In the Spotlight with Spencer Wyer, CLSQ
FR: What prompted your move from Hometrack, and why did you join CLSQ?
Having negotiated the acquisition of the Mortgage Lending Solutions division of EDM Group by Zoopla in December 2020, my team and I were really happy to join Hometrack and over the following two years we successfully integrated the businesses and defined a combined product strategy. I ended up running the product and technology side of the business in a role that was very operationally demanding.
I really wanted to return to strategy and product innovation and, having got to know CLSQ over the previous three or four years I was really excited with what they were doing with property data, geospatial technology and data-led insurance. So, they were my first point of call, and it turned out they wanted me to join the team as much as I wanted to join them.
CLSQ’s partnership with Hometrack continues to go from strength to strength since I moved, and we’ve just onboarded new lenders with CLSQ’s Live EPC and Title/Tenure services through the relationship. So, I still get to see my ex-colleagues and friends at Zoopla and Hometrack.
FR: What’s your role at CLSQ?
I love my role at CLSQ as strategic development director as I can really apply my expertise and industry experience to help accelerate the development of new cutting-edge property data solutions and data-led insurance products, which will be game changing in the way they empower lenders to provide a better mortgage experience for brokers and borrowers.
I got what I wanted out of the move, which is to spend 80% of my time focused on strategy, innovation and the go-to market readiness of CLSQ’s brilliant products and services. I work closely with Matt and Tom, the founders, and the rest of the CLSQ board and team, all of whom are visionaries and specialists in how we can transform the way properties are transacted in the UK.
"I’m finding the possibilities of using the combination of extensive property data, geospatial analysis, and insurance fascinating."
FR: Why do you think CLSQ will be a game changer?
I’m finding the possibilities of using the combination of extensive property data, geospatial analysis, and insurance fascinating. This basically means that we combine multiple data sources, apply them in a precise way to the real world and then protect against risk. Identify, analyse and de-risk in essence. This combination enables way more instant lending decisions than is possible with data and automation alone with the significant added benefit of capital risk mitigation through insurance.
It’s this practical application of data to the real world that makes CLSQ a game changer. What this really means is that we have the ability to bring together probably the most extensive collection of our own and third-party property data in one place, precisely address match and plot proximity geospatially against buildings and boundaries, and then protect against cost and loss through truly innovative data-led and economically viable insurance products. This is only possible because of CLSQ’s long heritage within the insurance market and great long-term partnerships with AA-rated insurance carriers.
FR: What have you achieved since joining in April?
In the few months since I joined, working closely with the CLSQ team, we’ve made great progress in getting more of our property data products directly into mortgage lenders, including Shawbrook Bank and Nationwide Building Society. We’ve also signed a partnership agreement with Hometrack to provide our property data via their platforms, and lenders have already gone live with the first of the products through this partnership. My other big area of focus has been the go-to market for our truly innovative data led insurance products for lenders, Verify and APVS (more of these later).
Lorenzo Tejada-Orrell, our chief innovation officer, and his team have built a brilliant technology platform at CLSQ that enables us to bring new products to market with incredible speed and agility, so the product build is already done, and the policies are agreed with the carriers which means we are now ready to onboard lenders.
We’ve also been exploring some specific collaborations to bring game changing solutions to market with partners, but obviously I can’t share the details of those exciting projects until they get closer to fruition.
FR: What’s coming later this year?
This is a big year for CLSQ. We continue to hold a strong market share in legal indemnities, and are successfully increasing the number of lenders with whom we work to empower their lending decisions with our extensive property data and insight solutions. As I mentioned, launching our lender specific insurance products is the big focus...
“Verify” insures lenders against losses on the outstanding loan amount at repossession when using automated valuation. This enables capital risk mitigation through insurance, more relevant than ever with Basel 3.1. And also more instant lending decisions without the need to visit the property resulting in quantifiable carbon emission reduction.
“APVS” is a data led insurance solution that identifies risks and protects the lenders against costs and losses related to a broad set of insured risks including HMLR title issues, contaminated land and Japanese Knotweed for the life of the mortgage. The cover is even transferable through securitisation.
Both products enable many more instant mortgage decisions, combined with the certainty of either knowing a risk exists or being protected against even unknown risks with capital risk mitigation through insurance and co2 emissions reduction. The combination of these unique data led insurance products will protect lenders making more automated mortgage decisions than has ever been possible before while reducing friction in the transaction by giving both good and bad news as early as possible.
FR: Why is it particularly important for lenders to harness these data, geospatial and insurance solutions?
The combination of these three things together results in the next level of instant decision-making, with greater certainty sooner that results in a better customer experience. Borrowers want a quick decision, instant if possible, and then they want as frictionless a journey as possible from mortgage application to completion, without nasty surprises weeks down the line after a survey or during conveyancing.
By providing extensive data about the property on day one and enabling precise determination of proximity to risks and then insuring against losses and costs with AA-insurance cover enables lenders to provide a more seamless and efficient mortgage process, reduce the massive cost of application fall through, increase margins, reduces carbon emissions and enable capital risk mitigation through insurance. This is what lenders can achieve with combination of data, geospatial analysis and insurance!