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By Rob Jupp

The transitional period surrounding the Mortgage Market Review has certainly created some interesting dynamics within the current marketplace. Yes there was sufficient preparation time and yes, by and large, most links in the mortgage chain were ready. However, inevitably in the midst of any major regulatory change there will be a slight lull in business as systems and processes are tinkered with, tested and tweaked. However, this isn’t another MMR related article, even though it’s still proving tough to get away from.

It’s apparent that the first charge market is still coming to terms with the MMR implications and what’s equally apparent is that the specialist lending arena, whilst also feeling the ramifications, is currently generating strong levels of business. And it’s switched on brokers who are benefitting. After all, we all know that in the modern marketplace being a successful, rounded broker isn’t just about concentrating on where and how to place the next mainstream mortgage case.

For Brightstar, operating as a specialist distributor this has always been evident and the demand for specialist support from the intermediary community suggest that firms are more conscious of this than ever. The specialist sector is continuing to thrive in light of this growing demand. Since the doom and gloom headlines from headlines suggesting that ‘MMR may sound the death knell for packagers’ the intervening period has proved to be exactly the opposite. So much so that along with fellow distributors, we have formed Equis, the specialist distribution and packaging alliance, and we have been hugely encouraged from the strong backing we have had subsequently within the industry.

On of the reasons it was set up was to a) help the regulator appreciate what packagers really do and b) work hard to engage with the market to emphasise the advantages for brokers and lenders who engage with packagers on how we can help in the overall process to help them to stay compliant.

As the specialist arena continues to develop, increasing numbers of opportunities will emerge for brokers and these opportunities can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. Speaking as a founder member of Equis we, as a group, remain dedicated to supporting the borrower, regulator, lender and intermediary in finding the most appropriate lending solutions. All with the guarantee of quality and professionalism in which we conduct business in regulated and unregulated marketplaces.

Let’s be clear that specialist distributors are here to stay, and dare I say flourish, with the caveat that they provide a consistent quality led approach. With growing demand for almost prime/near-prime products, secured loans, bridging and commercial finance, brokers are benefiting from increased standards being embedded in the majority of propositions and the full attention being given to the regulatory conditions. And when combined with increased competition and a heightened appetite to lend, it’s clear that the future is bright across all these sectors.

When it comes to any client’s requirements, there are often more answers than you might initially think. Opportunities within specialist lending are growing by the day, and specialist distributors are there to help you get your clients the best available deal in an ethical manner. After all, let’s reiterate that there’s far more to being a successful broker than relying on pure mainstream mortgage business.