Mortgage and protection network Stonebridge Group is celebrating reaching its 25th birthday.
Starting life as a commercial mortgage brokerage in 1988, the organisation has evolved over the past couple of decades, becoming a network in October 2010.
Managing director Richard Adams founded Stonebridge Group as a one-man band operation based out of an office in Hadleigh, Essex. It now has 36 staff and moved to its current site – Stonebridge House – in 2005.
Stonebridge Group now looks after around 100 appointed representative (AR) firms and 160 selling individuals and the group itself incorporates four companies – Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions being the network arm, Cathesis (wealth management), Revolution (bespoke financial services software) and Stonebridge Mortgage Services which is sole tied to Legal & General.
Adams said: “We are usually a forward-thinking company, but reaching such a landmark presents the perfect opportunity to look back over all we have achieved. To give some kind of context, average house prices were around £93,000 when Stonebridge was established and now they sit comfortably in excess of £160,000. We have survived and thrived through various economic cycles, achieving consistent growth while maintaining our zero borrowings policy and always managing to turn a profit. I was just 24 when I started Stonebridge Group with no formal training and, as a result, I try and ensure our relationships with our ARs are as non-corporate as possible.
“Since we became a network in 2010 we have continued to grow the business and increase the number of AR firms we assist. Establishing Cathesis as a concept based on simplicity and contemporary marketing techniques was a particular highpoint, and I’m similarly proud of Revolution given it is a program we wrote from scratch in-house.
“Surviving for 25 years in any industry is tough, but it is especially difficult in a sector as exposed to economic fluctuations as financial services which is why we’re so pleased to have passed this milestone. Having such a great team – and quality long-term strategic partners – makes my day job that much easier and bodes well for the future. Having weathered the storms of previous recessions, kept pace with rule and regulatory changes and adapted to different trends in lender and borrower behaviour, we are confident we can continue writing further chapters of the Stonebridge story for another 25 years and beyond.”