News & Views

Bumper year leaves Fincorp on the lookout for new talent

Bridging lender Fincorp is on the lookout for a talented business development director and two administrative staff to help the company cope with record levels of business.

The roles will be based in the lender’s London office in St John’s Wood while the sales position may require travel across the South East.

Last year the lender reported that it had seen a 68% uplift in business over 2013 and as a result it is now looking to boost its team.

Fincorp director Nigel Alexander said: “It’s a pretty nice problem to have – but after such a busy 2013 we are now running at full capacity and there’s more business to be done. We’re not trying to build an empire at Fincorp – we’re a tightly run ship that is still rooted firmly in our history of being a family-run business. But it’s time to take some more people on.

“December was a particularly busy month for us and we are conscious that we need to scale up so that we don’t compromise on the level of service we offer brokers and clients.”

Fincorp has been a specialist in short-term finance lending for over 25 years and was originally a family-run business set up by founding partner and director Ronnie Natas.

Natas remains at the helm of the firm alongside fellow directors Nigel Alexander and Matthew Anderson.

Fincorp prides itself particularly on the fact that all the brokers the company deals with have direct access to a director who is able to make decisions relating to a deal with complete autonomy.

“It’s really important to us that our ethos of having close relationships with our intermediaries isn’t compromised,” added Alexander. “It’s also important to us that every deal gets our full attention to detail. That’s why we’re looking to hire sooner rather than later.”

Fincorp offers short-term bridging loans to property professionals in London, the South East and South West as far as Bristol. All deals are considered on individual merit, offer a flat rate of 1.5% per month and no fees.

Interested parties should contact Fincorp directly on 020 7722 7547.

Fincorp thinks: Regulation is coming to the world of bridging

By Nigel Alexander, Director, Fincorp.

I’m just going to say it. Short and sharp. Because I don’t think it’ll be popular.

I think bridging is going to be regulated.

To be fair I don’t think this is going to happen overnight but I do think it’s now on the horizon for real.

There are plenty of people in bridging who have been talking about the short-term funding market going this way for some time. Many of our lending peers have applied for and been given permissions by the Financial Conduct Authority. Others are still waiting to hear whether their applications will be successful.

We’ve also seen various players come into the market over the past five years who are already regulated and they have, to their credit, done well.

They have also shown it’s possible to do short term lending under the auspices of the regulator and still offer competitive rates.

My own feeling is that the Association of Short Term Lenders has done a stellar job liaising with the regulator about how bridging fits into the Mortgage Market Review. But with second charges and all Consumer Credit Act lending activities being supervised by the FCA after April 2014, it simply looks as though it might make more sense if the whole thing was regulated under one regime.

I am in no doubt that these comments will probably ruffle the feathers of some in the bridging market. But I’d reiterate what I’ve been saying for a long time. There is a core of lenders in the bridging market who do a very good job, operate transparently and fairly and do the best thing by their clients – whoever they might be. For these lenders, becoming regulated should just be a case of getting their applications right and being open when talking to the regulator.

It is not the behaviour of these lenders that needs to change, it’s those at the edges of the market who are flying, frankly, too close to the wind.

The obvious way to crack down on these lenders and ensure that the whole bridging market adheres to a quality standard is to make it impossible for them to operate. And that’s why it seems to me that regulation for those of us in the sensible end of the market makes sense.

How would this work in practice? Well I’d put money on it that the people who look after our sector at the FCA are debating this at the moment. Given that so much of the short-term sector is really commercial lending, by which I mean lending to businesses, property developers and professionals, it doesn’t make any sense to regulate the lending we do in the same way as residential mortgages. Affordability stress testing and monthly expenditures aren’t really relevant for short-term loans. We underwrite deals that make commercial sense and selling the property to repay the loan as a last resort is generally a lot less painful for a developer than it is for a family having their home repossessed.

But it might make sense to regulate the lenders themselves. The FCA said some time ago that it expected regulated lenders to conduct their unregulated business with the same quality assurances and standards as they did regulated business. Under a regulatory regime that enforces lender behaviour the smaller less professional lenders in the bridging market will have either to up their game or quit.

Ultimately it will mean a better bridging market for lenders, brokers and most importantly – the client.

The danger of regulation is that it heaps a lot more cost onto lenders who then inevitably have to pay for it somehow. I predicted recently that 2014 would see some lenders fall by the wayside. I would say now that a slow but nevertheless inexorable move towards regulation will probably exacerbate that.

Let us hope that if this is indeed the intention of the regulator – that it can balance the need to ensure good standards in bridging with the need for a competitive market place with products that work for the customer and don’t price them out of the market. A healthy market has lots of players offering different things to customers with widely differing needs.

Better standards are a good thing and we should welcome any move towards that. But we would urge the regulator to keep lines of communication with our industry open. The ASTL and its members are keen to make this market the best it can be.

I for one hope we can help the regulator achieve that.