Indeed, at this time, the future shape of our market is perhaps as unknown as it has ever been. For every industry commentator who suggests our market might be obliterated by ‘robo advice’, there are those who believe little will actually change.
It is a difficult path to follow whichever side you walk down, especially if your concerted efforts and focus has been in one particular area of the marketplace. It’s okay suggesting that the future is all about specialist advice or later life lending, but what if you have not dealt with clients with such needs? If this is going to be the future, how might you transition into such sectors without tripping up, and making mistakes which could see that business never return to you?
This is a real dilemma for many firms, and we believe it’s our job as a network to ensure brokers have opportunities in those markets, that they can access those opportunities, and that they are not left behind by firms who have been specialising in these areas for many years.
Seek out clients with complex needs
Let’s make no bones about it, you are not going to suddenly acquire the experience and skills overnight – you didn’t in the mainstream market, and you certainly won’t when it comes to product sectors which are arguably more complex and demanding.
But, that does not mean you should be throwing in the towel already and waiting for the ‘inevitable’ disintegration of your core business by those tech-based systems which are, purportedly, going to inherit the mortgage earth.
Instead, what we are encouraging JLM network ARs to do, is to seek out those clients who may not be the norm for the business. It may be that they have complex residential needs, specialist buy-to-let needs, or perhaps they need bridging, development finance, commercial or secured loans.
Over time and with our help, they will be able to either deliver the advice directly, or else introduce them to our master broker/packaging proposition, Master Private Finance, and we take them through the entire process up to the point of completion.
Providing the advice to these clients yourself is do-able, but you may not feel you have the knowledge or experience currently to do so. Or you may simply believe your time is better spent elsewhere, and that your clients deserve a specialist service in this area. That doesn’t mean they’re no longer your client – far from it. I would suggest that some propositions who operate in this area still don’t quite grasp that ‘client ownership’ should always be retained by the adviser themselves.
What we want to do is offer options, and help advisers either make their initial forays into these sectors, or ensure they have access to a strong range of provider and product options. We want them to be confident their advice is right and based on up-to-date information, and that they will still be the ones making contact with the client when, for instance, their client’s product comes up for renewal.
There is also the issue of securing income and, again, it’s about getting the same market-rate commission that they would have got if they gave the advice themselves.
Access to all areas
Very few advisers can expect to have 100% market knowledge across every single product sector. What we should all hope to achieve is having 100% access to those areas which allow the adviser to ensure – either themselves or via an introduction – that the client gets what they need, they are looked after, and a quality solution is offered.
Looking after clients can come in many different forms. Clients come to you because they trust you, and part of your role is to acknowledge when an introduction is better than attempting to muddle through the process and hoping for the best outcome.
In a world, lacking in certainty, you can provide this to your specialist clients and ensure that whatever the need or requirement you are the first port of call.