The only-stock market listed UK mortgage advice group said it plans to roll out more ‘robo-advice style initiatives’ in 2017. The firm has bought a 35% interest in telephony experts Freedom 365 to drive a scalable telephone-based advice model to manage estate agency leads for the group.
In June, MAB also acquired a 20% interest in protection specialists Vita, which is intended to drive up protection conversion rates among the group’s advisers.
MAB is planning to launch a new joint venture in Australia, trading under the Mortgage Advice Bureau brand and mirroring many of the proven UK business strategies. It plans to launch before the year-end, enlist centralised lead generation and offer telephone and regionally based advisers.
CEO Peter Brodnicki (pictured), said: “Digital, brand and specialisation will all be a major focus for MAB as we continue to grow market share and seek to attract potential new customers earlier in the research and decision making process.
“Despite developments in digital, providing consumers with a choice of how they want to research, receive advice, and transact is at the heart of the MAB proposition, and local advice through carefully positioned and professionally branded mortgage shops supports that strategy.”
MAB plans further shop openings in 2017 which it says will support brand awareness.
The group’s adviser numbers rose to 921 to September this year, up 13% from 891 in June and the group’s market share has grown 20% to 4%.
The firm sold its 49% stake in Capital Private Finance back to Countrywide this year for £2.7m ending a five-year joint venture agreement, with a 4.25p special dividend distributed among shareholders in H2.
MAB’s profit before tax rose 34% to £5.3m in H1 2016, up from £3.9m in H1 last year. The firm was holding total cash balances of £16.3m to 30 June this year.
Brodnicki said adviser productivity has dipped slightly since the EU referendum as a result of the softening housing market and its too early to say how soon it may pick up again.
He added: “The Board expects the growth in revenue per adviser to be slightly lower than originally anticipated for the year, whilst adviser numbers are expected to be ahead of expectations for the year end.
“Our strategy is to continue to grow our market share in all market conditions and deliver strong business growth and attractive returns to investors year on year. MAB continues to build its position as both a leading UK consumer focused intermediary brand and a specialist Appointed Representative network. Furthermore, MAB continues to seek targeted investment opportunities to build on the group’s expertise and enhance distribution.”