Former Platform head of sales and marketing Guy Batchelor became Lehman Brothers’ UK mortgage business sales and marketing director last month just a few weeks after he joined Lehman’s mortgage business as franchise development director for Europe.
Batchelor will develop Lehman’s three-pronged attack on the specialist mortgage market through its trio of brands – London Mortgage Company, SPML and Preferred.
He says: “I am delighted to be given this opportunity to be driving forward some of the most established players in the UK market.”
Batchelor’s move to Lehman came after six months’ gardening leave following his departure from Platform, a company h still holds close to his heart.
“I thoroughly enjoyed Platform. I had 10 years there and I started with just myself and a PA so it has come a long way. I was proud of what I achieved. I miss the company and the people. I felt it was time to move on but it is still part of me.”
Lehman is now firmly Batchelor’s priority. “In the last couple of years, some lenders were nobbling at me and then Lehman came along and they were offering a different role in the European market although that has now changed.
“The more I heard, the more I liked it and after a few interviews I was sold. It will be a new role and a challenging role. When you get to your mid-40s, you think you have one or two roles left and I felt it was time to move on. I thought long and hard about it to get a position I enjoy. I am thoroughly enjoying it so far and I would like to be part of a team that makes Lehman one of the best non-conforming lenders globally.”
It is not just at Lehman where he hopes to make an impression as Batchelor is also keen to promote the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders’ Association in his role as chairman. Imla appointed former Council of Mortgage Lenders deputy director general Peter Williams as its first executive director last September and Williams has gone on record to say Imla needs to do more to have its voice heard and promote its members’ interests.
Batchelor says: “It has been one of the more invisible trade bodies but last year we made a couple of changes such as appointing Peter. We want to raise the presence of Imla.”
During his gardening leave, Batchelor spent half a day a week in his capacity as chairman of Imla, had a couple of long weekend breaks and worked on improving his golf. He had a willing golf buddy in his next-door neighbour, former Brighton and Hove Albion manager Mark McGhee.
“It was nice to have a break but strange to wake up on a Monday and wonder what to do.” Batchelor also worked for a charity for mentally handicapped children in his home town of Brighton. “That was very different to what I normally do and I ended up as a project manager. Between that and the Imla dinner, I helped raise about £50,000 so it was a nice way to end the year.”
He kept abreast of major developments in financial services, including the launch of new lenders such as Edeus and the start of instant offers pioneered by GMAC-RFC. “A few things have changed. The key thing I have noticed are the launch of new lenders and the technology pack is still one that I found interesting such as pointof-sale offers and automated decisions on underwriting. But I wonder in the intermediary market how valuable that is as intermediaries lack a human touch with the new technology.”
He is passionate about the issues. “The rise in interest rates has meant the demand for fixed rates have increased and a lot of lenders are pulling products. Then there is growth of the specialist market. When I started, there were four non-conforming players but now there are around 30.
“A lot of the non-conforming business is in the near-prime side. I am sure there will be more players in the market. It makes sense for the intermediary lenders to offer non-conforming and sub-prime products.
“There are challenges at the moment as we have a lot of new players and they need to understand the risk and the lenders with the best experience are going to be key to responsible lending.”
Career History: 2007 to date: Lehman Brothers Mortgage Capital Division; 1997-2007: Platform; 1989-1997: Mortgage Trust; 1985-1989: Scottish Life; 1983-1985: Bisco; 1980-1983: Sun Alliance
Education: Brighton College
Likes: Aviation, travel and most sports, especially tennis
Dislikes: People who over-promise and under-deliver
Drives: Porsche 911
Favourite Book: Looking Good Dead by Peter James
Favourite Film: The Usual Suspects
Life Ambition: Winning the men’s singles at Wimbledon
If I wasn’t doing this I would be… Running my own airline