Brokers’ confidence high as case volumes remain stable ‒ IMLA
The study found that in the second quarter the average case volume for intermediaries was unmoved at 97, the same level as in the first quarter of the year.
Confidence among brokers remains high, though they are down somewhat on the previous quarter. For example, 52 per cent of respondents said they were very confident in the outlook for their business, down by 62 per cent in the last quarter.
Overall, 89 per cent said they feel confident overall, which is a reduction from 94 per cent last quarter.
The study found a drop in decisions in principle (DIPs) and mortgage applications too. The number of DIPs moved from 32 on average in the first quarter to 28, while conversions from DIPs to completions fell for the third straight quarter, from 44 per cent to 43 per cent.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director at IMLA, said that the data pointed to a strong level of activity and overall high confidence within the market.
She continued: “With inflation levels and interest rates reaching the highest levels in more than a decade, and the cost-of-living crisis continuing to affect millions in the UK, we expect to see more borrowers with complex financial situations seeking support from the mortgage market. Fortunately, there are now many lenders that are willing to lend to complex borrowers, and plenty of mortgage options available to these individuals.”
Davies emphasised that mortgage advice will be crucial for these borrowers, with brokers playing a vital role in helping those with more complex circumstances to access the finance they need.
Q1 caseloads fell marginally but intermediaries still ‘maintaining momentum’ – IMLA
The Q1 figure is in-line with figures from Q3 last year, which at the time was a record-breaking figure, according to the latest mortgage market tracker from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA).
Intermediary caseloads hit 103 in Q4, which was the largest average intermediary caseload since research started in 2015.
The report added that the average number of decisions in principle (DIP) rose by two per cent compared to the previous quarter.
It said it had been gradually growing since the beginning of the year, from 28 per intermediary in January, to 32 in February and a two-year high of 37 in March.
Conversions of DIPs have fallen by around two per cent, with the largest decrease, 10 per cent, occurring among homemovers.
IMLA suggested that this was due to a shift in focus to remortgages, which had 72 cases of conversion, up from 69 in the previous quarter.
Majority of brokers ‘very confident’ about business and market outlook
IMLA said that despite the slight fall in average case numbers, intermediary confidence remains strong, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they were “very confident” about the outlook for their company.
Nearly all intermediaries surveyed, 98 per cent, were confident overall, and only two per cent said they were “not very confident”.
Over half of brokers, 54 per cent, said that there were “very confident” about the intermediary sector, up from 52 per cent in the previous quarter.
Around 45 per cent of intermediaries said they were “very confident” about the mortgage industry, which is on a par with the record 46 per cent in Q3 last year.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director at IMLA, said that despite the slight drop from the “record peak” in Q4, evidence suggests that advisers are “maintaining their momentum”.
“The data from the first quarter of 2022 shows a strong level of activity and a solid underlying demand underpinning the mortgage market,” she said.
Davies continued that rising inflation, along with proportionate interest rate rises, mean mortgage market demand could match the rates of 2021 as borrowers seek to secure fixed-rate deals.
“Throughout 2022, as volatile macro-economic trends impact personal finances, advisers will continue to play a crucial role in helping borrowers to find an appropriate, affordable and sensible deal,” she noted.
Affordability test removal badged broadly positive for borrowers – analysis
The BoE introduced two recommendations in 2014, one around loan to income ratio (LTI) which states that 15 per cent of the total number of new residential mortgages should not have a LTI ratio at or greater than 4.5. This applies to lenders whose residential mortgage lending is above £100m per year.
Its affordability test says borrowers should be able to afford their mortgage if their mortgage interest rate is three per cent higher than their reversion rate, in the first-half of next year.
The BoE said in December that it would consider withdrawing the affordability test
Earlier today the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) launched a consultation on the mortgage affordability test and said that the LTI limit had a “stronger role” in guarding against an aggregate household indebtedness and the number of highly indebted households.
It added that the affordability test could have limited the borrowing ability of around six per cent of borrowers, or around 30,000 applicants per year.
Kate Davies, executive director at the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said that that the announcement of a consultation to remove the affordability test was “no real surprise to the sector, but is still very welcome”.
She added: “For some time, IMLA has been arguing that the combination of FCA Mortgage Conduct Of Business (MCOB) rules, LTI limits and the three per cent stress test have placed unrealistic demands on borrowers when compared to the rates they have actually been paying, or could expect to pay.
“We are particularly interested in the FPC’s analysis that the LTI flow limit is likely to play a stronger role than the affordability test in guarding against household indebtedness, and we shall be considering each measure’s relative effectiveness carefully as we develop our response to the consultation.”
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said that the BoE might be keen to remove the affordability test before the end of Help to Buy, which is due to expire next year.
He explained: “I think that there’s always the continual issue of the deposit, which is the first hurdle you’ve got to get across. For instance, if you’re renting and trying to save at the same time, and add student debt, how many barriers can we put in the way?
“Then there is the next element of affordability hurdle that then becomes a bigger issue particularly for the South and with the loss of Help to Buy, which has been a big help in the market. I think this is this is the change [it] feels comfortable to make in order to try to keep the market moving in the right direction.”
He added: “I think the other part is if you take this off [the affordability test], it might allow others to borrow more. It will have a broader impact across the whole market as opposed to just those who are currently excluded.”
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the Building Societies Association, said: “We welcomed the FPC’s intention to withdraw the affordability stress test for new mortgages when it was first announced in December 2021 and still do. This measure primarily impacts borrowers such as first-time buyers and those looking to buy in the South East, who can clearly afford a mortgage.
“Lenders will continue to follow existing rules, including those in MCOB, to check that a mortgage is affordable both now and if interest rates continue to rise in line with market expectations. We are consulting with our members on the specific questions raised in the consultation published today.”
Questions raised for lenders
Nicholas Mendes, mortgage technical manager at John Charcol, said that scrapping the affordability test would be “welcomed by homeowners and broker alike” and that this could be a boost for the market given rising property prices.
“It will be interesting to see how much this will mean, given at the time of rules changing, we are expecting to see inflation continue to increase into 2023, and with multiple base rates rises, lenders could choose to not make any changes. Predicting where rates could be in five years’ time seems almost impossible.”
Mendes added: “Any changes depending on how lenders react will benefit in the short term as buyers have increased affordability muscle in negotiating on a home. Longer term, homeowners would be in the same boat, so broadly speaking no individual homeowner would be better off. What we might see is people bidding higher and/or increasing offers, as a result this risks the same homeowners that would be buying the same properties but at higher values.”
Mendes said that the potential removal raised questions about how lenders might change the way they calculate affordability. He said lenders who use Office of National Statistics (ONS) as the basis for affordability calculations could lead them to review the calculation more regularly and that lenders who trialed this have seen maximum borrowing reduce for homeowners, highlighting a growing concern about those who are currently on shared ownership schemes.
“Based on previous calculators those on the scheme based on potential future affordability modules wouldn’t be able to afford the borrowing that they original took out.”
He added: “Any stress rates changes may mitigate any potential changes if calculations do change as lenders look at ONS stats, it will be interesting to see what lenders do between now and the 17 March in terms of their communication with brokers, and what lenders do after the announcement.”
Mendes added that rising cost of living, increasing energy and fuel costs and Brexit could led lenders to “exercise caution and start to consider other factors to ensure the mortgage remains affordable”.
David Hollingworth, associate director of communications at L&C Mortgages, said: “There’s clearly no desire to remove restraints that could result in a move back to the looser lending standards that were in place in the run up to the financial crisis. However, we do have a belt and braces approach at the moment with the stress rates and LTI limits in place. The stress rate does give some natural space for borrowers to be able to deal with higher rate environments than when they take the initial mortgage.
“However, although stress rates help prepare for rising rates, they keep moving as rates change as well, as is currently the case so it can be a moving target. The FPC seems to suggest that altering the impact on affordability shouldn’t result in so much more leeway that borrowers could be put in harm’s way, so we may find that there’s limited impact and both limits have done their job.”
He added: “If it gives some borrowers, for example first-time buyers, a little bit more flexibility to borrow enough to deal with the pressures that high prices present without throwing the principles of affordability out of the window, it might just help a few more borrowers get the mortgage they need.”
Top 10 most read broker stories this week – 18/02/22
The hire of Accord Mortgages’ Nadine Edwards by Natwest Intermediary Solutions, the ongoing impact of higher interest rates and Pepper Money’s £450m securitisation were also among the most read by brokers.
Bidding war for quality brokers becoming more costly ‒ analysis
Metro Bank CFO resigns
EPC regulation change: ‘This is an opportunity for brokers’ – TBMC one-to-one
Natwest hires Accord Mortgages’ Nadine Edwards as part of restructure
Higher mortgage rates will leave homes ‘overvalued’ – Capital Economics
Pepper Money completes £450m securitisation
Buy-to-let EPC rating proposals already affecting investor choices – Hamptons
Soaring cost of living is remortgage opportunity, brokers say
Virgin Money joins lenders in raising rates
Intermediary caseload hits record 103 annual high – Imla
Intermediary caseload hits record 103 annual high – Imla
According to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) mortgage market tracker report, this is up from the previous high of 97 in Q3 2021 and the largest average intermediary caseload since research started in 2015.
Confidence in business outlooks remained strong with nearly two thirds, or 62 per cent of brokers stating that they were very confident about the outlook for their firm.
Around 98 per cent of brokers said they were confident overall.
This confidence in the wider intermediary sector also stayed high, with 96 per cent saying they were very confident or confident, which is in-line with 97 per cent in Q3 2021.
However, the report noted that confidence in the outlook for the mortgage industry fell to 42 per cent in Q4 2021 from 46 per cent in the prior quarter, which was a record high,
The report found that the average number of decisions in principle (DIPs) in November dropped to 26 per intermediary, and then rose to 32 per intermediary in December.
In 2021, residential mortgages accounted for 65 per cent of cases throughout the year, buy to let made up 27 per cent cases and specialist lending came to eight per cent of cases.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director at IMLA, said: “As caseload volumes increased to set new records in Q4 2021, despite the months following the conclusion of the stamp duty holiday expected to be quieter compared to 2021 as a whole, advisers have a solid foundation to begin 2022.”
She continued that with inflation expected to reach seven per cent in April and interest rates predicted to rise it expected demand to remain strong in the mortgage market as borrowers opt for fixed rate deals and those with complex financial situations seek help.
Davies said: “Independent financial advice will be crucial for these customers, and advisers will play an important role in helping them to find the most suitable, and affordable, deal.”
Carousel of housing ministers ‘singularly unhelpful’ for long-term housing strategy – Davies
Kate Davies, executive director of Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said Andrew was the 11th housing minister since 2010.
She continued: “IMLA has long emphasised the need for a stable, long-term housing strategy to tackle the chronic undersupply of suitable housing in the UK, and this constant carousel of new ministers is singularly unhelpful.”
Davies added that it was “positive” to see longer-term thinking in the Levelling Up white paper, but more details were needed on how targets would be met and funded before the industry can assess how feasible the plans are.
Plans include the scrapping of Section 21 eviction notices, homes in the private rented sector having to meet a Decent Homes standard, a consultation on introducing a landlords register and a £1.5bn Levelling up Home Building Fund to provide loans to SMEs to support regenerations.
She said: “Too many housing ministers have promised to deliver thousands of new homes every year, before moving on or being removed, leaving it to their successors to repeat the same promises in due course.”
“We wish the new minister well in his role – and hope that he can make a real difference, where so many others have failed to do so.”
Andrew was appointed to the role in a cabinet reshuffle yesterday. He has been an MP continuously since 2010 and was most recently deputy chief whip for the House of Commons.
Prior to that he was vice chamberlain of HM Household, parliamentary undersecretary for the Ministry of Defence and parliamentary undersecretary for the Wales Office.
Andrew takes over from Christopher Pincher, who has been in the role since February 2020.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, added: “The continuous revolving door for the housing minister spins ever faster. It makes one wonder if either the brief is too difficult, or it does not actually matter.”
He added that public decent affordable housing was a “necessity” and building more of the right houses was “essential”.
Consequently, he said having a national plan “baked down to local plans seems simple” and that housing had been a key part of Conservative policy for decades, especially the last government.
Sinclair said: “Their abject failure to deliver a consistent team to support their excellent civil servants on this topic is lamentable. It must be hoped that the latest incarnation lasts a bit longer, gets the cladding issue off his desk and begins to focus on the future not the past.”
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the Building Societies Association added: “We welcome Stuart Andrew to his new role as housing minister and look forward to working closely with him across the range of housing issues in his brief.”
He wished Andrew “greater longevity” in his post than his predecessors, which include Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Kit Malthouse.
Broadhead said: “The housing brief would benefit from stability, continuity and a cross departmental plan.”
Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, also welcomed Andrew to his role and said his appointment came at an “important time for the housing market with a lack of supply and additional costs for consumers”.
Emerson continued: “He must re-energise the planning system to remove known barriers to maximising delivery and also plan for the anticipated housing needs of older people.
“We look forward to working constructively with the new minister to find solutions to speed up the home buying and selling process and ensure critical material information is provided to consumers in a clear and transparent way. This will not only help to keep the market moving but allow agents to help level up the country.”
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IMLA calls for government-industry cooperation to aid market growth
Detailing a list of priorities for the year, IMLA said that such cooperation was needed to keep the sector buoyant and to ensure that a healthy housing market remained accessible to buyers as well as renters. The group called for a focus on affordability for first-time buyers, ways to incentivise the green agenda, clarifying responsibility on cladding questions and resisting certain changes in the buy-to-let (BTL) rules.
Kate Davies (pictured), executive director of IMLA, said: “Our housing market needs a long-term vision, and one which is coordinated across government and the wider industry. And it is paramount that this vision is underpinned by a strategy to address the pressing issues we are facing.”
For example, she added, “we don’t just need more homes – we need more homes of the right design, which are energy efficient and serviced by appropriate infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.”
Davies said that “despite – and in some cases as a result of – the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 remained a very busy year for the housing market. Amid this ongoing demand, there are still plenty of areas we need to focus on to support the market, and ensure it is accessible to borrowers across the country from a range of backgrounds.”
One challenge IMLA mentioned was how to balance the need for affordable housing for first-time-buyers against the needs of the private rental sector, which saw landlords using the stamp duty holiday to snap up buy-to-let properties last year.
On the question of supply and affordability, IMLA said prices were being kept high as demand continued to outpace supply.
Phase One of the First Homes scheme announced in May was about to go live, but IMLA said the project was still relatively small-scale and would succeed if developers had the appetite to get involved and self-fund the initiative. IMLA also said it was concerned about a requirement for first-time buyers who eventually sell to do so at a 30 per cent discount.
Affordability barriers and green initatives
The organisation said it welcomed news that the Bank of England was to consult on removing the Financial Policy Committee’s additional stress test of three per cent above standard variable rate (SVR). IMLA said that while it was important to ensure that borrowers weren’t getting in too deep, the current yardstick for affordability was often unrealistic, blocking many first-time buyers from getting on, or climbing up, the property ladder.
IMLA also applauded lenders who served loan applicants who did not fit traditional “mainstream” criteria, saying that while it may mean these customers won’t be eligible for the lowest rates advertised, they may still be able to secure a mortgage.
With climate change on the minds of many would-be buyers and renters, IMLA said it agreed that the market needed to do its part to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. But it cautioned that a piecemeal policy for obliging property owners to carry out improvements would lead to confusion and what it called “unintended consequences”. It called for a re-examination of EPCs to ensure they remained fit for purpose.
IMLA’s manifesto also argued against additional changes in capital gains tax rates, saying that they could deter investments by landlords in – and encourage others to opt out of – the now-vibrant BTL market, and as a result, lead to higher costs for renters.
The group also called on the government to find a solution to paying for the removal and replacement of flammable cladding.
It estimated the costs of remediation work on existing structures to be between £15bn and £50bn, and said the government had only offered £5bn so far. IMLA called for legislation that clearly identified who was responsible for defective construction and how to pay for ongoing maintenance to protect leaseholders.
Imla: Intermediary confidence driven by record business levels hit Q3 high
Imla data confirmed this had also driven industry confidence up from July to August last year with 63 per cent of intermediaries ‘very confident’ and 98 per cent confident about the industry’s prospects overall.
Intermediary confidence in the business outlook for their own firms also reached a three-year high, as the average number of Decisions in Principles (DIPs) that intermediaries processed in Q3 softened very slightly in July and August. However, volumes in September bounced back to reach the highest level seen since this time last year.
This came in the build up to the end of the government’s stamp duty holiday, with slow month-on-month increases from July to August, and a spike in September ahead of the month-end deadline.
The proportion of DIPs resulting in a DIP accept picked up strongly this quarter, reaching 85 per cent seeing a return to pre-pandemic levels.
The proportion of full applications resulting in a mortgage offer increased by three per cent to 89 per cent – the highest level reported since the end of 2019.
Overall conversion from offer to completion increased for the third successive quarter to 79 per cent and the conversion rate was higher at every level of the chain compared to the previous quarter, although these levels still remain below the high pre-pandemic levels.
Kate Davies, executive director, IMLA said these positive findings reflected a strong housing and mortgage market recovery in 2021.
“Our latest research into ‘underserved borrowers’ shows that over the next 12 months lenders are expecting to see numerous borrowers with complex financial situations, including those with credit impairments, and self-employed applicants.
“However, our research also found that lenders are willing to lend to complex borrowers, and that there are mortgage options available to those who have struggled financially as a result of the pandemic. For example, 88 per cent of lenders said that they would lend to self-employed borrowers, and 71 per cent said they would lend to those with irregular incomes.
“Advice is crucial, and with record numbers of maturities in the market at the moment, advisers will play an important role in helping those with complicated and complex financial circumstances find the most suitable deal.”
For the data itself co-ordinated by research agency BVA BDRC, click here.
Trade bodies welcome BoE’s affordability test consultation
In its biannual Financial Stability report yesterday, the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said that it would launch a consultation next year into its affordability test, which stipulates borrowers should be able to afford their mortgage if their mortgage interest rate is three percentage points higher than their reversion rate.
It added that it would maintain its loan to income (LTI) limits for residential mortgages, which states that 15 per cent of the total number of new residential mortgages cannot have a LTI ratio at or greater than 4.5.
The FPC said that the LTI measure in conjunction with the FCA’s affordability test were enough to protect the UK’s financial stability.
The two FPC measures were introduced in 2014 to prevent consumers taking on unaffordable mortgages and to better integrate interest rate changes into affordability calculations.
Trade body reaction
The decision has been welcomed by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) and the Building Societies Association (BSA).
IMLA’s executive director Kate Davies said that the trade body had long argued that the BoE’s stress testing was a “barrier to homeownership” for many borrowers and it would “welcome a reduction or even removal of the current approach to affordability testing”.
She added: “We understand the importance of protecting borrowers from over-extending themselves – particularly if interest rates were to rise suddenly and excessively. However, the three per cent stress test on top of a lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) means borrowers are often being tested at completely unrealistic rates.”
She continued that the trade body’s most recent report highlighted that the stress test had been a major contributor to low levels of first-time buyers between 2008 and 2020, with an average of 270,000 per year.
Davies said that addressing this barrier would bring lenders’ affordability tests “much more into line” with what borrowers expect and can afford to pay.
This was echoed by AMI’s chairman, Robert Sinclair, who said that it was “encouraging” to see the FPC move forward with relaxing its market restrictions.
He explained: “For those that can raise the deposit required to get on the housing ladder, it has the potential to reduce the other barrier of having to stress repayments at three per cent over the revert to rate.
“This will be good news for first-time buyers in expensive parts of the country and will help those who can afford their rent to potentially reduce their payments for a home of their own.”
Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the BSA, added: “This measure mainly impacts certain borrowers, such as first-time buyers and those looking to buy in the South East, who can clearly afford a mortgage but are hindered by the requirement to test that they could still pay their mortgage if rates were in the region of six per cent plus.
“Lenders will continue to check that a mortgage is affordable both now and if interest rates increase in line with market expectations.”
Mortgage brokers and networks also widely welcomed the consultation, adding that if the affordability test was lifted it would give lenders more flexibility and give better outcomes to borrowers.
Rob Clifford, chief commercial officer of MSS, the owner of national mortgage network Stonebridge and SDL Surveying, said: “This move ultimately means that it will be up to lenders to decide how they approach new applicants, handing them the power to determine their own assessments of affordability when offering terms to intermediaries and their prospective borrowers rather than imposing a top-down approach.
“It has the potential to open up the market to more buyers and moves away from the current situation which forced lenders and intermediaries to assume very high go-to rates that were highly unlikely to ever apply to that borrower.”
He added that lenders would have to “remain prudent” amid the possibility of rate rises next year and wider market dynamics but repealing affordability test would allow mortgage lenders “to more appropriately set their risk appetites and to carefully help more borrowers”.
Martijn van der Heijden, chief financial officer at Habito, said that the BoE deciding to review lending limits would be an “improvement of method”.
He explained that “crude income multiples” that are used could be replaced with “more intelligent approaches using borrowers’ true budgets and individual risks”.
He added that new lending limits would accept that absolute levels of debt burden are lower at low interest rates, which is different to when the previous rules were set in 2014.
van der Heijden continued that it would be a better reflection of current house prices in relation to average wages.
He said that affordability had long been an issue for younger borrowers, with house price to income ratio now at 8.6 times income, short of the current cap of lending at 4.5 to five times income. He noted that there was regional variation to this, with the house price to income ratio in London at 11.7 times income, so even larger deposits were needed.
van der Heijden explained: “While this relaxing of lending caps will help ease the burden on buyers for having large deposits, lenders will vary in their offering and will also continue to judge every application individually – so it’s unlikely that six times income will be accessible to everyone.”
He added that long-term or fixed for life mortgages in the UK could be a solution as it doesn’t carry a risk of higher payments with rate rises and could allow lenders and regulators to “be more comfortable with greater levels of borrowing” if customers elect for this type of product.
Habito launched a 40-year fixed rate mortgage earlier this year.
IMLA elects 2022 management committee
Jeremy Duncombe (pictured), director of mortgage distribution at Yorkshire Building Society and managing director of Accord Mortgages, has been elected as chair.
He stepped down from vice chair and took on the chair role following the departure of Louisa Sedgwick, who was the first woman to be elected as chairman of IMLA.
Duncombe was previously director of mortgages at Legal & General for around five years and held senior roles at Santander UK and St James’s Place.
Kevin Purvey, director of mortgage distribution at Coventry Building Society, has been elected as vice chair.
He has worked with IMLA for a decade, having served as chairman between 2015 and 2016 and been a director since 2012. He has also worked at Cheltenham & Gloucester and Bank of Ireland.
Richard Beardshaw, who is HSBC’s head of sales for mortgage intermediaries, takes on the role of a director. He was previously IMLA chair from 2019 to 2021, and has held senior roles at Countrywide, Lehman Brothers and Platform Home Loans.
Sedgwick, who is deputy managing director at Hampshire Trust Bank, has also taken on a director role. She has held senior roles at Vida Home Loans and Leeds Building Society
Tracy Simpson, head of lending at Cambridge Building Society, also takes on the role of director for the first time. She has worked at Cambridge Building Society for around 12 years and prior to that spent nearly three decades at Barclays.
The four co-opted directors are: Andy Dean, head of intermediary support and new build at Nationwide, Craig McKinlay, new business director at Kensington Mortgages, Adrian Moloney, group sales director at One Savings Bank, and Steve Seal, chief executive at Bluestone Mortgages.
Both McKinlay and Seal are joining the management committee for the first time.
Kate Davies, executive director at IMLA, said: “This is IMLA’s largest management committee to date and I would like to congratulate all those who have been elected, especially Jeremy, who has done a great job as chair after stepping in on an interim basis in March 2021.
“IMLA now consists of 46 Full and 13 Associate members, and the new committee is looking forward to raising our profile, representing the sector and delivering benefits for all our members in 2022. It’s good to see a more diverse committee for 2022, with Louisa and Tracy on board, and the mix of new and experienced members should give us an excellent base on which to build in the coming year.”