Get to know the sector, rather than using it for votes, says expert
As the general election beckons, politicians are being urged not to use the mortgage industry for political gain.
They should focus instead on properly getting to know the sector to build a plan to support it, according to Brian Coulton, strategic partnerships director at Pivotal Growth, who has over 20 years of experience in the financial intermediary market.
Pivotal invests in growing, profitable mortgage and protection brokerages, to help them build long term, sustainable value. It has made 10 acquisitions so far, supporting a total of 300 brokers, and is eyeing further expansion in the near future.
Coulton believes that Westminster’s decision makers need to take a longer term view.
“Any initiative brought in by any government needs to be cross party and look at the long term value of the mortgage industry and clients,” Coulton told Mortgage Introducer. “It shouldn’t be an area used to canvas for votes. I also would urge government officials to speak with the industry experts who could help them get a better understanding of what is going on and deliver a joint plan to support the mortgage market.”
The year ahead is likely to be another unpredictable one for mortgage brokers, in Coulton’s view.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty,” he reasoned. “There have been so many conflicting views, but, if anything, the intermediary market is a resilient one. I personally think we will still see product transfers and remortgage dominate this year, however the purchase market should remain steady, year on year, and we should start to see normalisation moving in to 2025. I think we will see a more stabilised market in 12 months’ time, with a more buoyant consumer approach.”
How can lenders improve their relationship with brokers?
Coulton believes that lenders or providers who want to maximise their relationships with brokers need to address communication and listen.
“The brokers I talk to are aware of the current climate,” he explained. “They just want a clear channel of communication so they can forward plan.”
Pivotal is looking to support brokers by increasing its protection sales process – and it’s an area Coulton knows well.
“My background is from a protection background,” he elaborated. “Like many, my move into financial services was not planned. Looking for a summer job originally, I started work for a local financial services business, opening the post and photocopying to start with, but quicky transitioned into doing multiple different roles, all the way up to business development and this is where my heart lies, building meaningful relationships and creating a mutual benefit.”
Coulton added: “I am lucky to have had the chance to do this now for many years, and have in this time built some long-lasting friendships, with some great industry professionals.”
Pivotal is a joint venture between LSL Property Services, a FTSE 250 company, and Pollen Street Capital an independent alternative investment management company, who together focus on financial and business services, driving business transformation and investment performance.
“Support and education are the pillars for a successful broker market,” Coulton said. “With an ever-changing landscape, it is important providers, regulators and investors work with brokers, to give them the most current updated information and help them navigate the market, allowing brokers to then concentrate on what they are best at.”
How can a mortgage broker be successful?
Coulton is clear about the biggest barrier to success for intermediaries.
“Speaking to brokers, there are a couple of barriers that get mentioned - time and missed income opportunities,” he noted. “Pivotal see the solution to these by using market leading technology to allow brokers more time to concentrate on advice, while technology does the heaving lifting.
“This industry is built on resilience and fortune favours the bold - to my industry colleagues, I would suggest keep fighting the good fight, take educated chances and keep doing what you do best.”
In terms of business lessons, Coulton values one above all others.
“This too shall pass, a saying my great uncle John used to tell me,” he offered. “Whether things are going great or not too well, things will change, so savour the moment, enjoy the success and learn from the harder times.”