According to Mortgage Solutions’ latest poll, which asked brokers what their biggest strategic investment would be in the coming year, over a quarter of brokers wanted to focus on lead generation.
Around 13 per cent of brokers viewed recruitment as their biggest strategic investment, followed by nearly nine per cent who picked training.
This was followed by administration at four per cent and office space at two per cent.
Approximately four per cent of brokers said all they would focus on all of the above, recruitment, technology, lead generation, training administration and office space, and nearly nine per cent said they had other strategic investments in mind.
Technology has become increasingly important during the pandemic, with many brokers saying anecdotally that it forced technology adoption and digitalisation of the mortgage process, especially when it comes to sourcing, application, and communication with clients.
Some brokers added that the pandemic also led to some changes in attitudes towards technology, with an increased openness to technological innovation.
However, brokers said that whilst technology was important for success, equal focus should also be placed on other areas.
Investment across the board
Peter Brodnicki, chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said strategic investment for the company this year would likely include further acquisition and investment in distribution and lead generation opportunities.
He said this would enhance its customer proposition and “enable strong and sustainable growth”.
Brodnicki added: “Technology underpins all our plans as a business to enhance the customer and adviser experience, customer capture, nurture and distribution, and quality control. It was our biggest expense in 2021 and will be again this year.
“This year’s investment will include an even greater focus on understanding more about our existing and future customers, capturing, and supporting them far sooner in their research process – and by doing so ensure strong, consistent, and high-quality future lead flow in all market conditions.”
He continued that it would also increase its investment in its academy programme, and grow specialist protection advisers and telephone advice centres.
Brodnick said supporting this strategy would be the growth of its in-house adviser recruitment team, which would identify the increasing number of experienced and academy advisers its partner firms would need.
He added that the company had outgrown its head office and it would be investing this year in a “much enhanced and dynamic working environment”. This will include enhanced training centre, staff communal areas and facilities, communication centre with ability to share a high level of video content for advisers staff and customers.
Rob Jupp, group chief executive at The Brightstar Group, said this year it would undertake its biggest ever investment in technology with the launch of its easysource+ platform this year.
The platform will make it easier for brokers to place and track their specialist mortgage cases.
He said: “We know, however, that ongoing investment is required right across any business and we will also continue to invest in our team with recruitment and development.
“Last year alone we grew our sales team by 40 per cent and we will continue to invest to ensure we continue to maintain the excellent customer outcomes we have been able to consistently deliver.”
He added that it would also direct investment to continue and better its positive customer reviews. According to Jupp, Brightstar Financial has over 2,000 reviews on Trustpilot and maintained an excellent rating of 4.9 stars out of five.
Importance of technology
Nicholas Mendes, mortgage technical manager at John Charcol, said the broker’s key strategic investment over the next year would continue to be technology.
He explained that over the past two years it had “invested heavily” in developing its own customer relationship management (CRM) and client app to improve efficiency and user experience for brokers and clients. He said the app allows clients to complete ID and address verification, and upload documents required by lenders.
Mendes added that the firm also expected to utilise and integrate its fact find systems with partners like Mortgage Brain to improve efficiency for brokers.
He said: “Technology will play an important role be moving forward not just in terms of how we interact with our clients today, but also how continuously keep client informed about their mortgage and any news and marketing that may prove to be relevant to them.”