This week we’re getting to know ‘mortgage guru’ Ray Boulger, a man who I’m sure needs no introduction. Also, a man who needs no invitation to talk about the mortgage market, as I’m sure you’ll be able to tell by the length of this week’s ’60 second interview’. Let’s get straight to it.
What is the story of your career so far and what led you to mortgages?
“I’ve worked in financial services my whole life, starting off as an accountant and then in stockbroking before becoming an IFA. Whilst working as an IFA, I found mortgages to be a key driver for business and what I was most interested in. I ended up joining John Charcol as an IFA in 1989 and have been here ever since!
I think my background in financial services has been particularly useful; previously working in accountancy and stockbroking has been particularly helpful with; self-employed clients and understanding key drivers in mortgage pricing.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“Now I work part time in a much more strategic role, one benefit is less paper work! My role as Senior Technical Mortgage Manager at John Charcol includes talking to lenders and the media and updating our consultants on economic and mortgage trends so that they are better informed when speaking to clients. One area I am particularly interested in is product development. As my knowledge of the market has grown, and my role developed, I really enjoy having an opportunity to help shape the agenda and get things I feel are important out in the open. I am one of the longest serving members of the AMI (Association of Mortgage Intermediaries) Board and this also provides an opportunity to contribute to high level discussions about the mortgage market.”
How do you see SMR affecting brokers?
“We’ve had the Approved Persons and CF10 regimes for a while now, so I think for most large brokers it’s won’t be too much of an issue. It’s a change in the name of a function, with important additional responsibilities, for something someone is already largely doing. Smaller brokers, who by definition will have less resources, are more likely to need their hands held, but for Ars, their network will take on this role. Fundamentally the market will adapt. It always does.”
What changes do you expect to see in the market over the next 18 months?
“In terms of size of market, it’s difficult to see gross lending being markedly different from last year’s £246bn. I would expect a small increase in residential lending and around a £5bn decrease in buy to let lending. In terms of broader areas, we’re beginning to see some of the non-mainstream areas of the market develop a bit more. For instance adverse credit, which pretty well disappeared after the credit crunch, has been re-emerging, albeit on a much lesser scale.
There’s clearly a perfectly valid market for people whose credit status is not prime but nevertheless are perfectly reasonable people to lend to, providing the pricing is right. It’s a sector of the market that certainly has some scope for expansion.
Beyond that, the later life market is still not working as well as it should and if the larger mainstream lenders don’t catch up soon, in criteria terms, with the specialist and smaller lenders in this market, they will continue to lose market share in what is a low risk sector. Bearing in mind most retired and semi-retired people only need a low LTV, the perceived conduct and regulatory risk, whilst it obviously shouldn’t be ignored, seems to be clouding mainstream lenders' thinking. The actual risk, for borrowing that is typically less than 50% LTV, is actually pretty negligible. So why should these borrowers have to pay more?”
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
“It’s always good to see a new event coming into the market and setting the bar high, not just with speakers, but everything else that’s on offer to delegates.”
Thanks Ray, and make sure you get the chance to hear his in-depth thoughts on the industry during his session at the Mortgage Conference.