A decade of change - and no change!

Author: Dave Mills

A decade of change - and no change! A decade of change - and no change!

Amazingly, this is our 10th anniversary blog, writes Dave Mills. Compass started in May 2006. Both Simon and I had been employed by a large corporate company and then self-employed with a different organisation, and we decided that we wanted to offer a more personal service to customers, because we found that financial advisers did not keep in touch with their clients after the initial business was completed. Our aim was to nurture the relationships so that they would become clients for life.

For two years, working on this basis, everything went well, and the company was building nicely, then in 2008, Northern Rock almost went bust as did HBOS (Halifax and Bank Scotland) and the credit crisis took a grip of the world.

We managed to get through the 2008/09 global credit crunch, although this was an extremely tough time. I remember, on one particular morning in early 2009, we literally had no mortgage products to offer, as the base rate was plunging and the lenders withdrew all of their rates. Whilst a lot of mortgage advice companies ceased trading, we struggled through, because we could see that, when things picked up, our clients and any new customers would still need professional advice and there would be fewer advisers around to oblige.

The benefit of battling through dark days

The effects of the credit crisis finally began to recede in 2012 and the company started to grow again. By this time we had hundreds of clients with whom we kept in regular contact, and, as the lenders started get back their appetite for business, we started to see the benefit of battling through the dark days of the crisis. The clients that we already had recommended us to their friends and colleagues, and the estate agents we had relationships with saw the market pick up, and passed us business as well.

In the last ten years, we have arranged mortgages from £20,000 to over £1 million. We have helped young couples with their first mortgage; and we have then seen them get married and have children, and to need to move up the housing ladder more than once.

A decade of changes:

  • The average rate for a 90% 2-year fixed rate mortgage in 2006 was 5.79%. Today it is 2.99%.
  • The FSA (Financial Service Authority) was rebranded as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) after the credit crisis.
  • Lenders are now looking at client affordability in a lot more detail following the Mortgage Market Review in April 2014. Banks tend to insist on two separate 2-hour interviews to discuss suitability and complete paperwork, which can take a week to book, with a 3-week waiting time on top of that.

We try not to change. For ten years, we have been offering prompt advice - and speedy progress - in the comfort of our clients’ own homes, making the whole of the market available to them, and often securing mortgages that other advisers simply cannot access.

Thank you to our clients for your loyalty over this time. We look forward to serving you further in the future. Here’s to the next 10 years!

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