View more on these topics

Unified approach can save the day

Some say it’s like the Wild West in the mortgage sector at the moment but thankfully we have our own magnificent seven.

In an unprecedented move, the heads of sev-en rival companies together representing more than 30,000 brokers recently teamed up and rode into town to present an open letter to brokers. John Malone, managing director of Premier Mortgage Service, heads the group.

The letter is an honest assessment of the state of the intermediary mortgage market and I congratulate the group for not going down a road that could have soured the relationship between brokers and lenders at this difficult time.

Instead, it takes a sympathetic view of the problems lenders are facing before pointing out that the situation will not change until the Bank of England and the government intervene to restore confidence in the wholesale markets.

I agree. We have seen market confidence falling because of write-offs due to mortgage-backed securities and there will continue to be funding problems until there is a consensus on the way to bring about a recovery.

So it’s pleasing to note that in the wake of the magnificent seven, a sheriff is also about to make his entrance. Chancellor Alistair Darling has set up a working group fo-cussed on the mortgage market.

Leading this team is deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority Sir James Crosby, who has been briefed to work with lenders, the BoE and the Treasury and report back in the summer with a plan to reopen the market.

The willingness of all players in the sector to bring something positive to the table is heartening but we must not become complacent – we’re still a long way from the sort of prosperity the market enjoyed until last year. Recent statistics from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show the take-up of mortgages has declined for four consecutive months so on the frontline, brokers must be feeling that de-spite the positive signs, tough times stilllie ahead.

But I believe that given cooperation between the government, brokers and lenders, the situation can be turned around. After all, as the chancellor says, the economy has been remarkably re-silient in recent years.

I hope the enthusiasm to resolve our problems does not fade and the momentum keeps rolling, rolling, rolling.


Crunch forces Opus to shut Glasgow office

Opus Mortgages has blamed the ongoing liquidity crisis and market downturn for the closure of its Glasgow-based operations.The office’s pipeline business has been transferred to fellow Glaswegian firm Deep Blue, although Opus’ Cumbernauld branch is still operational.Lockhart Bruce, managing director of Opus, says: “Due to economic conditions and uncertain future trading, Opus has decided to […]

Senior management reshuffle at PTP

Personal Touch Packaging has undergone a senior management reshuffle, to help boost its customer service team. PTP has placed its marketing and communications director, along with its sales director and operations director in redundancy, which has enabled it to take on five extra staff to work at the lower end of the scale.Rob Jupp, managing […]

NLA launches free sourcing service

The National Landlords Association has launched a service that allows all landlords to source competitive buy-to-let mortgages from the most popular lenders.


Neptune video: Abenomics: the impetus for Japan’s fast-track recovery?

The remarkable performance of the TOPIX over the past year has caused many sceptical equity investors to look again at the Japanese market. These returns have come despite very significant problems facing the Japanese economy. Chris Taylor, manager of the Neptune Japan Opportunities Fund, discusses these problems and whether Abenomics will be able to overcome them, enabling the market to continue to rise.

In the video, Taylor addresses the following:

• The size and speed of Japan’s unprecedented monetary policy
• Abenomics and the implications should it fail
• Corporate Japan and beneficiaries of government policy

Health - thumbnail

Healthcare predictions for 2015 from Jelf Employee Benefits

The continuing fall-out from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) review, the rise of the private GP and digital engagement will be the primary focuses in the private healthcare industry during 2015, according to Iain Laws, managing director, healthcare and group risk, at Jelf Employee Benefits.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up