As the new managing director of Bluestone Mortgages, what drew you to the role?
I understand the Bluestone business model well, having known the business and senior management team for over 15 years. I have always respected their drive, determination and ambition.
Being heavily focused on specialist mortgages in the UK and Scandinavia since 2000, I am a huge fan of the market and think the next three to five years will be fascinating.
Where did you work previously?
I worked for Barclays in London for 19 years, until early 2007, and was funding numerous specialist lenders in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia.
I have spent the past 10 years as MD/CEO of Bluestep Bank AB, the largest specialist mortgage lender in Scandinavia. Kensington was an early shareholder in Bluestep and, since 2008, Bluestep has been owned by Bregal Capital, a UK private equity firm. It has grown to be the dominant specialist mortgage lender in Sweden and Norway.
How important are mortgage brokers to the success of your business?
They are vital because we are an intermediary-only business. We are investing heavily in our salesforce and IT systems to give them the support they need.
As a specialist lender, what are some of Bluestone’s USPs?
We pride ourselves on our service and being always approachable and open.
Our customers normally do not fit the traditional high-street lender mould, so we take the time to understand each customer’s situation, enabling us to make informed lending decisions.
Brokers have direct access to our underwriters, so they can develop a deeper understanding of these decisions and build relationships.
What has been the best part of your job so far?
Getting on the road and meeting brokers, packagers, clubs and networks. I have been out every week meeting key introducers to find out how we can support their businesses, and to get feedback on the market.
What plans are in place for business growth at Bluestone in the next 12 months?
We are still a young business in the UK and the next 12 months will be hugely important. We have ambitious growth plans and have increased the headcount greatly in the past few months, with extra hires coming on board soon.
We plan some important IT developments to improve integration with introducers, develop and extend our product range further, and diversify our funding options.
Which one change would you like to see in the UK mortgage market?
Having worked in Sweden and Norway, I see many improvements that would be great in the UK market. One would be to speed up the process of purchasing a property.
If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?
I wanted to be a footballer but was never more than a very average pub league player. I considered construction because most of my family work in the industry.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
Sir Alex Ferguson: the best football manager ever, who achieved so much at Aberdeen and Man Utd.
What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
With three young daughters I rarely get to choose. The last one was animated kids film Sing; I managed to stay awake.
What do you do in your spare time?
Any spare time is spent socialising with friends and family, travelling, swimming or watching sports events, ideally live.
What is the best advice you have received?
Be yourself, be nice to people and build a great team around you.
If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?
Education, healthcare and infrastructure. It would be great to have a long-term cross-party plan for all of these and I would fund UK-wide super-fast internet access.
Year established: 2000
Address: First Floor, Melbourne House,
44-46 Aldwych, London WC2B 4LL
Tel: 0800 368 1833
Bluestone is a fast-growing, multinational financial services business specialising in loan origination, consumer loan purchase and debt servicing. Bluestone has a number of established lending businesses in Australia and Ireland and is owned by a mix of private and institutional shareholders.