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Bridging lenders turn the heat up By Sarah Davidson

Bridging lenders are turning the heat up on their trade bodies after the Financial Services Authority shone a spotlight on the growing short-term market in its Mortgage Market Review. Colin Sanders, chief exec-

utive at Omni Capital, said: “I hope 2012 is the year in which we see the emergence of truly effective and repre- sentative trade bodies for the sector.

“The basis for this already

exists and the more mature bodies, such as NACFB, per- form a sterling service for their members. But more can be done and as short- term lending continues to emerge from its previously ambiguous past, there is a pressing need for our trade bodies to evolve from ‘club- biness’ to become the seri- ous,

vocal and articulate

champions of the sector.” There are currently three trade bodies that operate in the bridging sector includ- ing the National Associa- tion of commercial Finance Brokers, the Association of Short Term Lenders and

the Association of Bridging Professionals. Adrian Bloomfield, chief

executive of the ASTL, said he felt Sanders’ comments were “almost unfair” given the lobbying he has done on behalf of members in the past four years. Bloomfield said: “We want to reinforce and continue the work we have done over the past three or four years to raise awareness of the short-term sector as differ- ent from long term lending. If there had been no effec- tive trade body in the run up to the MMR there would not have been a section dedicat- ed to the short-term sector.” He added that he felt this

showed the ASTL was “very effective” and “highly re- garded” by the FSA. Mark Posniak, head of

marketing and operations at lender Dragonfly Property Finance as well as a mem- ber of the ASTL execu- tive, agreed that the bridg- ing lender trade body had achieved “a hell of a lot” in the past few years. But he acknowledged: “It is difficult to have one voice

in bridging because the dif- ferent trade bodies have different agendas but to discount what the ASTL has achieved is not entirely fair.”

And Posniak added that he thought there was room for the ASTL to “widen its scope” to make it more representative of the short- term market. “I would also agree with Colin that we do need to move away from the perception of clubbiness,” he added. “I think the ASTL is making an effort to be ac- tive and widen its member- ship.”

Adam Tyler, chief execu-

tive of the NACFB, said he agreed with Sanders that further discussion to agree the responsibilities of each bridging trade body was needed and he also voiced concern that bridging had been singled out in such de- tail in the latest MMR. He went on to say: “The latest MMR consultation paper dedicates just three pages in its data pack to business lending. From that we can only conclude that the NACFB has been doing

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its job properly over the last 20 years. We engage with the FSA whenever we need to. This is how a trade body should operate.”

Meanwhile Lucy Hodge,

executive committee mem- ber of the AOBP, said recent growth in the bridging sec- tor meant more regulatory scrutiny was inevitable. She said: “Whilst the AOBP does not believe short-term finance forming part of the MMR will be particularly helpful to the sector we do see it as a good thing that it has at least been recognised as a niche product.” Robert Sinclair, director

of the Association of Mort- gage Intermediaries,


given the increased focus on bridging by European regu- lators and the FSA, having a coherent trade body voice was important. He said: “A simple and cohesive voice will have much more trac- tion with the regulator. Given the increasing focus on the short-term sector, it’s important bridging and short-term lenders have a consistent voice represent- ing their interests.”


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