Profile: Enness

Written by: Locate Jersey Posted: 24/04/2020

BL67_Enness_IslayRobinsonHaving founded global mortgage brokerage Enness amidst the credit crunch of 2007, Group CEO Islay Robinson (pictured right) has grown the business into a mortgage solutions market leader for high-net-worth individuals. Now, as it looks to bolster its international proposition, Enness has established an office in Jersey. Robinson and Principal Representative Jack Goguelin (below) explain how this outlet will play a pivotal part in achieving the firm’s global aspirations 

Can you explain a bit about what Enness does?

Islay Robinson (IR): We’re a mortgage brokerage business and have become one of the leading brokers for high-net-worth individuals in the UK. 

It might seem counterintuitive, but wealthy people actually find it very difficult and complicated to evidence affordability and access property finance. 

It’s often the case, for instance, that they do not have what are classed as ‘vanilla’ incomes. They might be looking to secure loans against a bonus or rental income, they can be self-employed, or they are looking at property acquisitions in different overseas markets in multiple currencies. 

That all adds up to quite a complex picture and it can be a real challenge to find lenders that will look at that – let alone offer decent terms.

BL67_Enness_JackGoguelinJack Goguelin (JG): Our role is to find a solution when clients come to us with a challenge. That means providing a full range of services to make sure the whole mortgage process works, from identifying a suitable lender from our 300-strong global network, to sourcing legal, tax or foreign exchange services to make sure the transaction comes to fruition.

What made Jersey an attractive location for expansion?

IR: Unsurprisingly, given our client base, our business was becoming increasingly international. So, in 2016, we decided to open a representative office in Monaco, and then later in Dubai, to help us diversify away from London and the UK and to better meet the needs of clients across Europe and the Middle East. 

However, our global interests were continuing to grow – last year, we supported the needs of clients of 78 different nationalities. So we took the strategic decision to review our model and find a platform that would give us a good basis to maintain this global dynamic. We needed a centre with a solid regulatory and legal framework to give clients peace of mind, which understood the private client sector that we were working in, and also had good experience of cross-border finance. 

In all areas, Jersey ticked the boxes – it was a perfect fit. So last year, we put the wheels in motion and established Enness Jersey.

Was establishing the Jersey office straightforward?

IR: Once we started the process, we found gaining access to the right people who could support us was very easy. We spoke to the regulator, who helped guide us through the regulatory side of things – that was very important to us – and Locate Jersey was incredibly helpful in enabling us to navigate the licensing and administrative elements to setting up our office. 

We’ve been fortunate enough to secure space in the new IFC 5 building, putting us at the heart of Jersey’s finance hub and, I have to say, it’s been a very smooth process.

How is Jersey suited to the business?

JG: We see real synergies and mutual benefits to being in Jersey. For us, Jersey provides the opportunity to operate in close proximity with some of the leading experts globally in the private client world, from trust companies to wealth advisers and law firms. 

Jersey really is seen as being at the top of the game in this space and service levels are exceptionally high, which resonates with our clients. All of that is very attractive to us.

At the same time, we feel we bring something different to support the local private client community – and since we’ve been here, we’ve had really excellent feedback about how we’ve been able to fill a gap in the market. 

How is the business evolving since it was launched and what are your future ambitions?

JG: Our first few months of being in Jersey have centred around building awareness and relationships with key stakeholders in the region. The response has been really excellent from the local community and we’ve begun to see a strong uplift in enquiries.

IR: Our objective is for our Jersey operation to be the pivotal driving force in building our non-UK regulated business. To that extent, we will be looking to grow our office over the coming months, on both the brokerage and operational side. 

Our initial experience of being in Jersey has been extremely positive, and with our operation now up and running and a renewed energy in the international property market, we’re really confident and excited for our future and the role the Jersey office will play. 

This advertising feature was produced in association with Locate Jersey. 

• This advertising feature was first published in the April/May 2020 edition of Businesslife magazine

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