In his keynote speech at the annual Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) conference, CEO Peter Brodnicki (pictured) outlined his strategy for technology and innovation by saying: “It’s not about out with the old and in with the new, it’s about the very best of the old and the very best of the new.”
He added that the firm has been hiring extra expertise in the best individuals, as Mortgage Solutions exclusively reported yesterday, with Emma Hollingworth recruited as mortgage proposition director and Andy Walton as protection proposition director.
The firm’s CEO said advisers will see some downward pressure on fees from digital and telephone competitors, with customers paying a lower fee for less or more arms-length engagement. Firms were advised to consider offering their services across all channels: face to face, telephony and even execution-only. Telephony will grow fastest, added Brodnicki.
The programme’s technology theme continued as Brodnicki listed a series of changes likely to have the most impact on intermediary working practices.
On lead technology, Brodnicki said brokers will be able to engage with customers sooner and establish a deeper long-term relationship. In the overall application and fact finding process, brokers will see less and less paperwork, he added.
The traditional mortgage valuation model is under threat. Surveys which still take a week to produce are out of step with instant mortgage offers. Expect to see a push toward automated valuations and away from traditional surveying techniques.
He said ‘expect adviser capacity to start increasing’ with more time to focus on the advice process itself rather than the fact find and information or paperwork gathering. Another prediction included far less paperwork post-application with lenders able to offer more instant acceptances and clearer tracking on mortgage and protection cases.
There will be more specialisation at adviser and firm level, he added, leading to more customer choice in terms of service and engagement offerings. Competition will hot up in the non-traditional intermediary space.
“True robo-advice is inevitable, and so it will obviously be an upward trend in time, albeit restricted to specific transaction types.
“This is likely to come predominantly from technology dominant models in the advised and non-advised sectors, not those offering face to face,” he said.
“Speed, ease, and convenience, and the cost of delivering advice, will be the main drivers for these firms, which are fintechs not traditional advice firms, as they look to take market share from traditional intermediary models,” he added.
However, he concluded advisers should be ready to offer all channels of advice and supported by technology be able to scale up or down their services to telephony and online execution-only if that’s what the customer wants.
“Why would we not offer that solution rather than compete with it?” he asked.
“Having the ability to switch from non-advised or robo-advice options to speak to an adviser at any point is a hugely important choice for the consumer and of course cross sales such as protection require customers to be made aware of the risks and solutions available, and so receiving the right advice is essential,” he added.