The survey of more than 500 brokers showed that only 27 per cent of advisers claim to have ‘excellent’ knowledge of bridging, while 40 per cent think they have ‘good’ knowledge; 23 per cent, say their knowledge is ‘average’ and 10 per cent admit their knowledge is ‘poor’.
Not enough referrals
The lenders also found that 85 per cent of brokers tend to recommend bridging to clients who were purchasing a property at auction.
Three quarters said they would recommend it for a property chain break, and 73 per cent said they would suggest it for a property conversion. Just over half, 54 per cent, see bridging as a short-term cash flow solution for their clients.
However, only 45 per cent of respondents currently refer a client to a specialist distributor when their bridging needs fall outside of their remit, with the other 55 per cent saying they didn’t.
Michelle Westley (pictured), head of marketing at Brightstar Financial, said: “It’s great that so many brokers are offering bridging. But we really recommend that brokers who do want to offer bridging to their clients, partner with a specialist that is fully immersed in the market.”
‘Dangerous’ lack of knowledge
Westley said she felt it was “dangerous” that so many brokers offer bridging finance without being sufficiently confident in their knowledge, or aren’t utilising their specialist partnerships properly to protect their clients.
She added: “This is clearly bad for customers, bad for the reputation of the sector and, ultimately, bad for those brokers.”
Aisling Birch, partner marketing manager at West One, said the research has shone an interesting light on how brokers are engaging with bridging.
She added: “Brokers should make the most of the resources available to them to stay on top of the key considerations and opportunities for their clients. This includes making use of educational material, such as webinars and guides, as well as engaging with lender business development managers to help them with specific questions.”
Brightstar and West One are therefore launching specialist workshops to bridge the knowledge gap for brokers about the sector, as well as providing client-facing guides.