, appeal and accessibility.


As for inept solicitors, I suspect this won’t be my last rant on the subject…


Quick post script! It would be remiss of me, the morning after the most unbelievable final day in Premiership history, not to mention how delighted I am that my beloved QPR have retained their top-flight status and proved all the ‘experts’ who had written us off, wrong - can’t wait for the new season to start now…

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