It has been just over four months since you launched Foundation Home Loans. What have you learned from the process?
First, that the specialist lenders that have been operating for the past few years have done an amazing job and set an amazingly high bar for others to reach. For Foundation Home Loans to be successful in the current climate, we have to learn from this excellence and strive to be even better.
It is early days but can you give us a hint about your plans for the next 12 months?
I would not be divulging any secrets by saying that we are looking at product innovation. We have also completed an analysis of the Paratus AMC backbook, which has given us a real insight into areas that could be attractive and an acceptable risk.
What are new entrants – such as yourselves – offering that some of the larger, more established players are not?
Without going into a sales pitch, I believe that new entrants such as Foundation are offering criteria that many of our larger competitors do not have (no minimum size of studio flats being one example).
Which one thing would you change about the mortgage market?
Having been in the industry since the late 1980s and seen three very challenging troughs, perhaps we need a more steady upward curve.
Do you have any secret talents?
I am a qualified chef (I spent four years at catering college) and a former restaurateur. I am also a very average musician.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
If someone irritates you, say to yourself internally: “You are my most precious teacher for you teach me patience and tolerance.”
Who is your all-time hero?
That is a tough one. My living hero is probably Raymond Blanc. He has trained more Michelin-starred chefs than anyone in the world. Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal both worked at Le Manoir early in their careers.