Enness Global Mortgages are the go-to mortgage broker for high value, international or complex mortgages. As the UK has experienced many political, economic and social changes in the last few years, we asked CEO, Islay Robinson, for his insight into his business and his thoughts on the future.
Tell us a little about Enness Global – how did it all begin?
Hugh (Enness Managing Director) and I were directors at a large estate agency led mortgage broker as the world ran headfirst into a financial crisis. The whole industry was printing mortgages like there was no tomorrow. The mainstream market was fierce as property prices were racing higher and lenders were very keen to lend as much as possible.
During this time Hugh and I focused more and more on those people who didn’t fit the main UK mortgage market – Foreign nationals, UHNW individuals and the more complex cases, therefore developing more and more lender relationships outside of the typical high street lenders who were “stacking high & selling cheap”. We saw a gap in the market – though we could fill it, so left our secure jobs and started a new company.
We did this exactly as the financial crisis unfolded and the whole mortgage market went on life support. The first few years were very hard, but we stuck to it and were creative enough to survive and grow. Our unencumbered and nimble new business together with our growing lender panel of specialist and unknown banks helped us to flourish. We were also only 25 and maybe that helped us too!
What services can you provide for your clients and how many come to you via recommendation?
Enness Global Mortgages helps people find mortgages, and we foc on 3 markets – wealthy international people, individuals who need help solving a problem or can’t find a solution via traditional routes.
We offer mortgages via 500 banks in prime international cities and locations – London, France, Balearics and New York to name a few.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
We have reserved ourselves for a very particular part of the market and our expertise and lender access sets us apart. However, given our international coverage and experience, there are very few firms who sit in our space – in fact, we work with many brokers and banks to help them solve their high value and complex transaction.
How has business been affected by Covid-19 as international travel has pretty much ceased to exist?
Pre-covid, we travelled extensively to see clients and introducers – at one point we were in the air 6-8 times a week between London, Monaco, Jersey, Switzerland and other places. Sounds great, but 4am trains to Gatwick a day, eating on the run, then a hotel bed really takes its toll.
We adapted very quickly as did our lenders, clients and partners. We are now much more productive, connected and responsive than before. Not quite as “glamorous”, but it does make life easier (and my wife happier).
What trends have you seen since the UK’s departure of the EU?
We saw some interesting movements before the end of the transition period – lots of Europeans buying property in London, particularly the French, and also a number of very high value purchase in London from further afield.
It was (and at the time of writing still is) also very difficult for British nationals and residents in Europe to access banking and mortgages in the UK, however I expect that to resolve itself before too long. I think any other trends are likely delayed until the pandemic has passed.
Do you think this might have an impact on businesses and individuals relocating?
We have already seen the start of the City to Country migration in the UK. It also seems that the same is happening in other mega cities. I haven’t seen much happening like this on an international level, but I think it will be a major theme as travel restrictions come to pass.
There is a clear and obvious trend for leaving inner cities to places which fit lifestyle demands. I can see this continuing on a personal and corporate level for the foreseeable future, and more and more so on an international basis.
What is it about the UK that attracts your clients?
The UK has always been a jewel in the crown of the international property investor. Our stable legal system and taxation, culture and education plus available finance to purchase are all the key reasons.
There is a significant overseas demand for UK property which is curtailed by travel restrictions. I expect that to start moving again very soon – especially now that the Brexit saga has passed.