Eleven months after Freedom Lending was bought by US investment giant Merrill Lynch, the firm has unveiled its new name – Wave.
The lender was given one year from the completion of the sale to Merrill on July 26 2006 to come up with a new name and brand. Since then, it has been tight-lipped about its rebrand, which has been one of the best kept secrets in the industry.
Over the past month it has been running a teaser advertising campaign featuring a pink graffiti-style squiggle obscuring the Freedom logo. This will now serve as its logo.
Colin Snowdon, chief executive officer of Wave, says: “It’s a name that is in tune with the views of our brokers and packagers.
“We asked them what was different about us. They said we were on the same wavelength as them, so Wave sprang to mind.”
The new name has received a mixed reaction from the industry.
Roger Morris, managing director of em-financial, says: “Freedom was a good name with an established reputation. The money spent on pre-launch adverts would have been better spent getting its strategy ac-ross to brokers.”
But Michael Clapper, chief ex-ecutive officer of Enterprise Group, says: “This suggests riding on the crest of a wave. It’s a pretty good name, although some people might wave goodbye.”
But Snowdon says: “It’s just a change of name – nothing else has changed.
“We pride ourselves on the way we develop personal relationships rather than taking a factory app-roach to lending. In a market that is characterised by mediocre service, this stands out.”
Freedom was sold to Merrill for an undisclosed sum last year by its parent group Freedom Finance.
Snowdon says that unlike some lenders bought by US investment banks, Merill hasn’t tinkered with the management or business proposition at Wave.
He says: “Merrill has given us the resources to grow stronger.”