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‘Threats to advisers do not go away, they just change shape’ – Bamford

by: Patrick Bamford, business development director, AmTrust Mortgage & Credit
  • 23/12/2019
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‘Threats to advisers do not go away, they just change shape’ – Bamford
Given everything that’s going on at present, it seems like we are about to usher in a new decade with a rather muted reaction. 

 

That said, a lot has happened over the past decade.

Cast your mind back to this time ten years ago, when we were barely comprehending the real impact of the credit crunch, with little understanding about the recession and austerity measures which would follow.

Or indeed, the political upheaval which would define the next ten years.

Are we in a better place than ten years ago? Well, certainly from a mortgage market perspective we are.

Back then, it felt like the end times had come, and there would have been plenty of stakeholders who would have thought that their days within the mortgage market were numbered.

A decade on, and there are very good reasons to think the market is a much stronger sector, with firmer regulatory foundations, far greater levels of product choice, more highly competitive pricing, and a greater understanding that we need to move with the times and the demographic changes if we want to maintain our position.

 

Ascendency of mortgage advice

Over the last decade we’ve certainly seen the ascendency of mortgage advice, with intermediation the dominant distribution channel, partly due to the changes that were brought in because of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) in 2014. 

However, there are no guarantees that dominance will continue throughout the 2020s.

If anything, given the personnel changes at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the strength of lenders’ lobbying, we are now entering a period where the regulator seems to want to create an environment which actively encourages execution-only, at the expense of advice.

It’s an odd state of affairs; even odder when you consider this is the same FCA that put in place the rules which thrust advice up on its pedestal and effectively drove business into the arms of advisers.

We live in strange times indeed.

 

Robo-advice has disappeared

One also can’t help but consider the role of technology in the mortgage market.

Robo-advice as any sort of threat to advisers appears to have disappeared; instead advisers are utilising it to provide another route to advice for clients. 

However, technology is a threat in terms of lenders using slick systems to keep existing clients without any advice, and to provide borrowers with an avenue to secure mortgages – perhaps with much cheaper rates – via price comparison websites, and the like.

 

Threats shift shape

The threats to advisers don’t go away, they merely shift shape or come from a different direction.

Perhaps this will be the decade when vanilla business moves through other channels, and therefore advisers will need to be on top of their game in terms of securing specialist and later life business.

The good news is that clients in these sectors are likely to need advice more than ever.

Overall, it’s hard not to be positive about the future, with some doubts at the back of our collective minds of course.

The demand for mortgage advice remains strong, and the increased complexity of some product sectors plays into this.

Now, however is not the time to rest on any laurels – the competition for business is unlikely to diminish and the advice profession needs to be on the front foot at all times to ensure it comes out on top.

 

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