Attracting clients causes most concern

The research found that 52.4% of brokers were concerned about this, followed by dealing with potential new regulation (36.9%), retaining existing clients (33.0%), marketing their businesses more effectively (30.1%) and diversifying into non-mortgage markets (25.2%).

When it comes to regulation, the biggest concern felt by more than a third of brokers (36.5%) is the potential increase in costs that regulation will bring. One in 5 (19.2%) said that their main concern was a potential increase in paperwork, with 14.4% saying that they were worried about the potential increase in time it will require to sell mortgages. 1 in 10 (11.5%) felt that they did not understand what the potential new regulation will mean for their business whereas just under a fifth (18.3%) were confident that any new regulation would have little effect on their business.

With brokers concerned about attracting and retaining clients and improving their marketing, the survey sought to find out what they currently did to promote their businesses. Six in 10 (60.0%) said that they send regular communications to their clients via email or post, with 41.9% saying they ran an up-to-date website. Just under a fifth (17.1%) advertised in the local press and 12.4% have an enhanced listing on Less than 1 in 10 (9.5%) contributed editorial regularly to the local press.

Graham Felstead, head of intermediary channels, NatWest Intermediary Solutions, said: “It’s not surprising that the prospect of new regulation provokes a variety of responses from the intermediary community, with many concerned about additional demands being put upon their financial and human resources, especially when they are keen to invest resource into attracting and retaining clients. To help shed some light on these issues, we will be running seminars at the next NatWest Intermediary Solutions Forum event at the O2 Arena on 20 May on both regulation and marketing. These sessions should provide advisers with a number of ideas on how to address both topics.”