8 The History of Bower By The Bower Team / In Company News As we look forward to celebrating our 10th birthday this June, we thought it would be apt to share the history behind our company name and where it came from. Bower comes from the village Havering-atte-Bower, where our CEO, Geoff Charles grew up – just 15 minutes from our head office in Ongar, Essex. Bower has a meaning of ‘shelter’, which is what Geoff and the Bower team wish to provide for our customers, through the expert advice and financial protection that we are so dedicated to providing. Bower Mortgage Company started in 2006. We started predominantly advising and arranging mortgages and protection policies and in the latter part of 2006 we expanded to advise on Equity Release trading as Bower. In 2011 we moved from a tiny office in Brentwood to where we are now at The Gables in Ongar. There were only a handful of staff in 2006 and we have progressed considerably over the last 10 years to over 50 staff and are still expanding. From being a local company we have expanded as a National company with advisers in all parts of the UK including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our non-executive board of Directors include several notable long standing and respected individuals in the industry, including Jon King, our Chairman, formerly Director General of SHIP and in the past held directorships with Hodge Lifetime and More2Life. In addition to this a Director and Corporate Affairs Officer, Andrea Rozario has a long standing history in the equity release market, being also formerly Director General of the Equity Release Council and its predecessor SHIP. Peter Mila is the Chief Operating Officer. Our Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Charles, received the industry award of Outstanding Contribution to the Industry in 2011. Excellent customer service, trust and honesty are our absolute goal, and we always strive to deliver an exemplary customer experience. We have received numerous yearly awards for the best equity release advice voted for both the public and our industry partners. Including awards from the trusted review site Feefo along with winning Best Equity Release Adviser in the What Mortgage Awards for the fifth year running. In 2016 we pioneered and launched Bower Private Clients, a subsidiary to cater for the high net worth market. 2016 also saw the launch of our partnership with Arbour Legal Services. Bower meaning – a shelter (as in a garden) made with tree boughs or vines twined together: Arbour (hence our legal services partner). We work closely with the Equity Release Council and have a seat on their Consumer Protection Working Group. Although we have a few specialist external contractors, all of the day to day running of the company is in house with our own core departments, including Customer Services, ICTS, Compliance, Finance and Operations. Our Partnership division maintains an ever expanding network of introducer partners. Andrea Rozario is continuously working with the media, both mainstream and industry as both a commentator and writer, often featuring in the national press. Bower has often been quoted in newspapers including the Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail.