The latest reader poll by Mortgage Solutions asked, ‘Summer typically allows time for brokers to breathe, but what do you do when the rest of the country is on holiday?’
The majority of brokers believed business was too hectic for a break during the so-called summer slowdown as 39 per cent said they continued to help clients during what some may consider to be the quiet period.
A further 15.3 per cent said they joined the holiday crowds and ventured out of the office for a break, while 10.2 per cent used the downtime to consider wider business planning. The summer slowdown proved to be the opportune time for training and professional development for 5.1 per cent of respondents while 1.7 per cent researched the market and lenders.
Some 28.8 per cent said they dedicated the time to doing all of the above.
Business as usual
The sentiment that there was no summer slowdown was evident among those we spoke to, with Alex Smith, mortgage adviser at Capricorn Financial Consultancy continuing to work even when he took a week off. “I was still in touch with people during that period, responding to emails and the like. That’s the one week I had off during June, July and August and I worked every day, in the mornings and evenings.”
He claimed all three months had kept him occupied and aside from keeping in touch with his clients, he had been researching on their behalf daily. “I expect Q3 and Q4 to continue to be busy,” he added.
Simon Chalk, managing director of Later Living Now also found himself working through his scheduled time off as there had not been a lull in inquiries or case load. He said: “My two short breaks and fortnight-long main holiday saw me dealing with a high level of enquirers as usual and my colleague Amanda has been just the same.”
More to do
Others went one step further by taking on even more work. Adam Moore, director at Moore Financial Solutions, said: “What I have actually done is increase my workforce; I’ve employed more administrators because of the growing demand of business.” He added that the company had “sustained the same levels” of business over the year and was preparing for a “busy end” to 2019 depending on the developments and outcome of Brexit.
Otherwise, Moore said he spent the summer months “building infrastructure in the business to expand” adding: “It hasn’t dropped – fortunately and unfortunately.”
Steve Seal, director of sales and marketing, Bluestone Mortgages agreed as he said: “These results aren’t surprising.” According to him, Bluestone Mortgages has seen its volumes grow during July and August giving no indication of a summer slowdown. “With remortgaging still driving the wider market, it’s likely that this is keeping activity high,” he said. “Brokers are vital to our industry and work round the clock to ensure clients are happy, usually going above and beyond their role.”
For Robert Winfield, the managing director of Chartwell Funding, August is the month where many of his clients’ mortgages are up for review, meaning the “steady stream of new leads coming in” prevents him from experiencing any kind of summer slowdown. Losing some of his advisers to summer holidays means his remaining brokers are even busier, but this has minimal impact on performance as Winfield claimed: “We always manage to hit the company sales target for the month.”
Unlike others however, the tail end of the year is when Chartwell Funding gets a chance for a breather. “It is only in December when we sometimes get the chance to do additional tasks, but the summer is definitely hay-making time.”
Remortgages also keep LDNfinance director, Anthony Rose and his colleagues well occupied as he said the company had been “extremely busy” during July and August in particular. “Thankfully, we have not seen a reduction in business which is typically associated with home buyers going on summer holidays. July was actually LDN’s record month for both written and completed business.”
As for some of the other activities listed in the poll for brokers to engage with over summer, Rose said because LDNfinance puts a “very high importance” on the training and development of its staff, it has been focusing on up-skilling its advisers and administrative teams during any down time. He adds: “This is especially relevant now as the move towards more specialist advice becomes more necessary for a larger number of clients.”