AOBP Annual General Meeting 2011

Last post: Oct 8, 2011

On Thursday last, October 6th, we attended the Association of Bridging Professionals’ (AOBP) Annual Conference in Millbank Tower, London.

On Thursday last, October 6th, we attended the Association of Bridging Professionals' (AOBP) Annual Conference in Millbank Tower, London. This was the first such meeting of this fledgling organisation which is a mere 1 year old! In that time - they tell us - they have racked up some 350+ members, attracted some key sponsors and have begun to lobby on behalf of and represent the Bridging finance industry. If that's what they've managed form a standing start in 1 year, we can't wait to see what the next year will bring! Credit where it's due, this was a well-organised meeting and reflected well on what is increasingly gaining a reputation as a well-organised professional body. The great and the good of the Bridging finance community gathered and numbered to our eyes some 200 or so which is an amazing turnout for a meeting in the middle of the working day, in the middle of a very busy market. Chaired by the eloquent Jonathan Newman we heard about how the organisation was founded, got an update on the rapid growth of the AOBP and had presentations on topics of relevance to our industry. Matters such as impending regulation of the Bridging Loan Industry and It was good too to see how the AOBP is working with other industry groups. Representing the NACFB (National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers) was John Philips and it was only right that he was afforded the opportunity at this meeting to speak of his own group. Clearly there are large overlaps here and the industry is best served by all professional bodies working together which seems to be the case. We also had a brief update from the other major Bridging Finance Industry representative body, the Association of Short term Lenders (ASTL), who pointed out that their role has traditionally been more out of the public eye but doing the "hard yards" of lobbying politicians and Decision makers regarding the direction of future regulation and policy decisions. I couldn't help but think the tone of the speech was a touch defensive and perhaps reactionary in the face of the widespread publicity and support the AOBP has received in such a short space of time but there is not doubt that ASTL has done some excellent work and combined with AOPB will contuniue to lobby on behalf of the industry. Overall the format worked well and the Speakers were concise and relevant, though a slight overrun did mean much of the audience had to leave before the last few speakers. Despite this there was ample time before and after the speakers to network and swap business cards and some good contacts were made. Oh, and we have to mention the excellent facilities and food there as well - the AOPB sure do know how to host an event! The impression we were left with was that the Bridging finance industry is showing great unity at a time when it is needed amid a background of substantial growth and now has another strong voice to lobby for more appropriate treatment of the sector by the regulators. Given the changes and challenges that are ahead, the timing couldn't be better.