The documented searches can be saved as PDFs and added to a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system or printed out to added to a client file.
In November, the broker-led firm began offering direct access and submission to packager-offered products.
The criteria search results can be personalised with name and company, property amount, loan amount, term and mortgage repayment method.
Any search will also record the ‘criteria considerations that assisted the reason for recommendation’, with an area for a broker to record their reasons for recommending a particular lender, which is useful if not the cheapest deal.
Often product sourcing results are not reflective of what is available to the client. Based on the criteria involved, brokers are often put in a difficult position where they have to justify selecting a lender that is perhaps fifth or sixth on the sourcing list results.
Nicola Firth Knowledge Bank CEO said: “In the case of a complaint, a broker is reliant on any notes they made on the client’s fact find and in their suitability letter, but without printing out pages from lenders’ websites or recording all telephone calls, until now there has been no way that they could evidence this research was actually carried out.”
Philip Smith, compliance manager, First Mortgage (NE) said: “The fact that advisers are able to supplement their traditional research with documented evidence of criteria driven research is of great benefit.
Smith added: “More importantly our clients receive a better experience as a result, as we are now able to identify with greater certainty the lender most likely to be able to assist and thus save vital time no longer applying to the wrong lender in the first instance.”
Firth added that until now the industry has taken ‘evidence of research’ required by the FCA to mean saving product sourcing results.
“When cases were placed based on product alone this was the most important element, but criteria is now so vital to lenders, that many borrowers do not qualify for the product which is at the top of the product sourcing results. Instead a wider search needs to be done and a broker needs to justify why they have recommended a loan which may be more expensive.
“Knowledge Bank’s enhanced evidence of criteria provides watertight evidence of what criteria was searched for and why a particular product was chosen for a client. This is the first time that this has ever been available anywhere in the market.”
Knowledge Bank launched officially in September last year and is owned by independent company Compass Systems.