During the distributor panel session at The Mere in Cheshire, Wyles said: “Isn’t it true sourcing systems are now really letting the [specialist] market down? Simplistic, purely quantitative, not addressing the more complex dimensions of the marketplace.”
CEO of master broker Brightstar Rob Jupp said: “In answer to your question Matthew, they’re not starting to let the community down they have been letting the community down for a generation now. All that’s happened is as much as 20% of the current market is not being serviced by the two incumbents.”
Doug Hall, joint managing director at master broker 3mc, said with product evolution, the sourcing systems can only be a starting point as there are mortgages that simply will not source.
“Brokers have to rely on knowledge and their relationships with specialist lender BDMs, so get them into your businesses and speak to packagers,” he said.
“It’s important not to rely on the systems as the tools have been a bit slow coming to market,” said Hall.
Mark Lofthouse, CEO at Mortgage Brain, responded: “This is simply not true. Mortgage Brain reinvests over 40% of all revenues back into its products which ensures that they lead the market, remain fresh and are able to deliver what mortgage advisers need to support their business. In addition, over the last few years we’ve developed a range of brand new products including MortgageBrain Anywhere, LoansBrain for second charges, ConveyancingBrain and a unique phone/tablet app, UKMortgages, which delivers free leads to advisers to name but a few.”
Andrew Simon, executive general manager for product at IRESS, which owns Trigold Prospector, said the firm has made continuous improvements to its mortgage software.
“For example, to support the changing buy-to-let market we heavily invested to enhance our buy-to-let sourcing capability both in Trigold Prospector and our new sourcing system XPLAN mortgage. We added around 30 new filters into the sourcing systems to allow brokers to refine sourcing filtering further by capturing information such as; is it a HMO, the number of occupants, the tenancy type, if the property requires refurbishment, and the clients property portfolio to name a few.”
David Whittaker, CEO for Mortgages for Business, said he ‘took his proverbial hat off’ to smaller master brokers like Brightstar and All Types of Mortgages with a modest capital base that have been able to come up with sourcing systems and product evolution, innovation and technology the major monoliths haven’t attained.
“We provide an apple app you can download which is free so why are we all paying Mortgage Brain and Trigold a fortune to list products?” he asked.
Trigold’s Simon said: “Trigold supports the specialist mortgage market with a wide range of access to different propositions. We will keep listening to the market and our customers and will continue to develop our software to meet demand.”
Lofthouse denied this was the case and said Mortgage Brain’s independence is a key advantage as some of the master brokers made the technology investment for other purposes, like lead generation.
He added that LoansBrain is already used by thousands of brokers and that plans are underway to integrate the second charge system into the Mortgage Brain sourcing suite in the coming months.
Wyles asked Jupp if he thinks ‘he’s cracked it?’ with his system EasySource, which provides an audit trail and searches specialist mortgages, complex buy-to-let, second charge, bridging and commercial loans, and launched on 1 June last year.
Jupp said: “Absolutely not. I don’t think you can. It’s like painting the Forth Bridge. You never quite get it right.”
He added: “We started this project three years ago, it cost more and took longer than expected and despite human checks, in about 20% of cases it doesn’t source correctly.
“So is there ever going to be the perfect sourcing system created in the UK market?,” asked Wyles.
Jupp said: “No. The issue is so many specialist products are ‘off-piste’ they are not on a product grid and that’s the whole point of specialist lending.”
However, a delegate in the audience said network compliance officers demand an audit trail to demonstrate brokers are placing cases correctly and for around 80% of cases Trigold and Mortgage Brain provide it, but this still leaves 20% of cases outside of demonstrable compliance.
Both Iress and Mortgage Brain denied they fail to support niche lenders and restated their individual independence.
Iress’s Simon said the networks control the lenders on their panels, not the sourcing systems and Mortgage Brain’s Lofthouse said: “If a network member has issues with what their network provide they should take it up with them directly.”
The Specialist Lending Event continues today at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Birmingham and Allianz Park tomorrow in London. Register here to attend.
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