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1986 NatWest graduate scheme 1988 NatWest international banking 1994 NatWest Homeloans 1999 Legal & General Bank 2001 Legal & General Mortgage Club 2007 Sesame, mortgages and GI 2009 Sesame, PMS, Bankhall, mortgages

facing his members and has already taken steps to help give them the competitive advantage.

“The challenge for lenders is how they convince the FSA that they’ve done the appropriate checks despite what the large distributor firms have done to check,” explains Cupis. “That’s hard as well because we don’t know what all those checks might be because the lenders haven’t got it straight in their own minds – it’s a moving debate.”

SETTING STANDARDS Despite this Cupis has been proactive in ensuring Sesame advisers measure up to a set of standards he believes do offer lenders reassurance. The network has in place minimum solvency requirements, fit and properness in terms of references and trading history, monitoring of ongoing quality of business they submit through file checking and training and competence.

That, Cupis suggests, could be something the DA market may start to see in the future.

“I think actually the whole perceived criticism of DAs is unfair because I would equally criticise the lack of implementation of individual registration under the MMR by the FSA as a really cast iron licensing system for the quality of brokers. It would stop them moving from AR to DA and back again uncensored. “We know at Sesame that we’ve terminated our arrangements with some ARs and they show up again somewhere else. With individual registration now looking likely to stay on the shelf until 2015 and with lenders facing a raft of other regulatory burdens Cupis explains that is manifesting itself in the restriction of funding tranches to certain

distribution channels. “Some of the unintended

consequences of all this is that when lenders have limited funding they look for the easiest way to control it. It’s to offer limited products through limited distribution.”

SUPERVISON Cupis explains the group’s structure – split into the mortgage network Sesame, DA club PMS and DA compliance services offering Bankhall – gives it an edge in the emerging mortgage market. In a world where lenders are demanding more comprehensive compliance standards from intermediaries, networks appear to have the advantage – it’s easier for lenders to monitor few relationships with registered firms. But the group isn’t forgetting the DA market. Bankhall’s compliance can offer DAs a “health check” or audit which Cupis explains is increasingly useful in getting ahead.

“Lots of lenders are now looking quite carefully at who they’re dealing with and the quality of business that is being introduced,” says Cupis. “The directly authorised market is still quite unstructured in terms of how lenders want to work with brokers. Larger DA firms can afford to employ their own compliance people and have done for many years and many of those firms have been and are comfortably trading with lenders directly or through clubs. “All the feedback we get from lenders is that the quality of that business is very good. When you compare that to the quality of smaller firms there are very similar correlations even though they haven’t got their own in house compliance officer. There are a significant proportion joining as a member of Bankhall as well. That shows they have a strong compliance ethos because they’re voluntarily taking those services from us.”


Last year under Cupis’ direction the group saw over £26.1bn of mortgage applications - an increase of £1.9bn on the year before. It now boasts a 13.8%

“In a world where lenders are demanding more comprehensive compliance standards, networks appear to have the advantage – it’s easier for lenders to monitor few relationships with registered firms”

share of the entire UK mortgage market and made trading profits of £2.2m. But it is perhaps reflective of tough times in light of the group’s turnover which runs into the hundreds of millions of pounds. Cupis is not a man who likes to make sweeping statements so when I ask him whether he thinks the tough times will continue for the intermediary market he is characteristically careful. “I think we’re stable now,” he says after a short pause. “There’s not a lot of point in getting hung up on trying to forecast the future. The number of brokers hasn’t shrunk by the same percentage as mortgage lending because brokers sell other things. They’re an entrepreneurial bunch; the adviser market will continue to evolve. I’m not pessimistic.”

It may be unemotional but with

productivity at Sesame network up over 20% in the past year and more protection and GI sold each day, Mr Modest might just be on the right track.

And another thing... Likes : Skiing, tomato and basil soup, tomato ketchup and watching films Last book read: The Iceman, a documentation of one of the US’s most prolific serial killers Supports: Tottenham Hotspur Planning: To learn to shoot this year Three words to describe himself: Determined, strategic, fair


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