The BIG Interview with... Phil Jay

In the latest Big Interview we speak to Phil Jay, director of Complete FS. With over two decades of experience in the specialist mortgage sector under his belt we learn why he believes you should be a Jack of all trades and master of all, how he bought his first house at the tender age of just 18 years old and why he never wants to win the lottery...

Q. Which mortgage lending sectors do you think have the greatest opportunities for growth over the next 12 months?

The market has been under a lot of pressure since the financial crisis, but the specialist market has really come into its own and I feel that’s because the lenders have developed a greater understanding of where they can add value and how they can service borrowers, responsibly, who have been left out in the cold by the high street.

Buy to let is clearly also a growth market as we’re seeing a lot of new lenders enter, but I wonder if that upwards trend will continue, or if we’ll see an impact on volumes, as the planned changes come into effect.

The residential market is where a lot of opportunity remains.

Q. Is there are sector of the mortgage market that you think is really untapped?

Obviously, it’s not untapped, but I do think the interest-only market could be further exploited.

I also feel there is a lot of potential for lending into retirement. And I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you. I genuinely believe it’s a segment of the market some have been too scared to exploit, so it was good to see TML enter the market with an offering that could meet the appetite out there for suitable products and competitive rates.

Q. Who has had the greatest impact on the mortgage industry during your career, and why?

My previous boss, Ian Nelson, at a packager called BDS. He took me on in 1996 and shaped the way I worked.

Q. Who’s the person that’s had the greatest influence on your career, and why?

My wife, Rose. She’s supported me through every step in my career and she’s the person I talk to about everything at work – good or bad.

Q. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the intermediary market right now?

Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Learn as much as you can – become a Jack of all trades and master of all.

Q. Any big plans from Complete FS in the next year?

We’re investing significantly in our technology. We’re always looking for ways to improve how we partner with lenders.

Q. What do you think are The Mortgage Lender’s greatest strengths are?

The variety of lending is very good and their rates are knocking on the door of the high street. TML also lends in Scotland which, for me, is a massive tick in the box.

The Mortgage Lender is always willing to consider cases where other lenders won’t and they’ve got a great team behind them.

Q. What do you plan to be doing in 5 year’s time?

We’re going in a great direction so more of the same.

In the last couple of years we’ve grown the team and brought in people with the experience and skills we need. We’re in a great place.

Q. If you won £10million tomorrow, what would you do with it?

I’d give it all away. In all honesty I wouldn’t want to win £10m. I’m happy with my life and I think having all that money would be a burden rather than a blessing. You hear stories of lottery winners whose lives are ruined because of money.

Q. If you were back buying your first home again, what advice would you give your younger self?

Do it as soon as you can. I bought my first house at 18 years old with my then girlfriend who was studying – it was rare then, and in today’s market, even rarer.

I really believe that everyone who can, should be able to buy their own home.

Q. What’s the most positive change you’ve seen to mortgage regulation?

Getting rid of self-certified mortgages.

I also think the introduction of affordability by the FCA was right, but the interpretation of it hasn’t been as clear. We should work harder to make home ownership more affordable.

Q. What is your favourite holiday destination?

After this call I’m going to pick up one of my daughters from university as we’re heading off on a family holiday to Rome. I’ve never been before, but we’re all looking forward to it.

Fast 5

  • Saint or Sinner? Saint
  • Countryside or Seaside? Seaside
  • Mastermind or Pointless? Pointless
  • Happy or Sad? Happy
  • Run or Walk? Run

Interview courtesy of The Mortgage Lender