Hear from Joseph Aston, National Sales Manager at Vantage Private Finance as he talks about property financing trends and where the opportunity is in the current market.

Tell us a little about Vantage Private Finance?

We’ve been around for over 14 years, we’re directly authorised with the FCA – have been for 12 years. We’re a master broker, so actually a lot of our business comes from other brokers that aren’t able to place business. So, we deal with really specialist cases. Commercial finance, development finance, bridging finance. Complex Buy-to-Let, which is a huge market at the moment – whether that’s HMO, limited company, expats or foreign nationals, adverse credit even. And then we do residential First and Second Charge mortgages as well.

The thing I always like to say, is actually – we’re not unique. The broker model is fairly set, and I think anybody that is claiming to reinvent the wheel is probably telling porkies. The only thing you can focus on, is the rigour in which you deliver that service – and I’m lucky enough to represent a team in the back office who are doing this day in, day out. They deliver a superb service based on strong communication and expertise that’s been built up over the last 14 years.

We’re really passionate in coming back to people quickly and fundamentally we’re a little different in that we don’t charge any fees up front. So, we won’t take a penny from the client until the loan is released, until completion. Yes – we attract a lot of tat for that reason but actually we’re happy to have a speculative conversation with somebody about their financing needs or sort of their investment plans, with the hope that building a long-term partnership will help everybody to thrive. We only succeed when the market succeeds and whatever we can do to help that then obviously we want to.

Projects are so unique in their own right, and the borrower themselves. There’s a lot more specialist underwriting happening now. People can go and present a business plan, they can show their track record and the lenders are open to looking at individual projects, aren’t they?

Yes, very much so. When people bring a case to us we always say how it’s really important to bring your ‘CV’ – we don’t care where you’ve worked, it’s about your experience in property. The more experience you’ve got, even the little things – refurbishing your own home, redecorating, moving a kitchen around, it all starts to give a lender confidence that you might know what you’re doing. Fundamentally all lenders, all property products, all they ever care about is risk. To advert the risk, or suddenly lower the risk seemingly to a lender will give you a far wider range of options.

There’s a huge interest in build-to-rent, in other words to buy, build out, but then hold for the long-term. Is that a trend that you’re seeing?

Yes, very much so. What we’re seeing really is that people who were originally what I would call a ‘standard landlord’, I mean that in a nice way – ‘I own two or three properties, and I’ve got a passive income’. With tax regulation changes, with other sort of barriers put in place, they want to know ‘how do we get more money from our investment?’. And actually, what they’re starting to do is consider the light refurb – buying distress properties, properties under market value, do some work, get it to a habitable space – and remortgage for the long term.

The people who have already been doing that, are now looking at heavier refurbishments; office blocks to residential, a change in use from a single dwelling to an HMO – and it’s the people who have then been doing these heavier projects, heavier refurbishments are now considering a ground-up build and moving into the development market. So, everybody seems to be sort of trying to elevate themselves what I would say one step – and that’s great, that’s fantastic because it means the space is becoming more professional. I think we’re seeing less accidental landlords at the moment, and long-term it is leading to more people ambitiously developing and building, and wherever we can support that, we’re really enjoying getting stuck into it.

It pushes innovation as well, doesn’t it?

Absolutely, people are coming up with all sorts of different ideas. A lot of people are talking about show homes, and actually how can they take on a number of show homes, at least as short-term. Holiday lets are coming up, the Airbnb revolutionised holiday letting and actually how do lenders finance people who want to let them out on that basis? Serviced, apartments, all of this sort of need, investment from abroad has also changed how landlords are looking at the UK – and lenders have to respond.

Lenders have to have a product that matches the needs of the people, and we’re lucky to have those relationships. I would recommend to anybody in this field to speak to a broker, a specialised broker, whether it’s us or not – I hope so. Somebody who can pick up the phone above that first level of underwriting and say there’s common sense behind this deal, and what can we do? What can we do together to get this across the line because lending needs to be happening if the market wants to thrive, and the lenders want to – you just need to know where to go to.

To find out more about our products to help finance your property projects, click here

As a result of Data Protection legislation and associated regulation, you are entitled to be assured that your personal data is collected, processed and stored for specific purposes and that this is done so securely and confidentially. We, as Data Controllers, have responsibilities under Data Protection laws to inform you of the data we collect, why we collect it, how we process it and with whom it will be shared. This is set out in our Privacy Notice, a copy of which you may already have been given.

Should you require any further details or wish to enquire on the details we hold on you please contact the firm’s Data Protection Representative via the following:

Email: compliance@vantagefinance.co.uk

Post: Data Protection Representative, Vantage Private Finance, Oak House, Oak End Way, Gerrard’s Cross, Bucks, SL9 8BR

Tel: 0175 3 880 447

Who we are

Vantage Private Finance (VPF) is a mortgage adviser and packager of mortgage loans. We act with your financial adviser or broker, who provides us with your personal data to effect an application for a first, second or subsequent charge mortgage. Depending on the circumstances, VFL may provide you with advice on the most suitable loan available based on your financial circumstances or, where your adviser provides this recommendation, will package your application for submission to the chosen lender.

Where we provide advice to you, we will need to collect details on your income and expenditure, details of any loans you have outstanding (both mortgage and personal lending), and your credit history and repayment profiles. This data will be passed to the chosen mortgage lender.

In any instance where VPF acts as packager of your application, VFL will source a number of loan options for you, based on the information provided by your adviser and once they recommend a specific product we will collect all information that is required by the lender to complete drawdown of the required funds.

VPF is a trading name of Vantage Finance Ltd who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Vantage Finance Ltd’s Firm Reference Number is 446234. You can obtain further details on the company from the FCA’s website at: https://register.fca.org.uk/

Vantage Finance Ltd is also registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as a Data Controller. The firm’s registration number with the ICO is: Z8792297 and further details can be obtained from the ICO’s registers at: https://ico.org.uk/esdwebpages/search

What data we collect

We will only collect such data that is needed to underwrite your loan application. This includes:

  • Your name
  • Your current and previous address(es)
  • Your date of birth
  • Details on your financial profile including your income and expenditure
  • Your identification documents (e.g. copies of passport or drivers licence)
  • Other relevant details required to establish your identity
  • Other relevant information pertinent to the application for a loan as may be required by the lender

Details that we will never require from you include:

  • Your religious views
  • Your political views
  • Your sexual orientation
  • Your medical history
  • Your trade union memberships

Why we collect your data

Under Data Protection laws we must have a legal basis for the collection of your data. This means that there must be a specific reason for us to request your data. Vantage Private Finance collects data for the maintenance of a contract for a loan application and for the preparation of entry into this contract. The information is used and processed in order for us to provide you with advice and to submit to lenders for their underwriting of your application.

Sources of information

All initial data that we gather about you will be provided by your financial adviser or broker acting under your instruction.

Using that data, we will obtain further data from those external companies who maintain data on your credit history (i.e. CRAs) and Fraud Prevention Agencies as well as the Land Registry.

With whom do we share your data

Your data will be shared with other, external data processors to assist us in providing you with finance. These include:

  • Mortgage Lenders
  • Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs)
  • Our parent company, Enra Group Ltd
  • Our regulator, the FCA
  • Statutory Bodies on their lawful request, e.g. NCA, police forces

Mortgage Lenders

In order to provide you with finance, VPF will pass your details to mortgage lenders in order that they can underwrite and assess your application to provide the loan funds. The chosen mortgage lender who commences the underwriting of your application will act as Data Controller and will provide you with a copy of their Privacy Notice detailing how they use your data. They may also require further information to process the application which they will ask us to gather and submit to them.

CRAs

CRAs maintain credit profile data on consumers within the United Kingdom. As part of the application process, your details will be shared with the CRA in order that we can view your credit history and profile. This provides details on loans, credit accounts, personal finance and utilities that you maintain or have maintained displaying how you have managed their repayments. While this informs our decision on providing you with finance, this is not the sole criteria for our decision.

Further details on CRAs and how they use your information can be found on our Privacy Policy on Vantage Private Finance’s website at www.vantageprivatefinance.co.uk or can be obtained directly from the CRAs via Equifax’s website: www.equifax.co.uk/crain

Parent Firm

Vantage Private Finance and Vantage Finance Ltd are part of the Enra Group of companies. As a result, a number of the functions which are common to each firm is undertaken centrally by Enra. This will entail sharing your data with Enra for the purpose of maintaining and administering your loan contract as well as processing your data for internal statistical purposes only.

The FCA and other Statutory Bodies

Where the firm is regulated, we have an obligation to report certain personal data to the FCA, a statutory body set up under legislation. We have further requirements, where requested by other statutory bodies, such as the National Crime Agency, police forces, the Serious Fraud Office, etc. to provide specified personal data on their lawful request for information. This is done on a confidential basis and, through legislation, you will not be entitled to be informed of when this transfer of data has occurred. Details of what data we have submitted to these entities are also exempt from disclosure under a Subject Access Request.

Your Rights

Data Protection legislation provides you with express rights which include:

Your right to object or request erasure of the data we hold

You may object to Vantage Private Finance holding or processing your personal data and/or request that we remove this data from our storage. Please be advised, however, that should you request that this takes place before a loan completes then we will be unable to provide you with advice or complete the loan application. Please contact the firm’s Data Protection Representative for further details or to exercise your rights.

Your right to correct your data

Where you or we become aware of an error in the data that Vantage Private Finance controls, processes or holds, you have a right to have that data corrected. You can inform our Data Protection Representative of any errors that need to be corrected.

Your right to a copy of your data

You also have the right to request either the details of the data we hold on you or to request a copy of this. We are obliged to provide this to you within 30 days of receipt of your request. Please contact the firm’s Data Protection Representative to request this.

Your Right to Data Portability

You have the right to request that data which we hold is passed to another Data Controller for their use on your behalf via a “machine readable” format. This can be requested from the Data Protection Representative of Vantage Private Finance.

Your Right to Complain

You have a right to complain, via our Data Protection Representative, in regards to how and why we process, or any errors we have made in the processing of, your data. Your complaint can also be made to the Information Commissioners Office:

Post: ICO, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113

Website: www.ico.org.uk

Data Retention

Vantage Private Finance will only retain your data for as long as is necessary. In all cases this will be for a period of 7 years from the drawdown of your loan facility and where your loan does not complete, from the time when the decision is made to refuse credit by the lender or where you decide not to proceed. We are obliged to retain your data for this period in order to meet our regulatory and legislative obligations.

Data Storage

All Data that Vantage Private Finance collects is controlled and stored within the UK. We do not transfer data to any entity outside of the UK or the EEA. Where this does occur, we will inform you of the situation and seek your consent prior to the initiation of the transfer.