A new operation through packagers, helping customers with complex mortgage needs and an unrealised space odyssey
You have just been asked to head Kensington’s specialist distribution partnerships. Why have you decided to operate through packagers for the first time since returning to new lending in 2009?
Specialist distributors have proven a key channel for Kensington in the past because they provide brokers with a simple way of sourcing and placing their more complex cases. In research we carried out last year, we found that nearly one in five brokers would speak to a specialist distributor first if they had a case that did not fit a high-street lender.
It makes sense that they should speak to a specialist and this is a distribution channel that is growing in importance. Today’s specialist distributors have both expertise and new standards of professionalism and this is a great opportunity to leverage the extended reach and packaging capability of these firms.
We want to help more customers whose real-life circumstances get in the way of a standard mortgage application, so this is a really exciting development for Kensington and an important step for the growth of our business.
What new product lines or criteria changes can brokers expect from Kensington over the coming year?
We have an exciting calendar of initiatives this year with changes that are all designed to help more customers whose real-life circumstances lead to a more complex mortgage application.
This includes developments in affordability, large loans and buy-to-let. We will be working closely with intermediaries, including our specialist distribution partners, to refine these products and bring them to market.
In your opinion, in what state of health is the specialist lending market?
It is in a healthy place and there is plenty of room for growth. You could argue that the sector historically handled mortgages with a greater risk profile.
Today’s market specialises in mortgages that pose greater complexity and require an individual approach to underwriting, such as self-employed, contractors and larger loans.
This has been the case for a number of years and you get the sense that this new specialist sector is maturing and becoming truly understood and appreciated by the wider market.
As employment patterns continue to change and the financial circumstances of the population become more diverse, we expect the specialist market to gain a larger foothold within the mortgage landscape.
As a child, what was your dream job?
Having received a book about astronauts, I harboured dreams of travelling into space to boldly go where no boy had gone before.
Do you have any secret talents?
As a parent, I have a secret ability to build/create/stitch/glue all and any school costumes/projects required at the 11th hour.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
When I was a young man my Dad told me: “Always drink a pint of milk before going out and never drink from the punchbowl.”
This has stood me in good stead.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
Richard Branson – a man who always believes in himself and is the true definition of entrepreneurship.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Helping my two sons grow into confident, polite and caring young men (or perhaps that is my wife’s greatest accomplishment).
Year established: 1995
Headcount: Kensington is part of The Northview Group, which has around 500 employees and is growing
Lending in 2015: 2015/16 was a great year with completions up 29 per cent on the previous year
Ascot House, Maidenhead Office Park, Maidenhead SL6 3QQ
Tel: 0800 111 020
Kensington started lending in 1995 and, over the past two decades, its contribution to helping customers has been recognised with a number of awards, including The Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
In its 20-year history, Kensington has completed nearly 200,000 mortgage loans, worth nearly £18bn. As part of this, Kensington has helped around 85,000 customers to buy their own home, including nearly 33,000 first-time buyers.