More client loyalty will be vital
For 2018, it will be vital for brokers to build on existing client relationships in order to maintain real client loyalty and ultimately create measurable business success.
As fate would have it, next year happens to be Chinese Year of the Dog so loyalty should hopefully be at the forefront of broker’s minds and objectives.
Loyalty can be gained by trust, and trust is built by having a good client relationship. And anyone will tell you, good relationships are formed around good communication.
So to build more loyalty, more communications are required and in 2018, the winners will be those who communicate best with their clients
GDPR brings that into real focus.
Without the right systems in place, advisers will find it hard to communicate with their clients in a compliant way.
And if advisers are not communicating with their clients, other people will be.
Large lenders will be keen to increase the amount of business they do directly; that poses a threat and one minimised through loyalty.
Rise of the machine
We have no reason to fear Terminator-type robo-advisers, but what is expected to enter the market could transform the industry in a big way, as technology continues to provide opportunities for us to adapt the way we operate.
GDPR, in particular gives more of a reason for client contact and technology will help ensure this happens regularly.
So my prediction for next year is that more advisers will become more sophisticated with database marketing.
Rise of the rates
It is widely expected that interest rates will rise. But I think there is a possibility we could see a rise, a fall and another rise; not necessarily in that order.
Next year will see a balancing act between controlling inflation and stimulating GDP growth, whilst operating within uncertainty from a global economy and, closer to home the outcomes of Brexit.
Buy to let will be very competitive
There will be good and bad news for advisers in 2018 for buy to let. I think the market will be tough in terms of volumes, but it will not disappear.
If advisers focus on developing real client loyalty, it will help retain business with existing clients and, through word of mouth, see more enquiries too.
While the market is moving to a more professional landlord market, there will still be new entrants and many of these will be older clients, looking to either supplement or make practical use of their pension pots.
There are now more lenders being introduced into the market, all of which are fighting for business and client interest.
This should help keep product offerings competitive and reflect the changing needs of the consumer – especially as no one is ever exactly sure what’s waiting round the corner.