We don’t wish to prejudge these findings, and what they might be able to tell us all about the industry in which we work, but we suspect that at best it will leave us with plenty to work on. This is an area which seems to have been neglected.
And that’s just from an employment point of view, let alone what we may or may not be offering and providing to our clients.
If we’re talking brass tacks in this regard, then of course, every single person who wants mortgage advice should be able to secure it, but whether they feel like they have access to it, is another thing entirely.
Perceived and actual barriers
For some, advice may appear to be a closed door, with firms perceived to be out of step with their requirements or unrepresentative of their personal situation.
For others, there may be an underlying vulnerability or disability that appears to have placed significant obstacles in the way when they were seeking the advice they needed.
Just recently, one of our AR firms posted a video of one its advisers communicating in British Sign Language (BSL). He outlined how he could work with individuals who were deaf or hard of hearing and the services he could provide either via Zoom or face-to-face.
It got us thinking about this potential demographic and their experiences when trying to secure mortgage advice from a firm without an adviser who could sign.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been impossible by any stretch, but how much easier might it have been if they had been able to converse with a BSL-proficient adviser?
Sitting in on the interviews, the managing director said having an adviser who can converse in BSL greatly enhanced the client experience.
This got us all thinking about what we might do to try and broaden the reach of advice for these individuals.
Firms, for instance, might wish to think about putting their advice staff through BSL training, adding another much-needed advice option for deaf and hard of hearing clients.
And what other clients might benefit from a more nuanced approach? We know there are all levels of potentially vulnerable clients, for example, that would undoubtedly benefit from advisers who are immersed in their needs and have a specialist approach to them.
We need to think far more about the clients we serve, and the potential individuals who might not see an advice ‘home’ for themselves.
Not only are these prospective clients missing out but so are we as an industry.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is still seeking responses to its diversity and inclusion survey, click this link to take part: https://emea.focusvision.com/survey/selfserve/2cc7/210700?list=7#?