Legal and General Mortgage Club Awards 2022 – in pictures

Legal and General Mortgage Club Awards 2022 – in pictures


Attendees were so pleased to be back at this stand-out venue, with Comedian Tom Allen providing the entertainment.

Find a list of all the winners here. Congratulations to all.

All the winners of the Legal and General Mortgage Club Awards 2022

All the winners of the Legal and General Mortgage Club Awards 2022

Here are all the winners. Congratulations to all.

Broker categories

Best Broker Firm for New Build sponsored by Precise Mortgages

Meridian Mortgages


Best Broker Firm for Specialist Lending sponsored by Kent Reliance for Intermediaries



Best Broker for Digital Innovation sponsored by Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries

L&C Mortgages


Best Broker Firm for Overall Quality (5 advisers and under) sponsored by Saffron for Intermediaries



Best Broker Firm for Overall Quality (6-25 advisers) sponsored by BM Solutions

First Mortgage NE


Best Broker Firm for Overall Quality (26-75 advisers) sponsored by HSBC UK



Best Broker Firm for Overall Quality (76+ advisers) sponsored by Bank of Ireland for Intermediaries

Mortgage Advice Bureau


Best National Network Partner sponsored by Halifax Intermediaries


Lender categories

Best Lender for Later Life Lending sponsored by Diversity & Inclusivity Finance Forum



Best Lender for Buy to Let sponsored by Connect for Intermediaries

The Mortgage Works


Best Specialist Lender sponsored by Specialist Lending Solutions

Kent Reliance for Intermediaries


Best Lender for Service sponsored by Finance Planning Group

Halifax Intermediaries


Best Lender Marketing Campaign sponsored by Legal & General

Precise Mortgages


Best Lender for Digital Innovation sponsored by eConveyancer

Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries


Business Development Manager of the Year sponsored by Mortgage Solutions

Laura Underdown, HSBC UK


Best Smaller Lender sponsored by Rostrum

Kensington Mortgages


Best Overall Lender sponsored by SmartrFit



Best Lender for Partnership with Mortgage Club sponsored by Mortgage Advice Bureau

Bank of Ireland for Intermediaries

The Buy to Let Forum 2022 gallery

The Buy to Let Forum 2022 gallery


It has returned as an in-person event after nearly two years.

Speakers at the event included Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions, Accord Mortgages’ managing director Jeremy Duncombe, Matt McCullough, national sales manager at Aldermore, Hampshire Trust Bank’s sales director Marcus Dussard, David Whittaker, chief executive at Keystone Property Finance, Paragon’s national sales manager Jason Wilde, Adrian Moloney, group intermediary director at OSB Group and Wesley Regis, key account manager at Fleet Mortgages.

The event is due to take place in Birmingham today, as well as Cardiff and Reading next week.

Here are the highlights of the Salford event.

BTL2022: EPC legislation and product volatility key challenges for buy to let

BTL2022: EPC legislation and product volatility key challenges for buy to let

Speaking at The Buy to Let Forum at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, Phil Rickards (pictured), head of BM Solutions, said in March 2020 he was very fearful about how the buy to let market would fare during the pandemic.

“I really thought I could bring my retirement plans forward because I couldn’t see how the market could function.”

“Valuers could value, we had to relocate all of our processing teams to working from home on laptops and the market shut down for weeks and I thought it was the end of the world.”

However, he said that the market defied expectations with buy-to-let lending hitting a peak of £45bn, which it said it was on a par with 2007.

Rickards said that whilst the sector was “resilient” that there were significant headwinds, such as upcoming legislation which would mandate that new tenancies would have to have an EPC of C or higher.

He said that figures showed that 2.5m private rented homes didn’t meet minimum proposed EPC standards.

Recent figures from the Department of Levelling Up and Housing also show that 23 per cent housing is estimated to be “below standard” in the private rented sector

The regulatory burden of the buy-to-let sector was also cited as the most common reason for landlords selling up, Rickards said.

“My worry is, of course we’re going to lose those bad landlords, but we don’t want to lose the good ones. We need a well functioning private rented sector.”

He added that there may be additional financial burdens on landlords, both from improving the quality of housing stock and the possibility that landlords may not be eligible for cladding redress, which is still being debated by the government in the Building Safety Bill.


EPC legislation vital discussion point for brokers

Rickards urged brokers to speak to landlords about upcoming legislation on EPC ratings, even though it is not yet law, especially if they were considering a five-year fixed rate.

He added that this was especially vital in the buy-to-let sector as over 90 per cent of such business was intermediated.

He said that the proportion of EPC rated properties rated C or high over the past 10 years has improved from two in 10 to four in 10.

“We’ve done 40 per cent of private rented properties in ten years. I’m not a mathematician, but how the hell are we going to get through the other 60 per cent? This is a big challenge for landlords.”

He said that it was an even bigger challenge considering that a vast majority of private rented sector property was pre-war terraced properties. He added that there were additional challenges in getting tradesmen as they were in low supply and high demand, which also meant pricing was higher.

Rickards said that he had noticed a shift to new build properties from landlords, who wanted to purchase a property that was already A, B or C rated.

He said that this raised questions as to whether this should be banned as it could be taking property away from other buyers, especially first-time buyers, who may have to go for worse-rated properties that may be harder in the future to secure a mortgage on.

Product volatility due to swap rates changing daily

Rickards said that it had been seeing fewer buy-to-let products on the market and lenders withdrawing at short notice.

He added that this was partially due to swap rates changing “daily” and recognised that this was very challenging from a broker perspective.

“This has been a huge challenge for us. Swap rates are moving at an unprecedented level and we’ve done our best to try and maintain product ranges where we can and I know it’s tough for you guys out there.

“I just asked you to bear with us. It’s a factor of the economy and the way rates are right now and I thank you for your patience.”

He added that BM Solutions had had its biggest year since 2007 and its biggest year ever for product transfers.

Rickards said that it had an “appetite to lend” bit that it was “very difficult to process because of capacity”.

“Capacity is a big problem for lenders. We’ve still got our staff working from home, they are still working with laptops which is not ideal, but we are proud of what we are trying to do to support the mortgage market,” he said.

“Brokers are incredibly important, landlords need your advice more than ever. This is an incredibly complex market.”

Buy to Let Market Forum returns as in-person event

Buy to Let Market Forum returns as in-person event


The conference is taking place in Manchester on 20th April, then in Birmingham on 21st April , Cardiff on 27th April and Reading on 28th April.

It will bring together buy-to-let lenders and advisers to address current issues, deepen relationships, foster understanding, ways to improve and evolve the sector, with the ultimate aim of improve customer outcomes. 

We are delighted to confirm that Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions will be delivering the opening plenary session which will give a whistle stop tour of the current buy-to-let market landscape and what it holds for the future; from identifying the challenges and opportunities, to regulatory and physical policy updates, landlord sentiment, the green agenda and lender outlook. 

Click here to register for the event 

Click here for the latest buy to let news 

BM Solutions to hold masterclass on changing quality standards in the PRS

BM Solutions to hold masterclass on changing quality standards in the PRS


The masterclass ‘Change is Coming: Supporting Brokers and Landlords to Improve Quality in the PRS’ will cover the challenges faced by the private rented sector (PRS) over the last two years, despite the boom in business. 

It will also address incoming changes resulting from devolved governments as they scrutinise the quality of the sector and propose or enact their own bills alongside the introduction of minimum energy performance certificate standards. 

Join the session to gain a better understanding of who is involved in the PRS ecosystem and the challenges they face, the changes coming down the line for the industry, and how brokers can share knowledge with landlords to support the future of their portfolio, and ultimately improve quality. 


Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions (pictured)

Heather Cara, senior manager, BM Solutions 

This event will take place online on Thursday 3 March from 11.00 – 11.45. 

Register here: 

BM Solutions extends maximum tenancy term

BM Solutions extends maximum tenancy term

Private residential tenancies in Scotland have no specific end dates, so this criteria does not apply.

Previously, the maximum letting term allowable on a property subject to a BTL mortgage was 12 months, the company said.

A maximum term of five years remained acceptable when the tenancy was in the form of a Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) model agreement, or its Scottish equivalent.

Phil Rickards (pictured), head of BM Solutions, explained the move: “More renters are looking for longer-term tenancies, and landlords are looking to meet that demand. By extending the allowable tenancy for lending, we’re able to support landlords and renters alike.”

The company said mortgage completions that took place from 7 February would benefit from the extension.

BM Solutions focuses on the BTL, House 2 House, and self-build sectors.

In January, it introduced a stress rate calculation to allow landlord borrowers to remortgage with no additional borrowing where the loan to value (LTV) was 60 per cent or less.

It was the first time the BTL arm of Lloyds Banking Group had made like-for-like remortgages available.

BM Solutions adds like-for-like remortgage option

BM Solutions adds like-for-like remortgage option


This is the first time the buy-to-let lending arm of Lloyds Banking Group has made like-for-like remortgages available. 

It has also updated its rental cover ratio calculation to accommodate this. 

The lender recently finalised changes to its online mortgage portal which allows brokers to upload documents, trackers and message the lender. It also introduced an application programming interface (API) which uses Rightmove data to provide property valuations to the platform.

Phil Rickards (pictured), head of BM Solutions, said: “With the successful move to our new mortgage platform complete, we have been able to shift our focus and fill an important gap in our product range.” 

BTL2021: Brokers have a chance to build business with green credentials

BTL2021: Brokers have a chance to build business with green credentials


Jane Simpson, managing director at TBMC, said: “Brokers should be discussing portfolios with landlord customers and looking at what properties are below a C rating, and then seeing how they can raise money, whether capital raising on that property or across the whole portfolio.

“There’s a really good piece of work that brokers could be doing, that’s going to bring in more business to them, and help landlords as well,” she said.

By 1 April 2025, when a new tenant goes in, buy-to-let homes must have an EPC rating of A to C. For existing tenants, the deadline is 2028.

Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions, said:  “For many landlords, the timescales could be a challenge. The green agenda is a threat to landlords and their cashflow in having to bring existing stock up to scratch in what could be seen as a relatively short period of time.

“Therefore any help lenders can bring — further advances to help improve properties, better rated products for higher EPC rated properties — will definitely evolve. It’s something we are working very hard on behind the scenes,” Rickards said.

Keystone Property Finance estimated that upgrading a property with a D rating to achieve an A to C rating would cost an average of £3,500, while for an E-rated property, it was £7,500.

Of Keystone’s lending book, about 57 per cent of landlords’ properties fall into the E and D category, 41 per cent are A to C, and two per cent are exempt such as listed properties.

David Whittaker, chief executive at Keystone, said: “Tenants will naturally gravitate to properties with a higher EPC rating, including for savings on utility bills, and therefore landlords might be able to get better rent.”

He said that in the residential market, Barclays, Natwest and AIB had developed offers for A and B rated properties. Meanwhile, “much respect,” was due for an innovative product from Ecology Building Society which offers 0.25 per cent discount for every energy-efficient improvement up to a maximum of one per cent. “I showed it to a pricing colleague who fainted on the spot,” Whittaker said.

He also praised Nationwide’s further advance green product.

In buy to let, Foundation Home Loans and Paragon won special mentions as first movers in green loans.

“At Keystone, we are just launching an A, B and C product focusing on older properties. We’re trying to incentivise landlords with lower-rated properties to do up their properties and improve them, and indeed if clients have a product transfer coming up, we will check the EPC. If it’s A to C, we’ll give you a better-priced product,” Whittaker said.

He added that sourcing systems enabling brokers to search with an EPC rating was “a work in progress.”

“You’ll see more product coming down the line from lenders. If you have a good green credential on your property, but you can’t find those lower prices, you’re all at sea,” he added.

The securitisations market was also supporting green lending, with investors showing interest in green asset classes.

BTL2021: Mini-boom and ‘really strong pipelines’ give BTL market positive edge – Rickards

BTL2021: Mini-boom and ‘really strong pipelines’ give BTL market positive edge – Rickards


Speaking at the Buy to Let Online Forum, Rickards (pictured) emphasised that the market had proved remarkably resilient over the last year and was on course to remain so.

Rickards added that 2020 was BM Solutions’ biggest year for new business since 2007 and its largest ever year for product transfers.

He also praised chancellor Rishi Sunak for not targeting the sector for tax rises and for including landlords in the payment deferral scheme.

“Has there been a mini-boom? Yes, there has, aided somewhat by the stamp duty holiday,” he said.

“It’s great to see the chancellor, for one of the first times I can remember, giving buy-to-let a step up.”

He continued: “I’m sure we all would have signed-up for last year’s market of £37bn just down from £42bn the year before.

“Nobody really knows what’s coming, but my prediction would certainly be for a market in the high £30bns maybe even early £40bns as buy-to-let completions and pipelines still look really strong – a good start to 2021 already.”


‘Cautiously optimistic’

When asked about whether BM Solutions would be following-up the growing interest in environmentally friendly mortgage options, Rickards said: “The green agenda is high on everyone’s agenda so this is something that I wouldn’t rule out in the future.

“We are currently focussing on finalising the roll out of our new system with PTs next to market soon.”

Rickards concluded his session with a positive note on the market.

“There’s never been a better time to be a mortgage adviser, landlords need your voice more than ever,” he said.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the buy-to-let market. It’s been through lots of challenges and landlords themselves have shown how resilient they can be.”