The changing face of Milton Keynes kicked off proceedings as it was clear the city was undergoing a period of transition with the number of new build homes on the up. As such, brokers were finding they were meeting a very different type of client to the ones they’d dealt with in the past.
“The price of new build homes has come as a bit of a shock to me. It’s almost attracting an element of affluence to the city because if you drive 20 miles out of Milton Keynes, the same house by the same builder is £100,000 cheaper,” said one Supper Club guest.
Brokers across the table agreed, suggesting the strong transport links to London from Milton Keynes had driven up house prices as more people are splitting their time between the two cities for work and leisure.
“You’ve got people working in London but then they’re hopping on the train for 45 minutes to come back to Milton Keynes or Northampton where they can get a bigger house with a smaller mortgage and a better lifestyle – it’s a no brainer really.”
One broker said they had seen a sudden rise in the number of clients contacting them who work in London and are on £200,000 salaries looking to smaller cities to call home.
People want humans, not robots
With the scene set, the conversation soon shifted to robo advice with brokers letting out a chorus of exasperated groans as the term was mentioned.
Off the back of a recent Legal & General (L&G) survey, which found 38% of brokers considered robo advice to be a direct threat to their business, brokers were less than convinced this was truly the case.
“It’s absolutely laughable! Just laughable,” said one broker.
“No two mortgage cases are the same anymore, in that we can just sail through them. Clients want to see a person working hard for them, giving good advice.”
The consensus among brokers was that clients value a human interaction far more than a quick fix, which is what many believe robo advice to be – a ‘quick fix.’.
Just as the topic appeared to be exhausted, one broker said: “I’d cherry pick the best bits that can improve the service I provide because that’s what the real idea of robo advice is, isn’t it?
“E-signing documents! How long do we have to wait for that to happen first?” another shouted from the table.
Who is looking out for us?
The recent news about Santander contacting clients six months ahead of the end of their current mortgage deal invoked passionate reactions from brokers. Talk turned to what they can do to combat problems like this from ever happening again in the future. One broker wanted to fight fire with fire.
“You asked what can be done to combat this? Short term I’d say if they [Santander] are going six months, then we go seven months. They’re your client at the end of the day.”
While other brokers didn’t share this Machiavellian approach to the problem, there was, however, a call for the creation of a mortgage broker union to protect the adviser in situations like this one.
“As an industry, there is no united front for brokers. There is no one looking out for us. The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) are meant to be that for us.”
A spokesperson for Accord Mortgages made the point that though it is bad form for a lender to contact a client well in advance of their deal coming to an end, many brokers still don’t keep in regular contact with the client.
“The problem is that there is just so much business out there, it’s difficult to keep on top of. But by keeping in touch with your existing clients, it’s about being that bit more proactive and that’s something we should all be doing.”
The conversation, went on well into the night at The Woburn, after the last napkin was whisked away from the table.
A huge thank you to all our guests and our sponsor, Accord Mortgages.
Warren Morris, The Mortgage Store
Andrew Phillip, The Mortgage Store
Dean Jacobs, The Mortgage Store
Steve Boland, Mids Bed Mortgage Services
Karl Taylor, Ampthill Mortgage Studio
Dawn Olney, Mortgage Vision
Paul Sands, Sands Financial Management
Matt Roger, Sands Financial Management
Gina Ormerod, Sands Financial Management
Karen Dolling, Independent Mortgage Advice Bureau
Shaun Church, Private Finance
David Robinson, national intermediary sales manager, Accord Mortgages
Kelly Stowell, business development manager, Accord Mortgages
Victoria Hartley, group editor, Mortgage Solutions
Oonagh Sheehan, commercial manager, Mortgage Solutions
Yusuf Tamanna, reporter, Mortgage Solutions
Location: The Woburn Hotel on the Woburn Estate, Bedfordshire