It is clear to me that in order to remain in pole position with consumers, our profession must continue to innovate.
The good news is that what I see and hear from advisers on the ground consistently contradicts the negative forecasts. Customers still desperately need and want a real person to walk them through the home buying process, which for many remains complex and bewildering.
Few consumers will ever seek to understand such things as rates, loan types, conveyancing and how valuations really work. And, after all, why should they? Even when it comes to product transfers, people often make decisions based on convenience rather than comprehension.
A good adviser knows the value of guiding their clients through this arduous process in order to reach their ultimate goal of holding those front door keys.
Making the mortgage process understandable and giving customers a sense of control are the attributes that imprint a lasting level of trust and, in the best cases, a lifelong business relationship.
It is this sense of trust that leads me on to innovation, as perhaps the most valuable commodity an adviser can foster.
In the age of the intuitive future where the paradox of choice has consumers paralysed in an ocean of ‘experts’, could advisers become the natural first port of call for all property-related enquiries?
With unparalleled trust established, I believe advisers have a demonstrable advantage over other consumer brands who are relentlessly trying to edge into this space.
So, in order to combat this growing threat and seize the initiative, could mortgage advisers signpost a range of services related to their business?
After all, if a customer trusts their adviser with possibly the biggest financial purchase they will ever make, then in what other ways can an adviser help to make their customers’ lives easier?
As an example, an adviser I was speaking to recently told me that one of their clients phoned to ask what type of boiler he should install in his new rental properties. The key point here is that the client asked the question because he trusted his financial adviser and concluded that he would receive a sensible and prompt answer.
I am sure that this type of question is not uncommon in our profession.
This is where our profession can learn from other fast-moving consumer-focused industries, by understanding that successful businesses are increasingly being valued based on the number of customers they can influence across a range of services.
There is no reason why this won’t increasingly be the case in the advice sector too.