Tenth anniversary: Interview with Enness founders to mark ten years in business

To mark Enness’ tenth anniversary, our Communications Manager, Harriet, sat down with founders, Hugh and Islay, to discuss ten years in business, and what they have planned for the next ten.

Tell us about how Enness began

We met at Alexander Hall, where we sat next to each other and quickly recognised the competitive and entrepreneurial spirit within each other. We also identified a huge advice gap for high net worth (HNW) borrowers, particularly foreign nationals who were increasingly attracted to London property. High street banks and lenders just didn’t cater for this demographic.

As a result, Enness was conceived in The Pilot Pub, behind Foxtons’ Chiswick head office.

Ten years ago, did you face any challenges when setting up?

We set up Enness in 2007, the same week Northern Rock crashed, so it was a very challenging market to enter. The banks weren’t lending to mortgage brokerages – or anyone – but we manged to secure a £30,000 overdraft from Allied Irish Bank. Unfortunately, they were one of the hardest hit, so they withdrew the facility which put us in a very precarious situation for a few months.

How many employees do you have, and how this has grown since 2007?

When we started Enness, in a small office in Battersea, it was just the two of us. Now we have around 70 employees working from two offices in London and one in Monaco, and we’ll be adding a new team in an office in the Dubai International Finance Centre, in September this year.

Have you adapted the business to suit the changing market place?

There have been many changes in the property and mortgage markets over the last ten years, and as our clients have adapted, so have we. Staying in our niche of HNW mortgages for clients with complex requirements has meant we’re not competing with the mass market brokerages.

We’ve also always understood that diversification is key, so as our company’s grown, so too have our specialist divisions. This has enabled us to retain clients, by being able to look after all their property and business financing requirements.

What’s the biggest challenge Enness has faced over the last decade?

Entering the market when we did, in what was essentially economic Armageddon, was definitely the most challenging part of the last ten years. As a young company, with three employees in a small office in Battersea, navigating the difficult climate and managing to stay afloat during our first two years was extremely difficult and required a lot of resilience and belief in Enness. However, without that experience, we would ultimately not have been as successful as we are today. A decade on, we’ve won the award for ‘Best Broker of Large Loans’ at the industry’s leading event, the British Mortgage Awards, two years in a row, and this year won ‘Best Broker’ at the inaugural Property Wire Awards.

What’s your plan for Enness over the next ten years?

The next decade is set to be a very exciting one for us, on a global scale. Our international focus and outreach is a huge part of our business, and we are looking forward to further opportunities of lending in many different countries. In ten years, we plan to be providing a specialist service to HNW individuals with complex financing requirements worldwide.

Furthermore, Enness is primarily a HNW brokerage, but we will look to become even more holistic than we are now, by extending our secondary services offering. Enness Global Insurance, a new broker for HNW international general and personal insurance, launches in October.

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