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The Interview

Ahead of the curve

Bigger and better are easy claims but Sesame’s managing director John Cupis says there’s more to success than size. Sarah Davidson finds out why

Upon meeting John Cupis, managing director of Sesame Bankhall Group’s mortgage proposition, he strikes you as a pretty unassuming chap. At 47, he is married with two children and lives in Barnet, north London. He enjoys ski-ing with his kids and taking them to the football on a Saturday. At first glance he’s Mr Average. But he’s worth a second glance. He’s smart, interested and he didn’t get to be managing director of the largest mortgage network and club in the market by accident. It’s taken just over two decades of working in the sector and quiet determination. He’s a marketeer like many of the network heads but he’s also strategic in a way that some are still being tactical. In fact “strategic” is the first word Cupis chooses when I ask him to describe himself. The second thing he chooses to talk about reflects that. “The MMR is not the big issue facing

brokers,” he says simply. “It’s the thematic review on fraud.” Given that the Mortgage Market Review has dominated mortgage conversations the market over for the past three years this is a bit of a break from the norm. But while many are still focusing on what the Financial Services Authority will or won’t deliver through the MMR, Cupis has moved on. “The FSA’s thematic review is a really big thing,” he explains. “MMR is fine, big tick in the box for intermediaries. It’s a lot of work for lenders building their processes and systems we will work with that as intermediaries accordingly. But it’s not the big issue. The big issue


QUALITY CHECKED There isn’t a network or mortgage club head in the market who doesn’t think the FSA has failed on individual registration – something the broker market desperately needs in its bid to show customers its increasing professionalism.

It is in part down to this failure by

the regulator to track advisers that Cupis believes the Fraudscape paper published by the FSA last year is the most pressing challenge facing intermediaries.

The central gist of this review is

“While many are still focusing on what the Financial Services Authority will or won’t deliver through the MMR, Cupis has moved on”

is all about how lenders work with third parties: solicitors, valuers and brokers. It’s still a big question mark with lenders.” Cupis has hit the nail on the head. So being strategic, how is Cupis readying his business to meet this challenge?

that it’s vital lenders know their third party introducers and partners. The FSA identified major fault with lenders accepting mortgage business from anyone and everyone without checking their credentials independently. In the legal world we are already seeing the repercussions of this view on a dramatic scale with HSBC decimating its conveyancing panel from whole of market to just 43 firms. While there has been outrage about this move there are those who believe it’s not only the future of distribution, it is also the only sensible course of action for lenders dealing with third parties. With the regulator passing the buck to lenders on individual adviser registration there is a high risk that mortgage distribution will see similar culls. Indeed NatWest for Intermediaries has already sliced and diced its broker panel to deal with larger networks only and within that it has “preferred” partners who have early access to funding at better prices. Cupis believes this is the biggest threat

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