Read on in our lighthearted look back at this week’s event.
While Death posed for a photo, his colleague explained: “Lots of IFAs don’t have a will writing service. However what we have identified is estate planning is actually tax planning.” Death, unable to comment, waved his scythe in agreement.
Meanwhile, two ladies in red velvet minidresses and fish nets sashayed past. They led the way to Alpha Bridging and Solutions, where more sexy Santas chatted by a red Chevrolet Camaro. While keen to grab the attention of attendees, the Santas seemed shy when it came to journalists.
The Alpha Santas take a break
The stall’s exhibitor was more forthcoming. The car, she explained, was an example of the kind of assets Alpha will lend against. “Last week, a guy going to Vegas dropped off his car to us, took out £2,000, came back and picked up his car.” If that wasn’t glam enough, one of Alpha’s offices is a yacht. It’s more discreet that way, she said. Behind her, brokers sipped beers and a bucking bronco wheeled from side to side.
But Alpha aside, the Mortgage Business Expo was a subdued affair. “It gets busier in the afternoon,” one exhibitor told me. “There was more of a buzz in the morning,” another said. One exhibitor was more frank. “It is pathetic,” he complained. “We have been coming for seven years and this is the most poorly attended show we have been to here.” His colleague chipped in: “The life-blood of this type of event is brokers meeting and networking with lenders. You have got to get major lenders back to these events.”
Excluding the scattering of building society stalls, mainstream lenders were no-shows at the expo. The East London location may have been partly responsible, along with a profusion of similar events.
Death had no comment
Many exhibitors, though, remained upbeat. ULS Group national account manager Phil Dawson, whose stall included a miniature pitch and putt, said: “It is name and brand awareness. As a company that are looking at moving into other areas of legal services, it is a great opportunity for us to talk to brokers face-to-face.”
Online advice directory Mylocaladviser.co.uk also had been attracting interest. “Some people haven’t heard of it so we explain what we do and the majority of them want to sign up,” explained a fresh-faced exhibitor. Other brokers wanted to check out the competition, she added.
For brokers who had tired of the stalls, there was also a chance to listen to a number of speakers from the mortgage industry. On day one, it was Magellan managing director Matt Gilmour, who had the last word. He rebuked brokers for being “fast asleep” to the attractions of his product. He compared their attitude to, “a life guard that sees a fat person drowning and says ‘I am not going to save them because they are a fat person’.” But, he told the brokers, “you are a lifeguard.”
And with that, the expo began to wind down. Exhibitors handed round cakes, journalists typed out their last stories and one of the sexy Santas complained: “My feet hurt.” As for the lifeguards, they seemed to have already gone.