In a snapshot offering insight into the cases its Appointed Representatives (ARs) are finding hard to place, the network said its desk resolved 2,462 inbound calls; a record last month.
Between March and December 2020, the desk supported brokers with 18,746 queries in total, while throughout 2020, it resolved 23,777 queries from advisers.
The calls clearly focused on the fallout of the Coronavirus crisis as advisers also battle to beat pressure from the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday deadline which ends on 31 March. The network confirmed cases involving second or holiday homes with a view to completion before the SDLT deadline were another popular enquiry.
Primis has also seen Right to Buy enquiries and income protection involving multiple and complex medical conditions in addition to complex income types.
The network said its product desk aims to address queries from advisers within four hours and is currently operating an email and call back-only service on all product sectors while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.
Vikki Jefferies (pictured), proposition director at Primis, said: “January marked a strong start to the year for our product desk team, with a record number of queries from brokers coming in as this community looked for additional support to help them with client cases. Investing in our adviser members has continued to be a priority for us during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
On furloughed borrowers, Jefferies said lender appetite for these borrowers completely varies across the market.
“Lenders remain cautious about what will happen to sectors such as hospitality and retail from April onwards. Their main aim is to see what will happen to the market once government support schemes such as furlough end.”
She added that specialist lenders have a much better understanding of schemes like the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
“Compared to where we were in the early autumn, we are seeing more considered decisions from underwriters at specialist lenders when assessing self-employed borrowers. However, the most recent development has been that many specialist lenders are unable to support borrowers who have taken an SEISS grant as recently as January.”
On the day the scheme was due to end, the government announced plans to extend the furlough scheme through to April this year, with an estimated 9.9m people registered in December and claiming 80 per cent of their income up to the cap of £2,500. The government has so far spent £46.5bn to December 2020 on furloughing workers in a bid to protect jobs.
According to Office of National Statistic (ONS) figures, UK unemployment figures were at five per cent to November-end, but are projected to rise to 7.5 per cent or 2.6m by mid-2021. The Bank of England estimates unemployment could rise to 10 per cent this year.
With hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment industries the worst hit so far during the pandemic, 395,000 people were made redundant in the three months to November.