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Smaller brokers at risk of growing threat of online and robo-advice, lenders say

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  • 20/02/2017
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Smaller brokers at risk of growing threat of online and robo-advice, lenders say
Lenders believe that online brokers could eventually become major players in the intermediary market, putting smaller advisory firms at risk without the resources to invest in technology, research conducted by IMLA reveals.

The white paper, which interviewed brokers and lenders to analyse the relationship between the two parties, also suggested that some respondents felt that the market was moving further to the point where all mortgages would be purchased online – although this would be a gradual process.

As banks prepare for incoming regulation that will require all lenders to provide third-party access to customer account information, social media sites such as Facebook were suggested by one lender as a way that younger generations could access mortgages.

The same respondent also noted that fully automated mortgage advice could be available within a decade. He added that this model could be popular among regulators with the propensity for an algorithm to deliver more consistent advice than a human.

For the paper, Insights into the changing shape of the lender broker relationship, four mortgage lending bosses were interviewed: Alan Cleary, managing director of Precise Mortgages; Brad Fordham, managing director, Santander for Intermediaries; Charles Haresnape, group managing director, mortgages, Aldermore Bank; and Kevin Purvey, director of intermediaries, Coventry Building Society.

The four intermediary interviewees were: Ray Boulger, senior technical manager, John Charcol; Patrick Bunton, director, London & Country Mortgages; Martin Reynolds, chief executive, SimplyBiz Mortgages; and Jon Round, LSL Group financial services director.

According to the findings, the most contentious issue raised by brokers was customer retention strategies adopted by lenders. Intermediary respondents criticised lenders’ “increasingly proactive” approach to retaining customers, which advisers said would be at the detriment to the customer as product transfer mortgages may not compare well to other loans available on the market.

On product transfer fees paid to brokers, one lender said there could be issues where advisers may find it easier to recommend a product through the existing lender, because despite the fees being lower than a remortgage, there would be considerably less work for the broker.

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