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60 Seconds with… Martin Stewart, director, London Money

Stewart-Martin

Following the recent proposal by the Scottish government that it will look to reform the current Stamp Duty slab structure next April, should Westminster follows suit?

Absolutely. How to do it, I am not sure. They would have to raise bandings, for example, start taxing at higher levels. I do not think we can move away from the slab structure entirely right now although the argument has been around for some time. A progressive tax is a good idea but historically they have just changed the bandings. To change the structure might be a bit brutal and too much too soon but a positive start would be to make the initial threshold higher.

What impact will HSBC have on the broker market?

This is a difficult question as it depends on certain factors. I suspect it will have to be very tight on its criteria simply so it can handle the business volumes it will receive thanks to the low rates it has. If the market was all about rates, it would be all about HSBC but the key issue in the modern market is simple. Will the borrower get the money? In truth, if HSBC is offering my client 1.75 per cent and Woolwich was offering 1.99 per cent, I would more than likely recommend the Woolwich because they are more likely to get the property.

As an avid Twitter user, how important is it to your business? And what tips would you offer other brokers?

It is essential. I would say currently, Twitter is the most important aspect of our marketing plans. I do not do Facebook because frankly I am too old for all that. 

Aside from winning the Mortgage Strategy caption competition recently, what would you list as your biggest achievement so far?

That is my biggest achievement. Honestly speaking, I would say still being in the industry after the last five years is a pretty significant achievement. You look at the brokers left in the market and you see its the quality players that did things the right way and that must be commended.

What would you be doing if you were not a broker?

If I was not doing this I would be a writer. Preferably 140 characters at a time. 

What is your favourite film and why?

The Wolf of Wall Street as it almost reminded me of the career I could have had. 

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