Furthermore considering the rapid development in technology, changing regulations and the expansion of specialist markets, the need for professional support is now more greater than ever.
This week, Mortgage Solutions asked: Do you think the mortgage industry would benefit from an official mentorship programme?
I think an official mentorship programme would be a great idea for the mortgage industry. For those of us that remember pre-regulation days when mortgage advisers didn’t even need to be qualified to give advice, the industry has come a long way. But perhaps more could be done.
Qualifications are important, but nothing beats experience and that comes with time which is why an official mentorship programme could be a great solution for new people entering our industry.
I have always found it strange that someone with no experience and fresh out a CeMAP course can advise clients on their biggest financial outlay. It is the equivalent of driving a car having just completed the theory exam.
We all recognise that we would like fresh blood into the industry as historically, many people fell into the role by accident. Few plan to become mortgage advisers and a comprehensive official mentorship programme would allow advisers to be successful and supported.
The programme could be run alongside a company’s training and competence scheme. The programme would set out in detail the practical and theory training that would be provided with clear timescales and targets.
In reality all good firms will already mentor their new advisers, ensuring that they are adequately supported, hence this would be an opportunity to standardise a programme.
Any mortgage adviser who has taken either of the two available equity release qualifications, could be forgiven for expecting an easy introduction into writing business.
A lifetime mortgage shares much DNA with an ordinary mortgage, and is after all, arguably simpler to understand. With only nine lenders to research, no credit-scoring or affordability issues, it surely can’t be that difficult, right?
Wrong. The circumstances of clients in later life, and the issues for consideration, could not be more alien territory to a mortgage broker. A deep understanding of whole new areas must be gained, such as ageing, the effects on mental capacity, interaction of equity release with means-tested benefits and local authority care funding are just a few pointers to begin with.
Having personally ‘mentored’ advisers on an informal basis for almost 20 years now, I do believe that the equity release sector would benefit from an official mentorship programme.
A proper, structured approach would not only encourage fresh young people into the market, but more crucially help them attain the high standards necessary for advising in this complex area.
A professional body would be the obvious point for orchestrating a mentorship programme, with my choice being SOLLA; the Society of Later Life Advisers. SOLLA has the respect of bodies both inside and outside financial services and the experience of running a highly successful accreditation program for advisers for many years.
With adequate resourcing, SOLLA could in my opinion, deliver what is required.
I think our industry would definitely benefit from an official programme.
Mentorship programmes are common in business, and are used in many associated industries to ours, such as banking and insurance, to good effect.
When I started out in my career, having someone who was there to offer help and guidance about my options would have been extremely helpful. As you become senior, having someone who is just focused on helping you decide what you want from your career and then how to best achieve it can be very useful in providing focus. Whilst a good manager will do this anyway, it can be very helpful to have the two separated.
The amount of time the mentor and mentee have together would be the most important thing. After this, there could be specific areas or topics to discuss, with appropriate follow up study or exercises to complete.
An existing body, such as the CII or LIBF would be best, as they have a very good understanding of our industry. Their expertise in designing syllabus and courses for mortgages would also make them a natural choice.
The mentors should have to do a qualification so that they know how to carry out their role effectively. Standards should then be based on the mentor and mentee completing a certain amount of time together, and then recording any follow up study or exercises. It should not be too rigid, as the whole point of mentoring is that it can be shaped to the individual’s needs.