Specialist Lending Solutions: What has been the highlight of your first year in business?
Scott Thorpe: Sticking to our principles regarding service and educating brokers, particularly the forgotten about smaller DAs. We are also very proud about running a lean business. For a first year start up we were in profit every month and overall annual profit was 42% of our turnover. It goes to show you don’t always need a room full of highly paid directors in an expensive office to help make a difference to others.
SLS: What weren’t you expecting?
ST: The stubbornness within our own industry in not wanting to evolve. We had and still do have a massive opportunity to make the industry great yet we have people still wanting to make the second charge mortgages look like a dark art form.
Let’s be clear it’s specialised for anyone that hasn’t done a second charge, but the same could be said for a second charge packager moving into the first charge market and those that are doing so aren’t entering with 5% arrangement fees. This tells me that high fees in the seconds market are more symptomatic of bad habits rather than necessity.
SLS: What have you learnt?
ST: To never underestimate the power of a vested interest.
We are continually trying to highlight certain aspects of the industry that need to change. It’s a challenge but one we are prepared for it and I’ll always back the tortoise and never the hare. We are happy to take the long way if it also happens to be the right way
SLS: What advice would you give yourself if you could go back a year?
ST: Take a step back and plan. One of our greatest strengths is that we are very nimble and can adapt quickly to opportunities. However at the start we had too much eagerness to jump straight in without being fully prepared. We could see a gap in the market but we rushed it so basically less haste more speed is now the motto.
SLS: Has the venture proved as successful as you envisaged?
ST: More so. We are now being nominated for awards, continue to fill out our monthly broker masterclasses and continue to remain profitable month on month. Our biggest challenge was establishing the brand, getting a seat at the table and becoming a voice for the unheard mortgage broker. The latter was and still is the motivation for launching London Money Loans.
SLS: What’s next?
ST: We have recently launched Cardiff Money headed up by Daniel Yeo who has really embraced our philosophy. We are also close to launching another and speaking to a few others so watch this space for breaking news.
Our door is always open to speak to like-minded people, those that are maybe stuck in an employed rut and know they could do better for themselves if they had the opportunity. We can give them that branded opportunity.
We have a plan, a belief and above all an end goal of making the London Money brand one of the best and most recognisable financial services companies in the UK. Whatever happens we will make sure it is fun, challenging and profitable for all concerned.