Reasons for setting up the new arm of Fluent Money, thoughts on the status of the second charge sector – and a talent that perhaps should remain a secret
Fluent for Advisers launched earlier this year. What was the motivation for introducing the new arm of Fluent Money and how is it going?
The move was designed to split the company’s business channels and provide adviser firms and networks with a clearly defined resource. This can comprise either a full referral and advice service or a selection of potential products from which brokers can make recommendations.
The new focus has paid dividends in bringing our proposition to the intermediary market, which has responded very positively to Fluent for Advisers. We are delighted with the results.
How has the second charge market looked, business-wise, for the year to date?
We were always optimistic that, even with the MCD, new business would not be affected. In fact, as we had hoped, it has been positive for the second charge market, with more brokers considering the sector for alternatives to remortgaging, which is what the regulator wanted in encouraging greater choice for borrowers. Figures from the Finance & Leasing Association show a 17 per cent increase in new business for the year to August 2016.
What are Fluent’s main focuses at the moment?
We are working hard to build our relationships with networks and increase our profile among individual intermediaries as a logical choice to partner them and provide the knowledge, support and process to ensure their customers make the right choices.
How long have you been in your current role and where were you previously?
I have headed Fluent’s intermediary business since it started. Before the credit crunch I was at Loanmakers, a second charge master broker.
I started my career at Reekie Group – which sells agricultural equipment – and stayed there for 12 years before moving to Seddon Plant and Engineers, at the time the largest construction conglomerate in the UK, where I was Scottish area manager for 14 years.
At the age of 40 I wanted a new career and was familiar with parts of the finance industry through our leasing programmes. Also, I was impressed watching a friend set up his own second charge brokerage, which soon became one of the largest of its kind in the UK.
I have been with Kevin Hindley, chief executive at Fluent Money, ever since.
What appeals to you about the industry?
I love the dynamism reflected by lenders, distributors and intermediaries in the sector. We are lucky in the second charge channel to be involved in a market that is taking its place as a fully fledged and integral part of every adviser’s options for clients wishing to raise capital.
If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?
I’d have been an artist. If it wasn’t for my lack of real talent, I’d be selling my paintings rather than giving them away to family and friends.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
Neil Armstrong. Like many of my generation, growing up and reading about super-hero Dan Dare in the Eagle comic, and then watching on TV the real-life Dan Dare, Neil Armstrong, going into space and stepping onto the surface of the Moon, has always stayed with me.
Do you have any secret talents?
I can tell the sex of sheep just by looking at them!
What do you do in your spare time?
I paint (watercolours), play guitar and watch football, although not at the same time. I spend a lot of spare time on my motorbike and find cooking for the family relaxing. I also love watching One Man and his Dog.
What is the best advice you have received?
Never trust a car driver when riding a motorbike.
If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?
Impose an immediate transparent tax system on multinationals, for all sales made within the UK.
I would also reintroduce full grants for students in traditional subjects, with a weighted system to encourage those from poorer backgrounds.
Year established: 2008, as Fluent Money
Address: 102 Rivington House, Chorley New Road
Lancashire BL6 5UE
Tel: 01204 477600
Fluent Money is the largest second charge master broker in the UK. Fluent for Advisers was launched in mid-2016 with a focus solely on the intermediary market.