Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world, resulting in a series of sweeping sanctions from the West in a bid to starve Putin’s war machine. Some of these include significant changes to UK economic crime legislation — something that could leave bridging lenders 'holding the baby' if they fund borrowers with Russian links — which B&C recently spoke about at length with Ray Cohen, owner of Jackson Cohen Associates.
We want to thank everyone who kindly donated at our annual Directors’ Lunch in March to help those affected by the horrific humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We have seen numerous efforts and initiatives from businesses and individuals across the sector to help raise money for the cause. It goes without saying that our industry is a generous one.
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The conflict is also expected to push global prices up further, eroding the living standards of millions of people in the UK. On 10th April, many households across the country turned off their power in protest of soaring energy bills. The Big Power Switch Off — a 10-minute boycott that aimed to stronghold private energy companies to revise their prices — capped off a day when, earlier, the self-proclaimed Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, stated that we could start to risk “civil unrest” if people cannot afford to eat or stay warm. Putting the dire situation of the cost-of-living squeeze into context, the Resolution Foundation recently reported that a lack of support for low-income families will see 1.3 million people pushed into poverty. Considering affordability is a huge aspect of the mortgage market, bridging finance providers and brokers will need to be extra careful about assessing whether the loans they are arranging have viable exits in the months that follow.
Other vital things to consider include what brokers and businesses need to know as we enter a fixed-rate commercial mortgage era, and whether SMEs can cope with the latest succession of hits to their balance sheets. We also gather four solicitors and one regulatory consultant around a table to discuss the red flags that lenders and brokers need to be conscious of and, yes, regulated deals being passed of as unregulated is still an issue.
In the latest issue of the B&C Magazine, we look at what is making the BTL sector so vibrant right now, and unveil part three of our PII saga series — this time, we focus on brokers, and they had a lot to say.
And, finally, we exclusively reveal the fifth annual UK Bridging Market Survey, in partnership with EY, to provide you with a better grasp of what the landscape looks like and what you should be preparing for in the near to long-term future. I was shocked to discover that 70% of bridging businesses experienced an increase in profitability in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, despite all the obvious headwinds. But what really matters is what you think. I look forward to your calls and emails.