How has the role of packager changed in recent years?
Not much in terms of its core offering. The sector has been through a turbulent time and come out the other side leaner and wiser. A true packager’s roots are all about finding solutions for brokers and their clients, and they lost some of that focus in the boom days. The recession forced most packagers back to those roots, finding funding solutions that were not simply top of the list on a mainstream sourcing system. Whether they work with lenders to create innovative products or even combine products to create a solution, the need for a niche service to brokers and their clients will always be there because not everyone fits the mainstream.
What does the future hold for them?
The future is the brightest it has been for a long time. The Mortgage Credit Directive will present challenges but also opportunities. In addition, technology is constantly changing, helping us to reduce costs and improve our service. More lenders will come to market and opt to use the packaged route as a key distribution channel as well as a means of controlling volumes. A packager is in a privileged position, occupying the space between broker and specialist lender. We must use that privilege wisely, adapting and innovating to meet changing broker needs.
What plans do you have for TFC over the next year?
The biggest problem is prioritising opportunities. We are looking at new distribution routes, new products, new lenders, new legislation, new ways of working together, new technology, new people joining the team and a new working environment. There is no business area that will not change in the next year so it is a hugely exciting time.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
People buy people. This is still a people business and, although you have to be up there in terms of technology, pricing and overall proposition, the thing that makes the difference is your people.
What advice would you give a new broker?
Be honest and loyal and you will not go far wrong.
Who is your all-time hero?
Churchill, for his achievements and his ability to bounce back from bad decisions.
What three things would you need if you were stranded on a desert island?
My iPhone, a pipeline to the Budweiser brewery and a case of curry powder.