View more on these topics

The day of creation

Nicola York finds out how and why the name Edeus was picked for a controversial new mortgage company that aims to make a big impact on the market

Verdant was the runner-up name for Michael Bolton’s new lending venture, but the Oakwood Group settled on Edeus because they favoured the “mortgage creator” tagline.

Edeus managing director Alan Cleary says private equity firm Oakwood asked four marketing agencies to come up with a name and a branding strategy and the agencies presented around 200 names.

Cleary says: “Apparently, all of the names that were put forward were nondescript, awful words like Moonstruck and Euphoria. They were quite creative but they did not mean anything.”

The number of agencies was then cut down to two but a suitable name had still not presented itself.

Cleary admits the absence of a company title was starting to hold up the planning process.

He says: “It was becoming vitally important to have a name. A name conjures up feelings and pictures and Oakwood could not build the company without a name.”

But then London advertising agency The Gate came up with with Edeus and Verdant.

Cleary says: “The name had to be something that everyone believed in and be a word we could build upon which would not hold us back. The Gate pitched two names to Oakwood and both of them knocked their socks off. The Verdant proposition was based around growth and the idea of a business teeming with life.

“But Oakwood was unanimously sold on Edeus. The words ‘mortgage creator’ just stood out as on a different plane to everyone else in the market.”s

Oakwood then had a long debate about whether the reference to deus, meaning creator or god, would be perceived as arrogant or pretentious. Cleary says they employed what he calls the “freak test” method.

“Our competitors are always going to be negative about whatever we do. The trick is understanding what your competitors are likely to do with it. We knew the god angle was going to come out. It is just a question of expecting it and we encouraged it to come out as quickly as possible so it would be devalued and people would forget about it,” he says.

There have been suggestions that Edeus could be seen as heathen or satanic which Cleary says is amusing.

“We are standing firm with the creator angle. People will get bored with the other angles pretty quickly,” he says.

Oakwood did not consider a quiet entrance to the market and Cleary says: “It is all about column inches. Not for one second did we consider a muted launch? We have not come here to be a bit player in the market.”

His belief in Edeus is unwavering and he thinks it can deliver something better in the market than HBOS. It is aiming for a more specialist lending experience away from the big corporate experience.

Good products always have to be the starting point in Cleary’s eyes. “Once you have a good product proposition, then the marketing angle becomes very important. If you have a great product and you do not tell anyone about it then it is no good. We are very marketing led.”

He says the Edeus brand is all about personality and hence the recent advertise-ments featuring CCTV shots of Bolton, Cleary and director of corporate accounts Martin Reynolds among others. Cleary says humour was an important aspect of the ads.

But he refuses to be drawn on how their products will differ from other specialist lenders although he does say that Edeus aims to bring the intermediary into the heart of its business.

“If you trust the intermediary to bring in the business, then why not trust them enough to let them do the whole arrangement process themselves from start to finish? We are going to bring them right into our business,” he says.

Technology is a key part of the firm and has been built into the name – the “e” in Edeus aiming to represent electronic business online. In 2003, Cleary was part of the HBOS team which introduced the one-minute mortgage and he believes Edeus can achieve some- thing similar .

“We introduced the one-minute mortgage three years ago but some lenders are still using bits of paper. Some lenders are slow and sleepy and are hiding their heads under the blanket. This is not a crowded market in terms of innovation, there is still lots of room.

“Our competitors will not be able to ignore us because we will be so high profile they will know we are there.”

Cleary’s primary concern is that the business may be too successful and put pressure on service standards. It is difficult to estimate business volumes for the first year and he says fairly conservative figures were presented to investors.

He is reluctant to give a figure but says around the 1bn mark for the first year is a figure which has been mentioned but he says Edeus has the resources and systems to cope with double that volume of business.

Speed of offer and personal service are two vital parts of the business. “We will have offered the deal before the intermediary even starts to worry about it. We will have underwriters on the end of the line.”

Edeus has an internet address with the .eu ending and Cleary says there are two reasons for this. “Being one of the first UK companies to adopt this will make us stand out but also one of our strategic options is to move into Europe at some point, which is obviously much easier with the .eu suffix. It is all about having a name that does not limit our business. A .uk ending does limit business.”

Is Cleary worried that when Edeus is finally launched in September, the result may not live up to the marketing and media hype?

He responds: “If we do not deliver something that lives up to the hype then we will have wasted a lot of money. We will bring innovations at launch but also after that. We will be the leading edge.”


Play to strengths

The key to creating a happier team who enjoy what they are doing

Whitmore to leave Schroders for Jupiter

Schroder recovery fund manager Ben Whitmore is set to join Jupiter Asset Management where he will manage the UK special situations fund. Whitmore has run the £281m recovery fund since August 2001 and will take over from Paul Sheehan, who will contine to run the Jupiter Primadona Investment Trust and institutional mandates.Schroders UK analyst Kevin […]

This week in Pensions

The European Court of Justice advocate general posed the question whether the UK is breaking EU pension law following the case brought against the Government by Allied Steel and Wire workers.

Cricket - thumbnail

England vs Australia: pensions

Well, the cricket season is here, and England and Australia are stepping up to the wicket. Although we compete with each other in the sporting world, when it comes to pensions, Australia’s pension programme is held up as a model for our auto-enrolment initiative. Auto-enrolment was introduced because people weren’t saving enough into their pensions, and it is still early days but signs are positive. However, in Australia, saving into a pension is compulsory, and in fact employers are the ones who have to pay in. Employees in Australia can make additional contributions into their pensions, but they don’t have to. Should the onus be on the employer or employee to save? Well in the UK we think it’s both, but to get ‘adequate’ savings for retirement it’s the employee who has to pay more in.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm