Are you looking to take on your former employer PMS with SimplyBiz Mortgages?
No – the ambition is to continue to improve the club for members. We’re different to the other mortgage clubs in that you have to be a member of Simply Biz group – we have 2,700 directly authorised firms, most of whom are IFAs.
So our focus is on improving our proposition and providing better value to our members. But we have ambitious growth plans and that will be a twofold process – the first is to help existing members do more business with us and the second is that we’ll be looking to attract new members.
What do you make of the state of the market?
It’s still topsy-turvy. We’ve seen a lot of improvement in criteria and new products from lenders, which is encouraging. On their own none of these is the silver bullet that will create another £30bn of lending, but it’s all positive and gives opportunities to help more clients.
Where do you think the growth areas will be in 2012?
Buy-to-let will continue to grow. The entry of Santander is good as is Woolwich widening its proposition. We will also see a few more lenders getting competitive at the 90% LTV mark in the mainstream residential sector – these are the two main growth areas I can see.
You’ve previously worked at the likes of edeus and BM Solutions – what inspired you to get into financial services?
My first job was a six-month placement at the dole office as a data collation assistant. I had to sign the Official Secrets Act to do it. Then in 1989 I went to work for Royal Insurance so, like lots of people, I just fell into financial services but have enjoyed it so much I haven’t left.
Do you have any secret talents?
The only thing I’ve done that people don’t know about is that I have walked down the catwalk in a fashion show. It was bridal wear and I was escorting numerous brides down the runway in the mid-1990s.
Excluding property, what has been your most expensive purchase?
People who know me will understand that I’m quite tight so this is a tricky question. I don’t like to spend things on myself so my most expensive gift would involve the wife, but I don’t want to say more.
Interview by Robert Thickett