"People’s circumstances and finance requirements are becoming more diverse, the lending community has appetite to lend, but is becoming more complex, and sector specific expertise is crucial."
FR: When you first launched Brightstar a decade ago, did you expect it to be going as strong as it is 10 years on?
We were obviously very ambitious when Brad, Kit and I opened the first office in Brentwood back in 2011, although they were definitely humble beginnings. But over the last decade we have helped thousands of brokers to expand and diversify into different areas such as bridging and development finance, commercial mortgages, complex buy-to-let, second charge mortgages and specialist residential mortgages. Over that time we’ve secured funding for nearly 30,000 customers on 18,000 completions worth more than £5bn.
Aside from the growth of the business, it’s probably some of the other milestones that have been such a source of pride. Over the last decade we have won more than 120 industry awards and perhaps most notably, the business was named the number one Best Small Company To Work For in the UK by The Sunday Times for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, becoming the first company from any industry to top the list for two years in a row and securing the highest ever score in the history of the competition for people engagement.
In 2016, The Brightstar Group achieved Investor in People Gold status and also became a signatory for the HM Treasury led Women in Finance Charter. In 2017, the Group won the title of Global Investors in People Gold Employer of the Year and in 2019 it reached 1,000 Trustpilot reviews. Today, The Brightstar Group has reached more than 2,000 reviews and holds a 4.9 ‘Excellent’ TrustScore.
I’m really proud of the team and all we have achieved, and we are looking forward to kicking on and doing more great things.
FR: What have been some of the biggest changes over the last 10 years?
So much has changed, and Covid has clearly made the last couple of years particularly challenging. The overall trend, however, has remained consistent. People’s circumstances and finance requirements are becoming more diverse, the lending community has appetite to lend, but is becoming more complex, and sector specific expertise is crucial.
We’ve seen growth across all the divisions as a result of a combination of increased demand for specialist finance amongst customers and more brokers becoming alert to the opportunity to work with a specialist distributor like Brightstar, either by referring business or leveraging our expertise and contacts
FR: What are your plans for the future?
Brightstar Financial and Sirius Property Finance both have big plans for the future. Sirius is going from strength to strength and, as we enter our second decade of trading, Brightstar Financial’s reach expands to 75% of the intermediary market. This year alone, we have already grown our sales team by 40%, which gives an idea of the scale of the opportunity and ambition.
Of course we are looking to grow our lending volumes, but our core target remains maintaining the excellent customer outcomes we have been able to consistently deliver. With more than 2,000 reviews on Trustpilot, we have maintained an Excellent rating with an average of 4.9 stars out of five.
We are looking ahead to what the next 10 years will bring and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.
FR: Where do the opportunities lie?
There is obviously the growth in the number of people who have specialist requirements, either because of changes to employment or their credit profile, or because they have identified new investment opportunities or objectives for which they require the need for finance.
However, I think the biggest opportunities lie in continuing to deliver a service that truly adds value to all parties in a transaction and results in good customer outcomes. It’s this honest approach to doing a good job that has stood us in good stead over the last decade and it’s this approach that we will take into the next one.
FR: If you could see one headline about the mortgage sector in 2021, what would it be?
I’d like to switch the question to 2031 and be talking about our 20th birthday having helped a million customers.