Why we set up a network during the pandemic – Harris and Stockwell

Why we set up a network during the pandemic – Harris and Stockwell

 

A network run by brokers for brokers – this encapsulates Harwell Finance Group, the independent mortgage and protection network we set up during the first national lockdown last year.

We have been employed by directly authorised firms and worked as appointed representatives, experiencing first-hand the shortcomings of the large corporate networks.

Both of us have experience working for large brokerages – we met when working at Savills Private Finance before Paul joined Knight Frank Finance and Jonathan was a founding director of Anderson Harris.

We went on to set up our own brokerages: Jonathan with Forensic Property Finance and Paul with Bonaventure Finance.

We strongly believed there was a better way of accessing the market and transacting business. We felt the personal touch had been lost.

The combination of poorly designed and over-complicated processes meant the broker was made to feel like the least important cog in the wheel.

This spurred us on to set up Harwell Finance Group, obtaining direct authorisation from the regulator in March 2020.

 

Difficult timing

It wasn’t the easiest of beginnings with the temporary closure of the property market, reduced face-to-face client interactions, frequent and immediate lender criteria changes, plus the joy of home schooling.

We had a new business model to set up from compliance and risk procedures to governance and oversight to sales processes, as well as obtaining regulatory authorisation for our initial group of appointed representatives.

We needed to create websites and arrange for professional indemnity insurance, as well as set up our protection proposition and begin to understand the nuances of regulatory reporting.

Profit is not the sole driving factor behind our decision to launch a network.

The overarching principle is to build a network of like-minded brokers who have a vehicle within which they can be successful.

We provide the infrastructure brokers need; our integrated client management and sourcing systems are designed for ease of use. Innovations such as expert knowledge forums will pool collective experience when placing complex lending scenarios.

Our support package is designed so broker businesses can develop and grow in an ever-changing regulatory environment including mortgage club memberships, faster payment of lender fees, comprehensive compliance and supervisory services, and others.

Essentially, we know what a broker needs and doesn’t need from a network and are providing a similar experience to working under an established firm but with the autonomy of running your own business.