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‘Technology is not going to replace advisers’, senior mortgage network exec says

  • 04/12/2023
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‘Technology is not going to replace advisers’, senior mortgage network exec says
Technology such as AI will compliment advisers existing work and help them become more efficient and better serve customers, a leading mortgage network executive has said.

Speaking on a webinar with Kensington Mortgages, Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at Primis, said: “Technology is not going to replace advisers, and we’ve seen, even more so in last 12 months, that isn’t a replaceable solution out there on the market for the human element and the ability to be able to understand your customers.

“I think the best way to think about technology in your business is how it make you more efficient. It’s like being the best, most efficient version of yourself, so think about it is as another tool to add to your business.”

She continued that technology would allow brokers “more time to do more cases and to see more customers. It’s about really making that investment to actually improve your long-term capability and growth in the business.”

Jefferies said that running businesses in the current economic environment was challenging, so she understood that technology can be “quite an investment and it is something that people do have to think very cautiously about” but its impact on efficiency will “ultimately pay off in the long term”.

One area in which technology can improve efficiency is in contacting customers, with Jefferies noting that the competitive environment meant a lot of other companies may be contacting customers and it was a “huge opportunity” to leverage technology.

“Technology makes you look more professional, it makes you more compliant. Younger customers are more used to that sort of experience, so there are lots of opportunities and for me, why wouldn’t you be investing in technology and utilizing that for next year and beyond?”


AI should drive efficiency

Clare Beardmore, director of Legal and General Mortgage Club, agreed that AI would not replace advisers, adding that it could be used in all parts of the mortgage journey.

She said that AI should “be there to…drive efficiency” by making cases more accurate through better and more collaborative use of data. This in turn will lead to “one version of the truth” and the better mortgage intelligence data will be better able to support Consumer Duty principles.

“If you know what you want and what you want to achieve, then technology can really add value at all stages of the journey. For instance at the beginning, it can be used for lead generation and getting new leads more automatically when they do come in.

“It can also help with research tools, such as criteria and sourcing…so getting advice right the first time, and then with application, so it is imported with the right API and CRM, which can help manage customer relationships,” Beardmore explained.


AI has helped cut admin time by 70 per cent

Nicola McKenzie, founding partner of Dunham McCarthy, said that the company had “heavily invested” in technology over the last two to three years and that it was there to “complement humans not replace them”.

She continue that looking at the last two to three years, it had lowered administration time across the business by 70 per cent, with a combination of integrating AI with API integrations.

She said: “We’ve not laid anyone off, far from that. What it does mean is that administrators have got 70 per cent more time to provide a better-quality service to support your advisers.

“For advisers, that means they can spend the time giving that quality advice to the customer and be able to engage more.”

McKenzie said that the firm had developed its own CRM system, which had helped it embrace AI into the business, but that AI was only as good as the information that was fed into the system.

She noted that the firm had a database and for every client it would capture, there were a thousand different points of information.

“What that enables us to do is efficiently organize that data and that’s what allows us to analyse it using AI and look at trends and sales opportunities, and that’s what allows us to utilise it in the best possible way.

“I think sometimes people don’t get the full benefit of AI because perhaps they’re not feeding it always the right information,” McKenzie added.

She noted that all of the company’s outgoing communication was produced by a combination of rules-based logic, which is taking data and applying a set of rules to produce content.

“It’s not just improved the time we’re spending, but also the quality of the correspondence that’s going out, but there’s always a human there to check that information. We’re not just going to send automated documents without checking it,” McKenzie continued.

She highlighted that other areas that AI had been helpful were in generating social media posts, job adverts and helping develop a recruitment process.

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