It raises deep-seated industry tension, perhaps even a mutual distrust, and an argument that has been going on for the past two decades. Namely, who owns the client?
I recently read a Mortgage Solutions MarketWatch piece on this very topic and it was illuminating to read the different broker viewpoints and the impact lenders targeting borrowers earlier in the process of renewal is having.
It went a long way to showing how some advisers might feel they’re between a rock and a hard place on this.
And the underlying truth is that for some lenders, while the initially-introduced business is vital to their existence, that does not mean they will not use all the tricks in the book to retain that borrower without recourse to continuing advice.
So, what can be done? It’s obvious that certain lenders – particularly certain mainstream players – are not going to stop in their pursuit of this business.
And now arguably the regulator is creating an environment which allows them to do this more assertively.
Are they still your client?
Looking at this, we might argue that product transfer and execution-only are two sides of the same coin.
Without the adviser working at securing the former, while putting in place the key arguments for the borrower not to go with the latter, it’s possible more business will go direct.
Perhaps we need to move away from an ‘X months before the end of a deal’ contact strategy with clients. If they have not heard from you within at least the last year and a half, they may not consider themselves to be clients of yours at all.
It’s at this point that, should the lender come calling with a direct or execution-only deal, they may decide there is no loyalty to the adviser who conducted their last business.
And if this seems a decent offer, then it will be just as quick for them to do it themselves.
Regular contact critical
What is stopping the adviser from being in regular contact with a client during the full duration of their mortgage?
These could be checking that everything is going well, outlining new services, providing a countdown to the end of their deal, suggestions around potential referrals of other family members and friends, or outlining other key product areas and news which might have an impact on their lives and financial decisions.
Many of our brokers do just that: they have an excellent proactive contact strategy.
As long as you have the correct marketing consent from the client, keeping your business and services front and center throughout a borrower’s mortgage term seems common sense.
The client then, hopefully, recognises the good work you have done for them and they’re aware any lender offer should be taken back to the adviser, because circumstances are likely to have changed, and there’s an incredibly competitive market to be reviewed.
Not forgetting of course, the protection that impartial advice gives to a borrower which is absent when self-selecting.
Lenders will not be pulling back
This might seem like a very basic marketing strategy, but the industry concedes that many broker firms simply do not do it.
Do not be afraid to seek out the support you need from your firm or your network, especially if you’re not getting it in this area.
And become as proactive as you can in terms of client contact strategy because mortgage lenders will not be pulling back from their retention of business strategies, and neither should you shy away from doing all you can to keep your clients close to you.