Martin's Mailbox: Fix that leak

Martin's Mailbox: Fix that leak


‘Still officially in drought’. That’s what the local water company tells me. So as the rain continues to fall, and the weeds overwhelm the garden, I’m left wondering if I should be bothered by the hosepipe ban.


As it happens, I’m not. But I do have an issue with the amount of waste from unfixed leaks – particularly as I’m paying for it. So as Wound-up-of-Wimbledon, I say to the water suppliers: Get your act together, fix the leaky pipes and stop selling-off assets for short-term profit.

It was a different type of leak that caught my attention last week. An internal email from Adrian Bloomfield, outgoing CEO of the ASTL, found its way into the public domain. Described as ‘sombre’ and ‘downbeat’, it’s been seized upon by some as evidence of the trade body’s dysfunctionality. 


How the message got out is a matter of speculation. As to its content, I’m not going to comment. But the incident brings back into focus the role of trade bodies in bridging.

At Omni Capital, we’re keen advocates. With a past rooted in the mortgage market, the senior team has seen first hand how well-organised, well-supported trade organisations can deliver clear member benefits. We want to see the same in bridging. That’s why we’ve put our money where our mouth is and signed-up to the three representative bodies – the ASTL, NACFB and AOBP (acronym heaven…).


All three have a crucial role to play at this pivotal time in bridging’s evolution. The sector is coming under the spotlight like never before, attracting attention from both regulators and the media. Between them, they’re asking questions that need answering. While individual firms have a role to play, there’s a bigger part for our trade bodies.


At this time, I’m neither downbeat nor sombre about the future of the ASTL… or the AOBP or NACFB. I’m hearing about some good things that are happening. But I will repeat what I’m already on record as saying: That the trade body is the servant – not the master – and can only ever be as effective as its membership allows.


As a footnote, did anyone else see that remarkable piece of news that London-based civil servants are to be allowed to work from home for up to seven weeks during the Olympics? 


If we’re so relaxed about the efficient administration of the United Kingdom by an army of pen-pushers toiling from suburban villas, it beggars an obvious question: Why do we pay them to work in expensively-maintained buildings in prime central London? Better, surely, to let them stay at home full-time, cut their travel-weighted salaries, and flog-off all those lovely buildings for development?


Now wouldn’t that give the economy a nice little boost…?

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