One to One: Jonathan Caplan, director, First 4 Bridging

caplan-jonathan-first4bridging

The natural fit between bridging and mortgage loans, addressing negative perceptions ­– and a likely call-up to play for the England cricket team

Where do you feel the bridging sector sits in relation to the rest of the mortgage market?

It fits very closely with it. Bridging is a big part of the overall mortgage/loan family and there is a natural fit between the sectors. After all, how many mortgage loans would naturally follow on from the completion of an initial bridging loan? A huge number.

That’s why it’s important there’s a strong level of knowledge from advisers about how bridging finance and mortgage loans can work together, and about the requirements of lenders that span both areas.

Bridging should be a natural part of the mortgage adviser’s toolkit. That is not to say they should be experts in this area because it requires specialist knowledge. However, to my mind all advisers should have a relationship with a business like ours.

The bridging sector often suffers from an image problem. What are you doing at First 4 Bridging to rectify this?

You could say the same, historically at least, about a number of areas within financial services. Any negative image is a hangover from the past and doesn’t tell the truth about the bridging market today.

Since the credit crunch, the bridging market has grown, matured and developed into a far different proposition from a decade or so ago.

The quality of the lenders active in the marketplace – certainly those on our panel – is plain to see and you would never put them near the bracket of some of the propositions that have crashed and burned. These are professional, authorised outfits that are specialists themselves.

We focus on our service, professionalism and ability to work quickly, effectively and flexibly. Given the nature of bridging and development finance, you are often working within a shortened timeframe, but this doesn’t mean that the quality should suffer. Indeed, the intermediaries, brokers and advisers we work with demand the same service levels as they would provide themselves.

Have you any changes planned for 2017?

We intend to keep doing what we’re doing with regard to our core bridging/development finance proposition and we aim to spread the message about where these products are suitable to a much wider base of potential introducers.

We work across a number of sectors, including accountants, solicitors, architects and auction houses, and it often surprises these people that, by simply knowing about the bridging/development finance market, they can benefit their client base.

We want to broaden the knowledge of these professions to ensure that clients do not miss out on readily available finance.

How long have you been in your current role and where were you previously?    

I joined in August this year. Previously I was principal at bridging lender Lowry Capital.

If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?    

Play professional cricket. I love the game and, judging by England’s recent results in Bangladesh, I’m not ruling myself out of a call-up for the tour to India.

Who is your all-time hero, and why? 

Former Man Utd footballer Norman Whiteside – a quality player from a bygone era. He loved kicking Scousers – on the pitch, of course.

Do you have any secret talents? 

I’m really interested in photography. I find it a great release to go out and concentrate solely on creating an image to print and keep.

What do you do in your spare time?                 

Flippantly, I may say: keep out of my wife’s way.

What is the best advice you have received?

It’s a cliché but very pertinent, especially in financial services and, above all, the provision of advice: always treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself.

If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities? 

I’d reverse the recent stamp duty increase for additional properties.

It’s had a negative impact on purchase demand while doing nothing to help first-time buyers. I hope Philip Hammond reverses it later this month in his first Autumn Statement.

COMPANY PROFILE

Year established: 2001
Headcount: 12
Address: Atrium Court, The Ring, Bracknell, RG12 1BW
Web: www.f4b.co.uk

HISTORY
First 4 Bridging is a master broker and has been arranging bridging loans for 15 years.