Mole knows that you mortgage brokers are facing “tighter margins” “expensive overheads” and any other ways of getting out of buying your round, but the unseemly free-for-all at last week's Expo mortgage conference was unsurpassed. Now Mole is not averse to a good freebie himself – champagne and days out, ahoy – but really, brokers snaffling up every mug or cheap umbrella a lender can stick its logo on. At the Bristol & West stand, staff struggled to keep up with demand for plastic rulers, after one broker trousered a full eight of the prestige objects in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, the Cornish pasties on Solent's stand disappeared rather quickly into one Mr Nick Baxter of Mortgage Promotions. No, Mole believes in a more quality freebie, such as that on offer from Future mortgages in the form of large vodka shots. A higher class event altogether will, of course, be taking place on May 13, 2003…
Speaking of Nick Baxter, Mole hears the poor man suffered a run-in with Prudential's John Malone. “John must have cleared the bar within minutes,” Baxter sighed. “He came over put his arms around me and said 'You're a f***ing wa**er. I'd never employ you!' I couldn't understand it at first but I think he had a problem with my qualifications – the trouble is, you see, that I've got quite a lot of them. Anyway, like I'd ever work for John Malone! I mean, who would?”
Faced with the cauldron of titillation that is the internet, some of us know where to head for a good time. But not so Stephen Smith, director of housing marketing at Legal & General. Instead of tracking celebs sans clothes, Smith prefers the rather more staid delights of sites such as the Food Standards Agency and the Federation of Sports at Altitude. As astute readers will have spotted, Smith's passion is for any organisation that shares the same acronym as our beloved Financial Services Authority.
And Smith's favourite? The tongue twisting Florida Society of Anaestheologists. “It's touch and go if these people can put you to sleep faster than our own FSA,” quips Smith.
Mole thought he had stumbled into a hornet's nest last week during the NACFB's AGM. Just as the formalities were reaching their close, with an assessment of the organisation's turnover and expenses for the year, one member thought he had spotted a £20,000 black hole in the figures. Drowsy eyes suddenly widened as those present witnessed an unexpected stand-off, at least until treasurer-turned-troubleshooter, David Whittaker leapt up to explain the shortfall, showing that all was indeed present and correct. Those finance brokers are a tempestuous breed but rest assured, if Mole hears that Herons are migrating to sunnier climes, he will be hot on the trail.
John Malone (left) and Mortgage Strategy editor and failed mole-handler, Robyn Hall discuss work at the recent Chicago mortgage bash. Music by Kool & the Gang. Styling by Stevie Wonder.