Nathaniel Lee, a Specialist Finance Broker based in Essex, works with Affinity Mortgages, a partner firm of Personal Retirement Planning. We spoke with Nathaniel about the property market, current mortgage trends and his relationship with Personal Retirement Planning Ltd.
Nathaniel, tell us a little bit about Affinity Mortgages.
Affinity Mortgages is an independent brokerage advising clients from first time buyers and home movers to developers and portfolio landlords. We deal with clients’ property and business finance needs, including residential, commercial, land and business.
We are an experienced team of brokers, insurance advisors and admin. It’s an incredibly fun place to work.
What is your role?
I’m a Specialist Finance Broker, so I deal with a lot of the commercial and semi-commercial mortgages from a shop with a flat above, to large industrial units. A large part of my time is spent working with clients on bridging loans for breaks in chain, un-mortgageable properties and auction purchases. I also get involved with development projects from single units to larger sites many acres in size, high-net-worth individuals and business owners with debt requirements.
How would you describe the current property and mortgage market?
As a broker working across the board on many different projects, I have seen Brexit affect the market in different ways. Brexit has, to be sure, lowered the appetite of a number of people in the residential market, with a lot of prospective clients saying that they intend to wait until after things settle to buy and sell. This has created some situations where people have had a break in chain and require a bridging loan. Having said this, we are still writing record levels of business through our increased reach and through referrals from happy clients.
Commercial mortgages are on the increase with some of our larger clients moving away from personally owned residential property portfolios off the back of the tax changes announced in 2015.
The property market in general has stagnated over the last 18 months or so with valuations being static after a period of slight down valuations in the South East.
What is your relationship with Personal Retirement Planning?
We are not regulated to give advice on equity release, but a number of our clients are in retirement, with low income and a financial requirement that can only be realized by taking out equity from their properties. We have worked with Personal Retirement Planning for several years now and have always been happy with the service and advice passed to our clients. Subsequent conversations with clients have proven time and again that when we pass a client over to Personal Retirement Planning the same level of advice is received by the client.
Could you give us an example of a case whereby you referred a client to Personal Retirement Planning?
Yes, there was a case recently where a client of ours, who lived on her own, had retired a few years ago from being a teacher and has quite a small pension pot. She had no other source of income and unfortunately her pension wasn’t enough to meet her retirement plans. There were several things that she wanted to do including:
- Enjoy some holidays
- Make home improvements as she hadn’t been able to do this for many years
- Buy a new car
- Gift some money to her children
- Have a source of funds to supplement her pension income
Given her financial circumstances, equity release seemed like the most suitable solution and so I recommended that she speak with Personal Retirement Planning to find out whether that option would be viable.
I was pleased to learn that she has released equity from her home and is now enjoying her retirement in the way that she wanted to!
While you do not specialize in equity release, do you feel it’s important for financial services professionals to understand how it works?
If a client comes to a professional looking for a solution, the best advice isn’t always the best advice that advisor can give. Where this is because the advisor is not regulated to advise in the space required it is important for them to recognize this and pass the client to an appropriate professional. The ultimate goal for all of us should be the client servicing and that they get the best outcome for their particular situation.
How would you, and the clients you have referred, describe your experience with Personal Retirement Planning?
Efficient, friendly and professional. Every interaction I have had with Personal Retirement Planning has been positive.