Beth Fisher

After a year of great reflection, 2021 must have some exciting opportunities in store

The troubling year that was 2020 is coming to an end—and things are already looking up for the 12 months ahead.

The positive news around promising vaccinations and the temporary lifting of restrictions over Christmas has indeed lifted spirits, even if the chancellor’s Spending Review fell short for many. 

In Q3, we saw a record £7.6bn of bridging applications, yet supply still seems to be lacking—completions fell short by almost 28% on the same period last year. However, since the last issue of Bridging & Commercial Magazine, we have reported on numerous new entrants, recruitment drives, and record lending figures, signalling our sector’s resilience and its ambition to drive forward, and an indication that the market may indeed see completions rise to meet demand in 2021.

None of this progress would be possible without the motivation and determination of the people within our industry, which is why we decided to dedicate Issue 12 to them.

Our Interview Special combines the insight and opinions of those we couldn’t wait to know more about, and who we hope will inspire you for the year ahead. 

When a new challenger bank—built for the mass affluent—recently hit the headlines, we snapped up an interview with two of its chiefs to find out how it will carve out its place in an already crowded market. It’s a Monument-al read.

On p10, we speak to one of the industry’s most likeable cohorts, Roma’s Nick Jones, about making his mark again after 30 years, and, on p26, we sit down with Blaise Commercial Finance’s new business development director Claudine Reynolds, who paves the way for a new breed of approachable brokers.

Glenhawk has gone from strength to strength this year, having secured funding from JP Morgan at the onset of the pandemic, and launching its first regulated bridging product after getting FCA approval. The lender’s leadership team reveals to us its latest plans, which includes product expansion with another stateside backer—you won’t want to skip this one.

Have you ever wondered what the UK bridging market looks like from the US? We have, and that is why we asked Toorak Capital Partners’ John Beacham for his thoughts on British bridging, its appetite for backing our lenders in 2021, and the key distinctions in both markets. I am sure our broker readers will have their own opinions on the differences in distribution…

Elsewhere, we ask Marc Goldberg and Pete Ball our (and your) burning questions about decisions they have made since March and what ‘Together 2.0’ will really look like, and on p62, we question why the industry remains relatively silent on the subject of racial equality in the workplace.

We have covered interviews in all areas of the specialist lending market, so that there’s something of interest for everyone to read over the festive period.

Normally at this time of year, the Bridging & Commercial team would have had our diaries filled with festive events and activities, and at least someone would have forgotten to bring in their Secret Santa gift to the office party. While this won’t be a ‘normal’ Christmas—although I will be quite content bingeing season four of The Crown in my PJs and skipping the annual screams of “Collusion!” over the Boxing Day monopoly session—we wish you happy holidays with your loved ones, and a well-deserved rest. You’ll need it—after a year of great reflection, 2021 must have some exciting opportunities in store. 

Best wishes
Beth Fisher
Bridging & Commercial Magazine

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