How much demand is there for brokers' advice?

Expert believes intermediaries could thrive as clients update their deals

How much demand is there for brokers' advice?

Mortgage brokers could enjoy greater levels of business at a time when the demand for knowledgeable advice is at its peak, according to an industry expert.

Encouragingly, Tom Barnett, head of sales & recruitment, at HLPartnership, believes the potential volume of clients seeking to rethink their mortgage arrangements could lead to a rise in market share for intermediaries.

HLPartnership is a privately-owned network for mortgage and protection advisers, and well connected to market trends.

“The upcoming surge in remortgage and product transfer activities presents a unique challenge to advisers,” Barnett (pictured) told Mortgage Introducer.  “They must focus on retaining clients by engaging with them effectively, providing support, and communicating proactively to ensure clients receive the most suitable deals.”

The past few years have been testing for advisers, Barnett acknowledged, with increased regulatory pressures aimed at improving industry standards for both professionals and their clients. In his view, directly authorised (DA) firms have felt the weight of these changes more acutely, as they often lack the network support that assists with updating policies and streamlining procedures.

“Access to advanced technology and having a support system, including someone to consult for advice, are areas where these firms may find themselves at a disadvantage,” he suggested. “Certainly, the transformation in technology within the mortgage industry has been profound. Yet, interestingly, as tech has advanced, the role and value of an adviser hasn’t diminished; they’ve become more pronounced.

“With technology handling the routine tasks, advisers can dedicate more time to understanding their clients’ unique needs and fostering those crucial personal connections that are the heart of good service.”

What is the value of broker advice?

In the current market, a good broker is invaluable, suggested Barnett. He believes the need for personalised advice, supported by technology, can only grow.

“With complex regulations, a multitude of products, and an ever-changing economic landscape, brokers serve as crucial navigators for consumers,” he observed. “They demystify the mortgage process, providing clarity and personalised guidance that aligns with each client’s financial situation and goals.

“Brokers bring a wealth of knowledge and resources, offering access to a broader range of products than a consumer might find independently. They can often secure more favourable terms due to their industry relationships and negotiation skills.

In Barnett’s view, brokers are effectively timesavers, managing the legwork of the mortgage process - from gathering necessary paperwork to liaising with lenders, which can be a significant benefit in a market where timing is often critical.

“Perhaps most importantly, in today’s market, a good broker is a trusted adviser who can offer peace of mind during what is frequently one of the most significant financial decisions in a person’s life,” he reasoned.

“They provide ongoing support, from the initial search through to completion, ensuring their clients are well-informed and confident in their decisions. This level of service is particularly crucial in a volatile market, where changes in interest rates and lending criteria can impact affordability and availability of mortgages.”

Read more: HLPartnership names new operations director

How can brokers improve their businesses?

Barnett urged intermediaries to adopt new technologies to streamline processes, enhance customer service, and stand out in the market. He advises strengthening referral networks, keeping across market trends and regulations, and stepping up their online presence. Furthermore, investing in ongoing training and participating in community events to build local brand awareness will also pay dividends, he believes.

“Brokers can maximise business over the next year by doing the basics consistently well,” he said.

Barnett’s own experience of organising time efficiently stretches to how he juggles his work within the financial services industry and his family commitments.

“I’ve come to understand the significance of balancing hard work with downtime, especially since starting a family,” he shared. “As a parent to a three-year-old and an eight-month-old, my spare time is precious. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance for the wellbeing of both myself and my family. If this equilibrium is achieved, everything falls into place more easily.”