The report outlined the findings of a poll on how long mortgage advisers were spending on criteria research, and found that “the majority of brokers are spending up to seven hours a week” on the task.
Even for hardworking mortgage professionals, that’s not far off a full day a week – and many said it was taking even more of their time than that.
I have a little sympathy.
The fact is if you were going to try and keep up with nearly 100,000 different criteria, and the hundreds of changes that are going on every month, you would be at it full time and still would not even get close to having a full picture of the market.
I simply don’t believe those brokers who claim to be keeping all the information in their heads or using makeshift IT solutions of their own devising.
But the solution is not to spend more time on criteria research – time that brokers could be spending advising clients.
It does not need to take even three hours a week to research criteria when there are systems available that can search more than 200 lenders in just seconds.
And it’s what you do with the information that counts, not how much time you have spent acquiring it.
If brokers are not using the tools available to them, they are running a serious risk of finding themselves under fire from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – not to mention failing to offer their clients the best service they can.
Advisers need to be able to demonstrate knowledge of a wide cross-section of the market in order to offer their clients appropriate advice. They cannot just rely on the same lenders they always use.
Relying on ad hoc methods of the sort described by some brokers is unlikely to cut much regulatory ice.
If advisers are not fully aware of the options available then it is unlikely they will be able to get the best deal for their client, no matter how good they think their knowledge of the market is.
Effective use of technology can slash the time advisers spend on research while also giving them a much broader view.