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Experienced brokers need to mentor next generation – Campo

by: Richard Campo, founder Rose Capital Partners
  • 23/01/2023
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Experienced brokers need to mentor next generation – Campo
I think it’s fair to assume that far more brokers are working from home today than would have been the case a couple of years ago.

The pandemic forced all of us to become more comfortable with the idea of working remotely, and the truth is that remote working has plenty of benefits for brokers. Nobody honestly misses a daily commute, and the ‘fun’ that can come from dealing with public transport or traffic jams.

Rather than being stuck on the motorway, brokers working from home might be able to put that time to better use, whether that means making an early start on placing cases or simply enjoying more time with their loved ones.

The improvements in technology mean that advisers are better able to do the job from home too – most clients are more comfortable with the idea of a Zoom call today than they would have been before Covid.

But for all of the plus points that come from remote working, I fear that this new way of operating is having a detrimental effect on newer brokers.


Computer says no

The challenges of the last couple of months have laid this challenge bare. In recent years, it hasn’t been that arduous being a mortgage broker – most clients were more than comfortable paying a premium for a fixed rate given the record lows on offer, and the various technology on offer meant picking and applying for a decent rate was pretty straightforward.

If you are new to the industry, then chances are you will have found the role of mortgage broker fairly easy.

But since the horror of the mini Budget, and the market convulsions that followed it, that hasn’t been the case.

We have seen lenders pull and reprice their products, often with very little notice, at a pace that those normally reliable sourcing systems have been simply unable to keep up with.

We will all have had cases where the results delivered by a sourcing system when looking for a product for a client were completely out of date, courtesy of those speedy withdrawals, a situation that only leads to frustration and stress for both broker and borrower.

Lenders have also been a little cute in the way that they have launched new deals, not always making them immediately available on sourcing systems. In effect, if you have relied entirely on the technology to identify the right deal for your client, then chances are it’s been a nightmare.


Learning by osmosis

Unfortunately, there is a whole generation of brokers who have known little else. And when this uncertainty took hold, rather than being surrounded by their peers, they were instead sitting at home on their laptop.

For brokers with more experience, this transition back to an older way of working may have been relatively comfortable. Honestly, the best brokers would not have been so reliant on technology anyway, having cut their teeth during periods when placing cases was far more difficult.

I look back at my own early days in the industry, and how invaluable I found it being around more experienced advisers. Sharing an office, hearing them dealing with clients and lenders alike, it was impossible not to pick up tips and tricks on how to be the best broker possible just through osmosis.

And if I needed advice on how to handle a particularly tricky situation, I could pick the brains of those older heads since they were only ever a couple of desks away.

This will not necessarily be the case for those new to the industry though. They won’t have spent time in that sort of environment – indeed, they may never have shared an office with their colleagues. And simply because of the market conditions, they won’t have developed the skillset that allows them to navigate the current choppy waters and ensure they can still deliver for their clients.


Leading the way

Being a mortgage broker is an incredibly important job. There’s a good reason that such a high proportion of the mortgage business placed each year goes through brokers – borrowers trust us to guide them when making some of the biggest decisions of their lives.

But if we want the broker industry to thrive in the future, then it’s incumbent on more experienced brokers to go further in mentoring younger talent, helping them to build the skills which will help them operate in the years ahead.


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