News in brief – 20 May 2022

Anti-money laundering firm, SmartSearch, has announced the appointment of Collette Allen as chief operating officer. Allen joined the company in 2013 as a senior support specialist and within two years had earned a position as head of client services. Five years later, she was appointed to the SmartSearch board as client services director. In her new role, Allen will oversee SmartSearch’s operations and procedures and will be responsible for driving sustainable business growth.

The Nottingham has announced a series of buy-to-let (BTL) and limited company BTL criteria enhancements. The building society revealed it had responded to broker feedback by making changes which include lower Interest Cover Ratio (ICR) figures for BTL, and reduced calculation rates for standard BTL and limited company applications, together with the removal of a required minimum income.

Second charge lender, Evolution Money, has announced the launch of its new “digital journey” for customers and adviser introducers, utilising new technology to help cut process and completion times. The launch includes the Evolution Money App which the lender said will provide a range of elements. These include a deeper fact find questionnaire, digital ID verification, open banking, document collection and storage, e-signing of documents well, an appointment booking system, as well as status updates and omni-channel communications.

Zephyr Homeloans has confirmed it is to host a webinar on the topic of limited companies this month. The specialist buy-to-let lender indicated that a 45-minute event on 24 May will be for brokers involved in advising such companies, which are typically set up to purchase and manage a BTL property. The webinar will also cover the differences between conveyancing for a BTL limited company and purchasing BTL property as an individual, how personal guarantees work, as well as the importance of directors and non-directors receiving independent legal advice.

General insurance provider, Berkeley Alexander, has announced the launch of a new “rebuild cost valuation service”. The move will help eradicate the problems of over or underinsurance for commercial property owners and mid and high net worth clients. The service has been developed in partnership with Rebuild Cost Assessment Ltd and is being offered free of change by Berkeley Alexander to its existing broker partners until the end of June 2022.

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