This week Mortgage Solutions asked our experts what they looked for when forming a business or client sharing relationship with another professional such as a tax adviser or accountant.
Michael O’Brien, managing director of Access Financial Services, reveals the ground rules and formalities that should be put in place when forming a new partnership.
Barry Hunn, financial services director of Green & Co (FS), explains the benefits of using partners provided by a network.
Dominik Lipnicki, director of Your Mortgage Decisions, notes the benefits to your business of having a successful business partnership.
As a business that has a number of successful relationships with estate agents, accountants and new-build operators, there are a number of considerations we always take into account before we work with them.
First, and it sounds like common sense, but do the two parties feel they are able to work together? Sometimes you will find personalities can differ, and if you’re not going to get along, or there’s aspects that grate, then it’s unlikely to work.
Second, think about your brand and your reputation, because by partnering up with another business you are effectively putting this on the line. Both sides should have complementary brands, a shared business ethos, and an understanding of what each is looking for from the relationship.
Make sure you set out the full parameters of the relationship at the start – no-one should be less than 100% certain about what the relationship is, who is doing what, the financial arrangement, the advisory responsibilities, and such.
Essentially, get everything nailed down before you begin.
Be clear on the commitment of your partner firm – we’ve always insisted that both parties are prepared to contribute equally to make the partnership work. If that’s not the case, then resentment will breed, and the relationship is likely to collapse sooner rather than later.
Finally, what are the results that both are seeking to achieve and how will they be measured? Again, make sure both sides are clear on what is required of them and that they are completely committed to delivering on their part of the deal, whether that is via lead volumes, service level agreements, client confidentiality agreements and so on.
Get this all on paper and leave no side in doubt. By doing this, you’re establishing strong foundations for a successful partnership.
One of the many benefits of belonging to a network, in our case Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions, is that they can provide access to services we do not provide ourselves but may wish to refer our clients to.
This may be in the form of specialist lending: equity release, heavy adverse, commercial mortgages and bridging finance, or more general services such as conveyancing, surveys, business protection and will writing.
One of the main reasons for using the network for these services is that they will have done the necessary due diligence on the companies they are recommending.
This is something that for a small business such as ourselves would be time consuming and therefore costly if we were to undertake it ourselves.
For Green & Co, our area of expertise is very mush residential mortgages and related protection but we do encounter clients who require advice in other areas.
By using the network’s recommended providers, we can pass our clients on knowing they will receive the same level of advice and customer service that we provide in our own specialist area.
In today’s market, I believe that it is imperative to provide a holistic offering. I would like to think that our clients will always contact us first with any financial services need.
That obviously means that there are occasions where we have to refer to other businesses for products or services that we do not offer.
When choosing these partner companies, due diligence, both from a regulatory stance as well as customer service is where we start, remembering that we will be judged by the referral company’s standards, hence only the best will do.
We are of course a business but that does not mean that a referral is only ever done when it has a financial benefit to our company; client needs come first and we recognise that helping our clients or pointing them in the right direction very often leads to business further down the road.
Not to mention this can generate personal referrals as well.