Scotland's brokers need to shout amid major challenge

MD's warning on the eve of The Scottish Mortgage Summit & Awards

Scotland's brokers need to shout amid major challenge

Mortgage advisers based locally in Scotland are under growing pressure from online brokers and need to be trumpeted for the good work they do, suggests The Lending Channel’s Alistair Ewing.

Ewing (pictured) is managing director of the Perth-based specialist mortgage broker and a speaker at tomorrow’s highly anticipated Scottish Summit & Mortgage Awards in Edinburgh.

Sponsored by Mortgage Introducer and parent company KM Business Information, the coveted event will be held at the prestigious Sheraton Grand Hotel, showcasing the best of Scotland’s mortgage industry.

A daytime summit, ahead of the evening awards, provides a chance to strengthen professional ties, with a schedule of illuminating discussions promised, to debate the pressing issues facing the industry today. Registration for the summit is free.

Ewing will be part of a discussion debating strategies for future success, while other subjects under the spotlight will be navigating the later life landscape, the vibrancy of the Scottish mortgage industry, and how to get ahead with marketing.

What distinguishes Scotland’s mortgage brokers?

Customers in Scotland favour dealing with locally-based advisers, Ewing believes.

“There is a great choice of high calibre, directly authorised and network regulated mortgage brokers in Scotland, offering a high quality service to clients,” he said. “I do believe that many Scottish clients prefer to engage with local, Scottish-based advisers.

“With online shopping continuing to gain traction in the high street retail sector, local mortgage advisers face increasing levels of competition from online adviser firms, and while this is the same UK-wide, it is vital that our lending community in Scotland does its very best to continue to shout very loudly how good the Scottish mortgage sector actually is.”

Family business The Lending Channel offers alternative funding solutions to those people whom, it says, have typically been unable to find what they want from their high street bank. The majority of its business is introduced by independent financial advisers, brokers and other professional connections.

Read more: TAB expands into Scotland

What challenges does the Scottish mortgage industry face?

While Ewing highlighted the strengths of the Scottish mortgage market, he acknowledged the challenges it faces too.

“The political climate in Scotland brings specific disadvantages to the mortgage market here,” he said. “Landlords have to pay 6% Additional Dwelling Supplement in Scotland, compared to 3% in England, plus they have had to contend with rent controls and no evictions.

“The holiday let market saw new legislation introduced in October 2023, which requires a licence to be obtained from the local authority to operate a short-term let. In addition there are other areas of personal tax which also make it tougher for Scottish mortgage payers, namely stamp duty and the lower rate at which higher rate income tax kicks in here. Unfortunately, all of these areas of concern are outside the control of the Scottish mortgage market itself.”

Other experts speaking at tomorrow’s event include Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, James Rice, managing director at broker firm The Mortgage Finance Store, and broker Helen MacKenzie, from MacKenzie Mortgages. Kieran Mullen, key account manager at Canada Life UK, plus Hannah Walker, national sales manager at LV=GI for Intermediaries, and Jeff Knight, director of Grey Matter Marketing Solutions, also join the expert line-up.

At the glittering evening awards ceremony, the winners of more than 20 categories will be announced, for title such as Best Overall Broker in Scotland, Broker of the Year (Regional), BDM of the Year, Protection Provider of the Year, Later Life Lender of the Year and New Brokerage of the Year. The winner of the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award will also be revealed.

“Being able to mingle and socialise with the great and the good of the Scottish mortgage industry is always highly enjoyable,” anticipated Ewing, “but I do particularly love to see the look on the faces of award winners who are genuinely surprised to win. It’s just fantastic to see success being recognised in this type of forum.”

To find out more about The Scottish Mortgage Summit & Awards go to: Mortgage Introducer | Scottish Mortgage Summit