What did it mean to you to win the lifetime achievement award at the Mortgage Strategy Awards last week?
It was one of the nicest shocks I have ever had and an amazing feeling. A number of industry greats have been recipients of this award and I am in awe to have been considered and honoured this way. My sincere thanks to all those who made this possible.
How has the market changed since you started out?
When I started there were no controls and you could get away with just about anything. The industry is much more structured and regulated now, which is to everybody’s benefit. Another major change is that there are dramatically fewer lenders now than there were then.
What has been the highlight of your time in the industry so far?
There have been many, but the main two are working with Stephen Knight at Citibank as I learnt a lot in a short time from him, and chairing the Professional Mortgage Packagers Alliance in the mid-2000s.
What first inspired you to get into mortgages?
It was a complete accident – I was working for an under-floor heating company when I registered with a recruitment firm, which placed me at the Provincial Building Society as a BDM. But since I joined the mortgage industry I haven’t wanted to leave – it’s like a big family where everyone knows everyone.
If you were in charge of the Financial Services Authority for a day, what would you change?
I would want to establish beyond doubt that there will still be a market once all the regulatory changes such as the Mortgage Market Review and the European directive have come into force.
If you could invite three people to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Margaret Thatcher, because she is of my era and I admire her drive and determination, Catherine Bramwell-Booth, the grand-daughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, because she was outspoken and Spike Milligan, because he was an influential comedian and fascinating person.
Do you have any secret talents?
In the 1960s I competed in 10 pin bowling at world championship level, and nowadays I conduct a local brass band and a choir.
What book are you reading?
I am not reading anything at the moment but my favourite is Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – it is completely off the wall and appeals to my sense of humour.
Interview by Tessa Norman