With average loans in the £1000s rather than the £100s, London-based Hopkins & Jones Ltd., is increasing it’s ‘high-end’ customer base almost daily, when many others in the marketplace are fighting hard to retain theirs.
According to Jim Tannahill, one of the business partners and NPA Council member, it’s all down to treating the customers well, in the way they expect and having direct conversation with them over a desk, rather than over the internet. “We offer discreet and private loans of £200 – £50,000 against assets including jewellery, luxury watches, fine art, antiques, luxury and classic cars. We are able to exchange cash from £200 to £10,000 within the hour, and for larger sums bank transfers can be arranged within 24hrs. “We take pride in our highly professional and confidential service. In the past year, we have seen a significant increase in high-end goods being pledged by both business and personal borrowers to meet short term needs including business and cash flow issues, property deals school fees and premium holidays to name just a few,” Jim added. “It is our policy to spend a lot more time talking to customers than is the norm with other pawnbrokers”.
Hopkins & Jones has operated in central London for over a century and about a year ago was bought out by Jim and fellow Director Kris Parish, who worked alongside him at T.M.Sutton’s. The discerning customers are using luxury watches with brands including Rolex, Cartier, Patek Phillippe, IWC, Audemars Piguet, certificated diamonds, jewellery, valuable antiques, quality art and even memorabilia to borrow typically between £1,000 to £20,000. Many customers bring repeat business using the same items as and when their needs arise. Looking at the overall pawnbroking market in London Kris said: “It is easy to think there’s a lot of competition out there, but for our services there are few competitors, that’s why bit-by-bit we are increasing our loyal customer base.”
The shop, which trades in quality jewellery as well as pawnbroking is sited in a great location – William IV Street. It is almost next door to a subway tunnel connecting to Charing Cross Station, and as Jim explained, it is situated in a block owned by Coutts Bank and directly across the road from the city’s armed response police unit. “So security is not really an issue for us. We are surrounded by CC TV cameras and armed police are constantly walking up and down our street as they use it for parking their vehicles.”
Hopkins & Jones was established in 1853 as Hayward & Sintzenich with premises in Sackville Street, London W1. When the business was purchased by the two leading members of staff, Louis Hopkins and Llewellyn William Jones in 1941, the premises moved to Regency House in Piccadilly, then to Carlos Place, Mayfair. In 1979 it moved to its present address.
Part of the company’s success is the calibre and experience of its team of valuers. Running a successful jewellery business alongside pawnbroking the team make quick decisions and have the confidence to offer the best possible loan to value. Added Kris: “The demand for a quality pawnbroking offering is increasing in all parts of the countries as people continue to face the challenges of the current financial climate. Assets that have been amassed during the boom years are now becoming an important currency for business people and those who are considered well off, in helping maintain their cash flow.” With credit challenges set to continue, Kris concluded: “It’s good for people to know that there is a quick, discreet and easy solution to financial pressures which do not involve you having to get into debt, or jump through hoops with your bank manager.”