Mortgage Advice Bureau reports record revenue as advisers hit 1800 – interim results
Brodnicki said: “Despite the Government-imposed restrictions and national lockdown that lasted for much of the first half, housing market activity was fueled by strong consumer demand following the re-opening of the housing market last year as well as the stamp duty holiday.”
He added that the group achieved record levels of mortgage applications and completions per adviser during the period to June.
MAB advisers achieved gross mortgage completions of £11bn in H1 2021 against £7.5bn in 2020 and £9.6bn in new mortgage lending against £6.4bn the previous year. Product transfers also rose from £1.1bn to £1.4bn.
Across the market, UK gross new mortgage lending activity (excluding product transfers) in H1 2021 rose by 58 per cent to £169.9bn compared to H1 2020, which was heavily affected by the closure of the housing market in Q2 2020, and by 34 per cent compared to H1 2019.
The only mortgage advice company listed on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) said its market share of new mortgage lending represented six per cent of the UK market in H1.
Brodnicki said: “The increase in home-mover activity was particularly pronounced, largely driven by changing working and living patterns. The 30 June 2021 stamp duty holiday deadline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland generated record completion activity levels in June 2021.”
Mortgage adviser numbers rose seven per cent to 1,694 to the 30 June 2021, but reached 1,800 after the first half period on 24 September.
The average number of mainstream advisers rose 13 per cent to 1,584 with revenue earned by each adviser up 28 per cent.
Brodnicki added: “We achieved seven per cent growth in adviser numbers despite the delay in recruitment pipeline conversion due to the UK lockdown and restrictions for much of H1. We expect to see a significant increase in adviser numbers in H2 and moving into 2022.”
The firm also reported acquisition of a 49 per cent stake in specialist new build broker Evolve FS.
MAB signed a raft of lead generation deals in H1 targeting technology helping first-time buyers acquire new homes. The firm invested in and signed a strategic lead generation deal with Boomin, a ‘next generation property portal’, which matches property buyers with targeted streets and promises the most ‘accurate online valuation’ ever
MAB is planning to provide mortgage services across various parts of the Boomin portal, with the opportunity to engage and nurture passive consumers in a meaningful way as they move to becoming active buyers.
It also reported ‘significant progress’ with its commercial deals securing early customer capture with The Nottingham Building Society’s Beehive Money app, an online saving portal and Moneybox, a consumer-facing personal finance management website and signed a long-term agreement with Moneysupermarket this week.
Brodnicki said: “I am confident the recent developments in lead generation and continued enhancements to our technology platform put MAB in an ever-stronger position to accelerate the pace of its growth.”
He added: “As customers adapt their ways of researching and buying mortgage products and services, MAB intends to be at the forefront of this change and increasingly drive a meaningful flow of quality leads through AR firms, thereby ensuring both their and the group’s future growth and success.”
MAB appoints director of commercial operations to Scotland arm
Gaughan previously worked at Countrywide Mortgage Services for four years, with his most recent role being national sales director and where led a 500-strong adviser team.
Prior to that, he held a senior role at Slater Hogg and was head of Halifax for Intermediaries.
Dominic Taddei, managing director of MAB’s regional network partner Scotland, said: “I am delighted to welcome Kevin to our senior team. With his experience and knowledge in leading large mortgage intermediary businesses, Kevin will be integral to the ongoing success and future of our organisation, especially as we look to expand once again.
“His appointment marks a significant milestone in the history of our business.”
Gaughan added: “I am really looking forward to joining such a fantastic and progressive business.
“I’m excited about working closely with the team and utilising my learning from previous roles in the lender and broker world to support the business in progressing further.”
Primis’s value could be ‘arguably more than smaller peer’ MAB
MAB’s market capitalisation was £698.7m today.
The valuation of Primis came as merger and acquisition activity is heating up in mortgage broking, which is seen as a fragmented market ripe for consolidation.
Trussle was acquired by US lender Better this month, while Foxtons is “reviewing strategic options” for its broking business Alexander Hall.
The research was produced by Zeus Capital, which was appointed as joint broker by Primis’s parent company LSL Property Services in November 2020.
Its note ranked Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) as a “smaller peer” compared to Primis.
The possible valuation range was based on size, with Primis having 2,681 advisers compared to MAB’s 1,694.
As well, LSL’s mortgage completions reached £32.6bn in the year to 31 December 2020. MAB’s completions were £17.6bn that year.
The valuation comes after a new strategy was brought into play by David Stewart, who joined LSL as group chief executive on 1 May 2020.
Stewart, who was formerly chief executive at Coventry Building Society from 2006 to 2014, has set a target for the financial services segment of LSL to become the group’s largest profit contributor by 2023.
It contributed 30 per cent to the group’s underlying operating profit in 2020. Surveying contributed 40 per cent, and estate agency services 30 per cent.
On 21 April, LSL announced a joint venture with investors Pollen Street Capital, with funds of £200m to create Pivotal Growth, a vehicle “to buy and build a major UK mortgage broking business”.
Potentially, this could provide a route for owners of firms within the Primis network who may be looking to exit.
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Financial updates came from the likes of Barclays, Virgin Money, NatWest, Lloyds and Santander. The Mortgage Advice Bureau also issued their half-year results.
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The government’s decision to remove the need for an EWS1 form when lending on buildings shorter than 18 metres was also of interest, as it signified a move which could unlock the market.
Speculation that Foxtons was looking for a buyer for its broker firm Alexander Hall also drew readers in, as did one firm’s decision to refund fees to clients unhappy with their advice.
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MAB to advise buyers on First Homes scheme pilot
Keepmoat’s development in the East Midlands is the pilot housing site for the sale of new-build homes under the First Homes banner. The homes must be sold at a guaranteed discount of 30 per cent off the local market value.
The site is located in Bolsover, Derbyshire and will contain 12 homes to be sold under the First Homes scheme.
MAB will support Keepmoat by financially qualifying buyers and working alongside Homes England.
To use the scheme, borrowers cannot earn more than £80,000 in combined annual salaries or £90,000 in London. Prices for new-build properties must not exceed more than £250,000 outside of London, or £420,000 in Greater London.
A mortgage must be used for at least 50 per cent of the discounted purchase value. Lenders supporting the scheme will offer loans up to 95 per cent loan to value.
First Homes is the government’s latest initiative to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
The government’s target is to deliver 1,500 home by autumn and has ambitions to sell at least 10,000 First Homes in total if there is demand from buyers.
Seven lenders have signed up to the scheme so far; Chorley Building Society, Darlington Building Society, Halifax, Leeds Building Society, Mansfield Building Society, Nationwide Building Society and Newcastle Building Society.
Councils have discretion to extend the discount to 40 per cent or 50 per cent if needed.
The discount will be passed on with the property sale to future first-time buyers, which the government says will benefit local communities and key workers who can be prioritised for these homes.
Mark Pender, business principal and new-build specialist at MAB, said: “New build is often complex in terms of mortgage advice and requires specialists to understand the finer details of schemes such as this.
“We’re proud to be one of the first and only mortgage broker firms supporting the government’s next big affordable housing project, with the Help to Buy scheme ending in 2023.”
Tim Wray, group development director at Keepmoat Homes, said: “It is great to be part of this initiative which will help even more people realise their dream of owning their own home.”
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Lender’s latest rate cuts, new product launches and criteria changes were popular stories, while the new Deposit Unlock scheme was launched with Newcastle Building Society as the first lender.
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MAB hires FSE’s James Prosser to direct media and events strategy
Prosser will be tasked with engaging MAB’s advisers and lender community with education and insight content through various multimedia platforms including digital broadcasting, events and publications.
He will step down from his current position as managing director at the Financial Services Expo (FSE), which he founded in 2013. FSE was acquired by Shard Media Group in January last year.
Prosser (pictured) said: “I can’t wait to get going. This is a new role and opportunity to shape something spectacular. As the UK’s most recognised mortgage broker, MAB is an extremely reputable brand and has a direct influence on the lender community. I’m excited to enhance the already strong MAB proposition by delivering thought-provoking content to lenders and brokers through a variety of multimedia platforms.
“The pandemic has forced businesses to think differently about how they share information with individuals and collaborate with other firms, and I believe my wealth of experience in this environment will bring lots of value to the MAB group.”
He added: “I’m really proud of what we achieved with FSE and will be leaving the business in good hands. I’ve no doubt it will continue to flourish under the ownership of SMG, with the return of physical events just around the corner.”
Nottingham Mortgage Services to be sold to Belvoir and serviced by MAB
NMS, which was launched in 2014 and provides tailored advice and searches thousands of mortgages from several lenders, will be sold to the Belvoir Group and 27 NMS team members will move to Belvoir.
They will continue their current work as representatives of MAB, who will take over the provision of the service alongside Belvoir.
Other impacted roles are being supported by The Nottingham, with redeployment options available and no compulsory redundancies.
The new partnership will focus on extending the Society’s digital footprint, especially to its digital-first members who will use the Beehive Money app when it launches later this year.
The Beehive Money App will be the home of all the Society’s online savings accounts, including its Lifetime ISA, and users of the app will also be able to access digital mortgage advice facilitated by MAB.
The Nottingham CEO David Marlow said that there was strong appetite for its digital proposition, with more than 50,000 18-39-old Lifetime ISA savers and a strong cohort of first-time buyers looking to get on the property ladder.
He added: “The evolution of our mortgage proposition and our ambition to provide this digitally, as well as face to face, is further progression in our reinvention journey and reflects our ongoing aim of serving our members with products and services that are relevant to them as individuals and deliver value to them in the most effective and efficient way possible,” he continued.
MAB CEO Peter Brodnicki (pictured) said: “The Society is a modern, mutual organisation with a long legacy of doing the right thing by its members and it’s great to know that with this partnership, we will have the opportunity to provide digital led, in-app mortgage and protection advice, through our experienced advisers who will be helping tens of thousands achieve their home buying goals.”
DIFF podcast: Imposter syndrome makes me worry I’ve been hired ‘to tick a box’
Chloe Hylton, regional manager and surveyor at Legal and General Surveying Services, said although being of mixed heritage had not been a hurdle in her career, her insecurities made her wonder if she had been given a job to fill a quota.
Hylton also questioned if her “more palatable” appearance made her an easy diversity hire.
She said: “I have what a lot of people call ‘light skin privilege’. Most people, when they look at me, they don’t actually think that I am mixed heritage.
“I have quite pale skin and if I straighten my hair, I do think most people think I might have had a bit of lip filler and a bit of fake tan. So, I don’t actually look very ethnically diverse.”
Hylton added: “Whilst I haven’t had any hurdles against me for my ethnicity, there’s always been something in the back of my mind that because I tick a diversity box and a lot of companies do try to up their numbers. . . the way that I look, people’s perception of me might be that I’m more palatable for an ethnic minority. Because I don’t look the way that a lot of other people do, it’s fine and it’s an easier win.”
“Maybe that speaks a bit more to my imposter syndrome that I worry that because I’m a woman and because I do tick some boxes, I’m more of a preferred option because it reflects well on a company,” she said.
Open up the talent pool
When asked how to overcome the feeling that someone had been given a job or promotion because they came from an underrepresented group, Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) said the sector had a responsibility to widen its net when looking for recruits to improve its overall diversity.
He said: “I don’t think as a sector generally we’re trying hard enough to do that at the moment. I think if we look at traditional recruitment agencies and recruitment policies, they archetypally made up of the typical footprint of ethnicity and gender.
“Where we can try a bit harder is to proactively go after real talent that belongs to different categories.”
While he did not agree with the practice of filling quotas to manage statistics, Thompson said widening the scope and looking for people in different areas would open up the talent pool before eventually narrowing to give the role to the most suitable candidate.
He also acknowledged that the mortgage industry had made progress with gender diversity but was still behind on ethnicity.
Signs of imposter syndrome
Thompson said he had not seen evidence of imposter syndrome among his workforce and praised the industry for normalising diversity and giving his colleagues the confidence to feel secure in their roles.
However, Hylton pointed out that the sense of not belonging could present itself in numerous ways that might not be noticeable to others.
She said: “Trying to overachieve, working extra for longer and also if anything does go wrong, how that’s handled internally. The devastation, the worry, the concern that ‘you’re wrong, you’re not good enough,’ and then the spiral out of that.
“It tends to be those kinds of things that you wouldn’t necessarily identify as imposter syndrome but will kind of be evident in some of their actions.”
Hylton said it could also be a sign if someone was unwilling to accept praise for doing a good job.
“When something is either going really well and they won’t want to take the compliment. Or tell you that it was everybody else’s input not theirs.
“Or when something doesn’t go quite that well and it’s the sheer angst, ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to be found out, I shouldn’t be here, I’m not good enough,’ and how that comes out in a workplace,” she added.
Safety concerns as a woman
Although Hylton said her ethnicity had not held her back, she said being a woman meant certain health and safety worries were at the forefront of her mind.
“That centres around lone working. As a woman going into empty properties, dealing with the general public, working at height, there are safety implications with that,” she said.
Hylton said she had got into the habit of asking companies about what safety measures they had in place whenever she was interviewed for a position, which was something her male counterparts might not consider.
She said the surveying industry was already doing well to protect its employees with panic alarms and automated calls to emergency services the onus was on the sector to make these protections clearer so the role of a surveyor would be more appealing to women generally.
Hylton added: “That’s why I ask it in my interviews. Because I’m female and I think it’s important to me. But if a male colleague was interviewing a woman, they might not think to actually push that and make it really clear about the lengths that we as a company go to, to ensure her safety as much as we can.”