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Covid, Brexit and the mini Budget have yet to break brokers as confidence rises ‒ analysis

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  • 23/08/2023
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Covid, Brexit and the mini Budget have yet to break brokers as confidence rises ‒ analysis
Surviving the myriad challenges of the last few years, such as Brexit, the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, may have helped boost the sense of confidence among intermediaries, brokers have suggested.

Research released earlier this month by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association found that a whopping 96 per cent of brokers were confident about the prospects of their business, up from 93 per cent in May.

What’s more, there were healthy levels of confidence about the mortgage market generally, with 75 per cent of intermediaries saying they were confident.

Brokers told Mortgage Solutions that having come through the various issues of recent years will have helped some brokers believe in themselves and their business, as well as reinforce the need for mortgage advice.

Enjoying a sense of stability

Rhys Schofield, brand director at Peak Mortgages, said the market is now enjoying a “sense of stability” ‒ which all brokers crave ‒ with fewer “outside influences” making life difficult.

He continued: “Certainly it feels like the current government is treading water till they’re ousted at the next election so I don’t expect to see too much change or disruption before then.”

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Stephen Perkins, managing director of Yellow Brick Mortgages, noted that since forming the brokerage five years ago “we have gone through Brexit, a pandemic, a disaster budget, a war in Europe, a cost of living crisis and now the Bank of England doing all it can to kill the economy”.

Despite those challenges, the firm is “still growing and thriving ‒ as the saying goes, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Having survived to this point, Perkins said he felt the business would continue to go from strength to strength.

More growth to come

James Bull, mortgage broker at JB Mortgages, said that his firm was an established adviser with a large client bank, so even though purchases had dropped sharply, they were still busy helping existing clients with remortgages.

Looking forward to the future we are investing in our website and are hoping to have it generating enough leads for us to recruit additional advisers in 2024. So overall we are cautiously confident and are hoping to expand next year,” he added.

Anil Mistry, director at RNR Mortgage Solutions, said that his firm had not been overly impacted by the pandemic, while the onset of the cost of living issues had led to a productive period, with the firm anticipating further growth over the rest of the year.

He continued: “We are confident, as it appears potential borrowers have accepted the current situation and proceeded with their moving or remortgage plans.” 

Bolstering the proposition

There are plenty of opportunities for brokers, argued Richard Campo, founder of Rose Capital Partners, due to factors like banks closing branches and products becoming more complicated, adding to the appeal of brokers.

However, he noted that these are long-term, and gloss over the “very real issues in the short term”.

He continued: “Specifically in our firm we decided to cut back at the start of the year, which is always the hardest thing to do in business, but the scars of Covid and the mini Budget were still very raw for us. 

“Also, I felt the second half of 2023 would be harder than the first as inflation and higher interest rates bit into the market. That has proven to be the case but the good news is that as rates are now decreasing and property prices are softening I remain cautiously optimistic for the remainder of this year and into next that the market will get back on track.”

Alastair Hoynem, chief executive officer at Finanze, said he was “exceptionally confident” about his business’s prospects, noting that it is sitting on a healthy pipeline as well as having signed up two new PLC clients which have given Finanze large debt mandates to work on.

He continued: “Our focus has now shifted to getting our business finance team up and running, as businesses will no doubt continue to suffer due to lack of liquidity in the current economic environment, hence making a dedicated push to build out that business and further support our clients. For a firm that works on a referral only basis, the growth is testament to the team skill.”

 

Confident or just happy to be here?

However, Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage adviser at The Mortgage Expert, questioned whether 96 per cent of brokers were really confident in their prospects, rather than simply being happy to still be in business as this year pans out.

Dhoffer added: “I foresee continued reductions in mortgage business written. It’s too early for me to start putting up the bunting.”

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