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Mortgage  P r o f e s s i o n a l

Issue 23 Spring 2019


What new innovations can we expect from the mortgage market in 2019?

Opportunity knocks Why offset mortgages are fantastic news for brokers

Mind the gap Tips for advisers on overcoming protection hurdles

Free of the chains Exciting new use cases for bridging finance


HITTING THE ROAD Introducing the first issue of 2019, Lee Travis looks forward to the upcoming SMP roadshows


Mortgage Club, tells us what challenges and opportunities this year could hold for the housing market, followed by an insightful look at bridging finance by Harry Landy of Enterprise Finance. Amanda Doherty, from Royal London, offers advisers guidance on addressing the protection gap, while Kevin Purvey, from Coventry Building Society, helps bust the myths surrounding offset mortgages. Five things brokers need to know in 2019 come from Lisa Campion, of Precise Mortgages, and to round us off, Jason Ruse, from Key Partnerships, explains how to help clients explore the options of equity release referrals. There is even a quiz on our back page to test your knowledge, with a selection of questions to challenge yourself on. A big thank you to all our contributors for helping us bring you a fantastic first issue of the year. I hope you enjoy the magazine and look forward to seeing you out on the road in the coming months. Lee Travis is partnerships and member engagement director at the Society of Mortgage Professionals




Central Scotland


DoubleTree by Hilton, Dunblane

Merseyside and Lancashire


Mercure Hotel, Haydock



Ramada, Sutton Coldfield



Exeter Racecourse

Thames Valley


Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Reading



Cavendish America Square, London



Peterborough, Marriott / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019



elcome to the new edition of Mortgage Professional and please let me begin by wishing all our members a happy and successful 2019. The Society of Mortgage Professionals has already begun planning its roadshows and we will soon be heading out across the UK to kick off our face-to-face events, starting in the spring. From March, we will be travelling to seven locations – see dates below – to welcome our members out on the road, so please take a look and book a place at your nearest venue now for free. We will be working with some of the best subject matter experts in our sector, covering a broad range of important educational topics for your ongoing continuing professional development (CPD). This issue will touch on some of these sessions to give you an insight into the programme. To start us off, Kevin Roberts, of Legal and General

O U T L O O K F O R 2 0 1 9


ll in all, 2018 was a busy year for the housing market. Interest rates reached their highest level for almost a decade, the UK Chancellor announced an extension of the government’s Help to Buy Scheme until 2023 and we are now starting to see how technology is being embraced by the profession to deliver the frictionless mortgage. So, what can we expect from 2019?

HELP TO BUY AND BUILD Help to Buy continues to play a significant role in the housing market. It is great to see continued government support for housing and affordable home ownership schemes. The Chancellor’s announcement of the scheme’s extension until 2023 is clearly testament to this, providing support to firsttime buyers saving for a deposit, while also giving clarity to builders for long-term planning.

SLOW AND STEADY The Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates from 0.5% to 0.75% appears to have had little impact on costs for consumers, as mortgage rates remain near record lows. Competition between lenders remains fierce and this is limiting any upward pressure on overall market rates. Looking forward, we expect future rises to be gradual and mortgage rates to remain attractive for consumers. The mortgage market also continues to offer a growing number of innovative solutions that are helping borrowers move onto, up or even down the property ladder. We are also seeing an increase in family-assisted options, whereby some mortgages allow families to add their incomes together to boost their borrowing potential.

DELIVERING THE FRICTIONLESS MORTGAGE As we move through 2019, we expect to see much more integration of technology in the mortgage market, to the benefit of brokers and consumers. At Legal & General, we have a vision to move the intermediated mortgage process from days and weeks, to just hours. We’ve recently launched SmartrCriteria, our new criteria search tool, which offers advisers 394,000 criteria outcomes from more than 95 lenders across the residential, buy-to-let and new-build sector. The technology behind the system does the heavy lifting for advisers, meaning they will have more time to focus on what really matters: quality mortgage and protection advice. It is important that as a profession we grasp the benefits that technology can bring and improve customer experience – we need to avoid outside disruptors doing this for us. Becoming ‘frictionless’ means giving people options for self-service and digital interaction. It will mean integrating with lenders to find better ways to bring valuations and conveyancing seamlessly into the process, and better systems for brokers to track the application process. At Legal & General Mortgage Club, we are excited to see what challenges and opportunities 2019 has in store. ● Kevin Roberts is director at Legal & General Mortgage Club



ROOM FOR GROWTH The buy-to-let, later life and specialist sectors of the market still represent great opportunities for brokers, and this is where we are likely to see further growth. We are seeing increasing number of exciting options become available to help a growing number of customers, as lenders widen their criteria and expand their product range. We would therefore encourage brokers to ensure they continue to research and keep up to date with changes in these more niche areas of the market that offer value to their customers.

After a busy 2018 for the housing market, Kevin Roberts looks at what we can expect in the coming year…


CUSTOMER RETENTION With refinancing, remortgaging and product transfers set to remain a key part of the market this year, there is the need for advisers to stay close to their clients. Advisers need to ensure that they focus on customer retention and the further opportunities that are there with existing clients. / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019



BUILDING BRIDGES Bridging finance is fast becoming the go-to solution for a variety of situations beyond the traditional broken chain, as Harry Landy reveals‌

4 / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019




ridging finance has become indelibly associated with the classic ‘chain-break’ scenario, saving a property transaction when a buyer pulls out. But the speed and flexibility bridging finance offers also make it the go-to funding solution for a variety of situations. Bridging can be used for both residential and commercial property transactions. Its flexibility makes it suitable as a funding vehicle for businesses in need of a short-term cash injection or to pay a tax bill. However, it is primarily a product used by property developers and buyto-let landlords who are looking to buy, develop and sell property. The speed and flexibility of bridging finance makes it an increasingly popular option, which has encouraged new lenders to enter the market. The net effect is that rates have been driven down, making them cheaper than ever, with rates starting at 0.44% a month. Bridging finance also carries no early repayment charges (ERCs). Bridging is designed to be a shortterm funding gap – with a clear and transparent exit strategy. This exit can come in the shape of the sale of the property or refinancing with a traditional lender. But the short-term nature of the loan – with a defined exit route – makes it the most accessible and flexible type of finance. Here, we outline some examples of the adaptable and innovative ways bridging has helped our clients:

BRIDGING IS DESIGNED TO BE A SHORT-TERM FUNDING GAP – WITH A CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT EXIT STRATEGY GRADE II LISTED AUCTION PROPERTY Our client wanted to purchase an auction property but several factors made this a complex case. Listed buildings are frequently categorised as homes of non-standard construction. Auction houses stipulate that full payment should be made within 28 days of the winning bid being made. And lastly, the property was uninhabitable, without a kitchen and bathroom. These largely rule out most first-charge high street lenders. In this scenario, the benefits of a bridging loan are clear – the speed in processing the application meant full payment to the auction house could be made within the deadline, as well as providing the funds needed to carry out the necessary refurbishment in order to refinance with a traditional mortgage.

GIFTED DEPOSIT One client wanted to help their son get on the property ladder – and decided to use the equity in their property as a gifted deposit. With the son flying the nest, they were also in the position to downsize. They would be looking to sell the property within a year, so this ruled out other sources of finance that would have incurred ERCs. We brokered a bridging loan as a second charge on the property. The borrower was able to gift the deposit, have ample time to find their next property and repay the loan on sale. In this instance, / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019

bridging finance was much cheaper than other more traditional routes as they were able to avoid ERCs.

DEVELOPMENT BUILD Another case study we have involved a client wanting to purchase a house and the land it was on. His aim was to build an additional property on the acquired land then split the title. The sale of this second property would be their exit. Many traditional lenders see this scenario – splitting titles – as problematic as it ultimately decreases the value of the first property. However, bridging was the perfect funding vehicle for this project as the client was able to buy both the land and property – and build the additional property.

JAPANESE KNOTWEED Japanese knotweed can wreak havoc on a property’s foundations, drainage systems and walls. During the summer months, the plant can grow at a rate of one foot a week! Unsurprisingly, many lenders will insist on having it removed by horticultural specialists with an insurance-backed guarantee against its return. The cost of this often runs into thousands of pounds. Or they will decline the mortgage, withhold an offer until the work is completed or insist the funds to carry out the work are held in a separate account. We were able to help our client with a bridging loan to get the knotweed removed and the certificate guaranteeing the work. Once this was completed, the client was able to refinance onto a first-charge mortgage. Bridging finance has come a long way from its origins as a remedy for a ‘broken chain’. With a little imagination, bridging – with its flexibility and adaptability – can provide the perfect solution to funding requirements too complex for traditional lenders. Harry Landy is managing director of Enterprise Finance




PROTECTION GAP / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019


With life, critical illness and IP cover still worryingly low, Amanda Doherty offers some tips for advisers on overcoming protection hurdles


hat’s the news in protection? On the surface you could be forgiven for thinking there isn’t anything new, that protection is still generally being overlooked and undervalued. Figures from Royal London’s State of the Protection Nation Report show that just 35% of people have life insurance, 12% have critical illness cover and 9% have income protection. And while more people with a mortgage have taken out protection, the numbers are still worryingly low – 40% have no life cover, 71% have no critical illness cover and 81% have no income protection. And yet many consumers recognise that it would be beneficial to have some cover in place.

CONVERTING CONVERSATIONS There are a lot of people who do not have protection that probably should – especially if they are already talking to a financial adviser. But converting those thoughts into action is still proving difficult. So it is hardly surprising that 72% of advisers agree that the protection gap is increasing. When it comes to selling protection to clients, advisers can typically run into some obstacles along the way. Clients may think it is not necessary, it’s too expensive, it’s too depressing, or that it’s easier to go for an off-the-shelf solution. Royal London has the tools to help advisers overcome objections and have better protection conversations – helping clients to understand both the value of protection and the value of tailored advice.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES Beyond these statistics and conversations that are already

happening, there is proof of a shift in consumer trends, which could provide advisers with some new opportunities. Take the much talked about gig economy – the popularity of shortterm contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs. The UK is now home to an estimated five million self-employed people – 15% of all UK employees – and we are not just talking about Uber drivers and Deliveroo couriers. In fact, just under 30% of gig workers are professionals working in the accountancy or legal industries. The more people are inclined to work on a self-employed basis, without employer benefits like occupational sick pay, the more they need protection. The good news is that the possibilities within this growing market are being recognised by advisers – some 28% agreed that the gig economy provides them with a new opportunity. Millennials are another topical group – often talked about as a breed of consumer that is very different to the types of clients advisers are used to dealing with. Of course, every generation has its own trends and behaviours. We are a product of our environments after all. But are the youth of today altogether different? Some 74% of financial advisers believe that young consumers are addressing their protection needs too late, and 43% say they are struggling to attract clients under 35. Unfortunately, younger people do not recognise that they could get cheaper cover if they had the protection conversation earlier.



Yet almost three quarters of 18- to 34-year-olds who bought cover through an adviser say they have an ongoing relationship with them. That’s compared to about 45% of 35- to 54-year-olds and those aged 55 or over. Clearly, there is a huge number of younger clients who are looking for guidance, which goes against the theory that they are happy to do everything themselves online. And if advisers could get them through the door, they could have a loyal client for life. And life expectancy is going up, partly due to better healthcare, which means we are able to survive diseases that previously killed us. But that also means we are now living longer with critical or chronic illnesses, which naturally puts a strain on our survival. This is not something many people think about. But unless they have built up substantial savings, how would they expect to replace their income after a cancer diagnosis, heart attack or stroke?

ESPOUSING THE BENEFITS It is clear we need to work harder to make people realise not only the benefits of protection, but the longterm outcome for their family and themselves if they become seriously ill. So, while the old objections remain, these are not insurmountable and if we look closer at the way society is changing, we can see there are more opportunities for the protection conversation than there used to be – this time it is a question of looking more closely at client demographics to find the opportunity. At Royal London, we’ve got the tools and support you need to stay in front. To find out more, visit: Amanda Doherty is senior marketing consultant at Royal London




e want brokers and their businesses to succeed and believe that opportunities still exist in today’s market that could help them do just that. By focusing in on clients’ savings strategies they may well find that an offset mortgage could be ideal, particularly for those with aspirations of paying their mortgage off early. For brokers who include offset as part of their offering, not only can they help more clients to find the right mortgage, they also differentiate themselves from other advisers. To help show what a fantastic opportunity offset mortgages present for brokers, we have addressed some of the myths.


MYTH 2 – SAVINGS ARE BETTER OFF ELSEWHERE With interest rates still at historical lows, it can be difficult for clients to find a good return on their savings. That’s where offset can come in. While money in an offset savings account does not earn interest, it can work harder than a repayment mortgage and a standard easy-access savings account. That is because the gross offset benefit your client receives is equal to the mortgage rate charged, which currently tends to be higher than that of a typical cash savings rate. However, it is worth noting that if clients reach the point where their offset savings amount is greater than their mortgage balance, they will no


longer receive any benefit or interest on the excess amount. You may want to review their situation with them, as they might want to move the excess amount from the offset savings account into an account that pays interest on savings.

MYTH 3 – CLIENTS HAVE TO BE BIG EARNERS OR BIG SAVERS TO BENEFIT While it is true that offset is attractive for high-earning clients and can be particularly helpful when saving for a tax bill or for putting a bonus away for now, it can also be fantastic for borrowers with a smaller income or savings pot. Saving even £50-£100 per month can have a big impact on a client’s offset mortgage and help them to pay off their mortgage early or reduce their monthly payments. For these clients, a good option could be a lender that offers an easy-access offset savings account, so they can easily dip into their savings if they need to. Offset can also be great for selfemployed clients as the money they are saving – for a tax bill, for example – could be working to help offset the mortgage interest they are charged when they do not need it and can be easily accessed as soon as they do. As you can see, offset mortgages can be simple to manage, they make savings work harder and borrowers could use their savings to reduce their monthly mortgage payments or reduce their term. And who wouldn’t love to do that? ● Kevin Purvey is director of intermediaries at Coventry Building Society

Offset mortgages present a fantastic opportunity for brokers – Kevin Purvey explains why…



It’s really not! With offset, the mortgage is linked to at least one savings account (depending on the lender). The savings in this account offset the interest your client is charged, known as the offset benefit. So, if their mortgage is

£100,000 and they have £20,000 in savings, they would only be charged interest on £80,000. The client can then choose how they use the saving they make, either to reduce the term of their mortgage or to reduce their monthly payments. So not only is it simple, it can help to make a real difference to borrowers’ financial futures. / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019



Following a year of tax and regulatory changes, Liza Campion lists five potential pitfalls brokers should make their landlord clients aware of in 2019


he ancient saying, ‘May you live in interesting times’, suggests that while an uneventful life may seem boring, it is preferable to living a life of difficulties. Buy-to-let landlords may be forgiven for thinking they have experienced enough ‘interesting times’, following recent tax and regulatory changes. We have highlighted five key things brokers should ensure their customers are aware of so that 2019 is as uneventful as possible for landlords.



Mortgage interest tax relief will be phased out by April 2020, meaning landlords will soon be unable to deduct mortgage costs from rental income. This has led to a rise in the number of landlords considering transferring their portfolios to, or purchasing new properties through, a limited company structure. Incorporating as a limited company should be carefully considered. Brokers must ensure customers consult a qualified tax accountant and seek independent legal advice.



Brokers should ensure that existing HMO landlords and customers thinking of investing in HMOs are aware of new legislation. Properties in England are classified as HMOs when occupied by three or more people forming more than one household. A HMO requires a mandatory licence if it is occupied

by five or more people forming more than one household, regardless of the number of storeys. Previously, only properties with three or more storeys needed to be licensed, meaning landlords of previously unlicensed HMOs may now need to license their property with the local authority.



Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) were introduced in April 2018. To begin with, the standards affected all new lets and tenancy renewals, but from April 2020 will cover all existing tenancies. Landlords must also ensure properties have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E. It is illegal to rent a property failing to meet the minimum rating, unless there is an applicable exemption, such as being a listed building or holiday accommodation rented out for less than four months a year or let under a licence to occupy. Landlords will be unable to rent out properties until the works required to meet the minimum rating have been completed and can be fined up to £4,000 if found to be letting properties that fail to meet the standards. An EPC is valid for 10 years. / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019



The Scottish Government announced that from 25 January 2019, the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) would increase to 4% on purchases of most second properties. The ADS is paid when buying a second residential property worth £40,000 or more. It is the equivalent of the stamp duty land tax and paid on top of the standard land and buildings transaction tax.



Research by BVA BDRC1 found that 12% of landlords own a multi-unit property, rising to 34% among landlords with 20-plus properties. The research also shows nearly one in 10 (9%) of landlords with 20-plus properties now own a UK holiday let, and that holiday lets are now the second most popular property type to own. Brokers needing more information should contact the Precise Mortgages dedicated support team on 0800 116 4385 or visit ● Liza Campion is head of key accounts at Precise Mortgages



With equity release continuing to grow in popularity, Jason Ruse explains how you can help your clients explore all the options 10



quity release is one of the fastest-growing sectors in financial services, doubling in size in the past three years. In 2018, homeowners unlocked a record ÂŁ3.6bn in new lending from the value of their homes , and with 47,081 new plans taken out, more

and more homeowners over the age of 55 are using their housing wealth to support their finances in later life. This growth has been accelerated by new providers entering the market, creating competition and bringing about new, innovative products and a wide array of options to suit different retirement planning needs.

CUSTOMERS WHO COULD BENEFIT Property wealth can be used to help customers in a variety of situations, so clients should be encouraged to consider all of the choices available to them when approaching retirement. We have looked at the different reasons your clients may look to utilise equity release and it is possible to group them into some distinct categories: / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019




As a population, we are living longer than ever and therefore our pension savings will need to last longer too. This means your clients will need to think about how they will budget, or look for additional sources of cash in order to live the retirement they desire. Home and garden improvements remains the most popular use of equity release. Your clients may want to bring their home up to date or create a more comfortable living environment for their retirement. Travelling can be a chance to experience new cultures, see different parts of the world and maybe even reconnect with family or friends who are living abroad. But all too often a squeezed budget can get in the way of making these trips a reality.

Using equity release to treat friends and family is becoming increasingly popular and highlights the intergenerational benefits seen within families of releasing equity. Typically, the funds are to help pay for a significant life event (such as a wedding), property investment (assisting a child or grandchild onto the property ladder with a gifted deposit), or to pay for university fees. It can be seen as a living inheritance and as a consequence it could help your clients to reduce their inheritance tax (IHT) liability. To understand the implications on their IHT liability, your client will need to seek advice from a tax specialist.

DEBT Debt is a challenging issue for many people nearing or entering retirement. There are a substantial number of people entering retirement with outstanding debt, whether this is an interest-only mortgage with no way of fully repaying the debt, or credit card or loan debts. Equity release could help to ease the pressure.

HOUSE PURCHASE Clients looking to buy a second/ holiday home or move house can use equity release to fund it, and this is an area often misunderstood by advisers who are not familiar with the market. Meanwhile, equity release can help with splitting property in a divorce, which is already a stressful time without having the added pressure of worrying about finances. Equity release could allow your client to ‘buy out’ their partner. It is clear that there are significant opportunities for intermediaries to be able to help clients with their

later-life needs. Working with an equity release referral partner can help you make the most of these opportunities, without the need for specialist knowledge or qualifications.

REFER TO AN EXPERT Making sure customers have the right advice in this area is vital, and partnering with a specialist referral business enables you to expand your scope of service while maintaining that relationship with your clients. A good referral partner can work with you to help develop your business in the equity release sector. Valuable support includes training on how to identify clients that may be suitable for equity release, and tools to help you talk through their needs. They will also give you access to a toolbox of customerfacing guides, posters and email and letter templates, so you can actively promote this option to your clients.

HOW TO REFER The process of referring to an equity release specialist is as simple as providing the client’s name, age, date of birth and contact details. The advice firm will take full compliance responsibility for the equity release advice they provide, and you can have as much or as little involvement in the process as you like. Commission is generous, uncapped and paid upon case completion. For more information on how your clients could benefit from equity release, contact Key Partnerships – email: info@keypartnerships or visit: Jason Ruse is head of key partnerships at Key Retirement / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019


A selection of questions to test your knowledge of key mortgage topics…


The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires that a senior manager must be fit and: A Authorised b Proper c Qualified d Suitable

On mortgages, who are first party fraudsters? A Lenders b Builders c Vendors (sellers) D Buyers

QUESTION 2 A ‘solo-regulated’ firm is one which is: A Outside the scope of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR) B Regulated only by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) C Only bound by conduct regulatory rules d Regulated only by the FCA


Having a retirement interest only mortgage on a drawdown basis could affect an older person’s tax position and what else? A Their State pension B Their benefit entitlement C Their council tax liability D Their occupational pension

QUESTION 6 What is the main advantage of a flexible mortgage? A It can be transferred to a new property B Lower interest rates c Lower monthly costs throughout the mortgage term D Payments may be varied from time to time to suit the borrowers' needs


How often does the monthly repayment on an annual payment review mortgage change? A At the end of each year b Never C Only at the end of the fixed interest rate term D Whenever interest rates change


QUESTION 8 A flexible mortgage is most likely to appeal to a borrower whose income is: A Fixed b Liable to fluctuate c Likely to fall over time D Rising quickly

QUESTION 9 What usually happens to a mortgage when a property is sold? A The lender has to wait to the end of the mortgage term before getting their money back b The mortgage is automatically transferred to the new property c The mortgage is repaid to the lender D The mortgage remains with the home and is taken over by the new owner

QUESTION 10 When a mortgage is finally repaid, the lender: A Discharges the mortgage b Finalises the debt c Relinquishes the security D Vacates the mortgage

position and any State benefits they may be entitled to. 4C. Often just referred to as LTV. 5D. Most mortgage fraud is committed by borrowers according to Experian. 6D. Flexible mortgages include varying degrees of flexibility with regard to

mortgage payments. 7A. Payments are usually reviewed annually, regardless of what happens to interest rates in the meantime. 8B. People with fluctuating incomes are most likely to benefit from a flexible mortgage.

ANSWERS / Mortgage Professional / Spring 2019


What is the ratio of money borrowed to the property value termed? A Equity ratio b Income multiple c Loan to value D Price/earnings ratio

1B. Senior managers are required to be fit and proper. 2D. A ‘solo-regulated’ firm is one that is both authorised and regulated by the FCA, rather than the PRA and FCA together. 3B. Borrowers need to be made aware that such drawdowns could affect their tax

9C. In the UK, the mortgage is personal to both the borrower and to the property. 10D. The term used to describe the lender's action when a mortgage is finally repaid is that the lender 'vacates' the mortgage.



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