Good news has been in short supply over the past couple of months, which is why Martin Stewart, co-founder of The Money Group, has engaged in a one-man battle to put out positive news throughout March and April.
He has, for example, announced a pay rise for all The Money Group’s staff; encouraged its brokers not to write disparaging things about mortgage lenders during this time of crisis; and he has encouraged charitable giving.
So why does Mr Stewart say it is important to shed some sunshine?
“Firstly, why wouldn’t you want to put good news out there? We all know what the bad news is and we don’t see the point in advertising that any further than we have to,” he says.
“Furthermore, it’s important for us as individuals and as a group to maintain a sense of what is possible and it is always easy to assume the worst but not everyone has the ability to hope for the best.”
So is he just trying to be “different”? Followers on social media have often enjoyed his humorously different take on events, but what about professionally?
He says: “We set our thinking out to be different and we were quick to acknowledge where we are today, even quicker to make sure we accept it and then endeavour to be as quick out of the blocks to adapt to it as we can.
“The main reason though, for endeavouring to issue good news regularly, is because we want to remain visible.
“We can’t win the business war right now, no one can – it is outside of our control.
“But we made a conscious decision in March to try and win the PR war because we felt that was something we could control.
“It is early days but we believe we will create results from that approach, which will benefit us when the market begins to turn.”
Forging a career
Mr Stewart has been in financial services since the late 1990s, and showed the same determination in setting up The Money Group, which is an affiliation of mortgage brokers around the UK.
“I was determined from the age of 18 to forge a career in finance, and in London.
“I came from a sleepy backwater with no real formal education, and I can vouch for the fact that sheer will and determination can have as much impact on your life choices as talent and exam results.
“But the industry was very different 30 years ago, when it was more about stumbling across opportunities than the structured, fully qualified and more respectful entry points we have today,” he comments.
He set up London Money in 2011 and now has 45 brokers operating under The Money Group brand; the brokers remain directly authorised, but The Money Group offers some shared functions such as marketing and best practice.
Mr Stewart says it is important to get a “solid foundation”, so the group can become a “recognised, nationwide, diversified brand.