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Don’t let comparison sites take over your GI business – Paradigm

by: Bob Hunt, chief executive, Paradigm Mortgage Services
  • 11/05/2016
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Don’t let comparison sites take over your GI business – Paradigm
Like many millions of people each week I receive the ‘Martin’s Money Tips’ email from self-styled financial ‘guru’ Martin Lewis and, let’s be fair, there is plenty of useful information in there on ways to save money.

Now I know Lewis is a Marmite character, particularly for advisers who question how someone without financial advice qualifications is able to give what they see as advice. But in his defense he says he’s simply providing information and is generally supportive of consumers using advisers across a number of product areas including mortgages.

That said, Lewis is a keen advocate of the ‘comparison site’ method of sourcing financial products and this concerns me because, to my mind, it can drag everything down to a price comparison rather than a focus on the quality of the product and, in the case of GI or protection, for example, the cover that’s provided.

GI in particular is one area –rather surprisingly – where advisers appear to be happy to let the price comparison sites win out, even when it’s a product which can be either easily advised upon, or referred, ensuring your clients don’t lose out on the most appropriate policy for their needs.

Giving up this area of the market could lead to a slippery slope for advisers, given these sites sell such an extensive array of products, from mortgages to ISAs to critical illness policies. If you are prepared to let your client sort out their GI needs by themselves, then don’t be surprised if they also opt to take out a cheap protection product before moving on to a mortgage comparison.

Even if this isn’t a part of the market that you would want to provide advice in, then the next step is surely to refer the client on to a trusted referral partner, rather than letting them go their own way. For those advisers who are concerned about the referral partner attempting to move onto their patch, any referral business worth its salt knows this is the equivalent of cutting off their nose to spite their face. We (like I’m sure others should) only work with referral partners that offer no cross-sell guarantees, meaning the client’s needs are being cared for and there is no need to be worried you will lose ownership.

Irrespective of which club or distributor you use, it makes sense to explore the GI options it has available because this is a necessity for pretty much every single client and can turn into a significant income stream. We have worked hard to offer a comprehensive range of providers which cover a wide range of scenarios for your client, together with excellent referral options, and the process in terms of sign-up is simple.

The big message here is not to neglect GI, because clients who feel their needs are not being serviced in one area are much more likely to consider their options across other product sectors. The comparison sites are not going to stop in their search for your client’s business and therefore it makes sense to do everything you can to ensure they have no need to go looking elsewhere.

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