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  • Mortgage Network Recruitment Figures For The Third Quarter of 2019 Nov 20, 2019


    So first of all, let me apologise for the delay in publishing this quarters figures, nevertheless they may be late but they’re here now.

    As you can see, the table shows a modest growth of 38 (0.71%) in the basket of networks used for the compilation. As always, I should point out that the information for Jul/Aug/Sept as presented in the FCA was correct on 10th October which is when the figures were compiled, however occasional retrospective changes may mean slight discrepancies now. Of course the table should not be used as the only source of information when choosing a network since it’s great when used with previous figures for charting trends in both individual networks and the industry as a whole, but the statistics for the quarter only give a snapshot of this data, importantly not the reasons behind the changes.

    Having got that out of the way, the big event of the quarter was the continuing assimilation of AR’s from Mortgage Support Network into HLPartnership. Who are now snapping at the heels of Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions in terms of table position.

    With less than 40 MSN AR’s left to make the move or find another network at the end of this period, the transition could well be completed by the end of the year.

    Moving on from HLPartnership who occupy the first place in this quarters table, in second place we have Personal Touch adding 19 additional AR’s to their network and in third place we have Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions with 12 additional AR’s.

    Looking at the not so glamorous end of the table now, continuing with the yin and yang theme, Mortgage Support Network have lost 33 AR’s either transferred to HLPartnership, retired or moved on to other networks. Second worst performance is credited to Sesame with an overall loss of 16 AR’s and in third place, but with an unarguably better performance than the previous two networks we have Julian Harris who ended the period with 5 less AR’s.

    Overall, in a quarter which has seen Sainsbury’s joining Tesco’s in pulling out of the mortgage market and the collapse of Which Mortgage Adviser the mortgage broking arm of Which the consumer group charity (thankfully nothing whatsoever to do with Which Network) and property sales across the UK on the whole only increasing 2.2 percent, I think it’s fair to comment that the mortgage broker sector is doing relatively OK, certainly from the number of enquiries coming into Which Network from individuals wanting to get into the business it’s still seen as an attractive career.
  • Why Being Charitable Works For Small Businesses Aug 15, 2019


    Often when we think of businesses giving to charity we think of big business, like Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon who gave away $2 billion last year or Microsoft and the Bill Gates Foundation giving a paltry $150 million. But the fact is that supporting local charities and worthy causes can also be a good thing for small to medium sized businesses.

    Obviously it helps to identify your business as one of the good guys and a business that cares about the local community, but apart from the feelgood factor it can be a great source of cheap advertising, as people talk and spreading a positive vibe about your company is something that’s very difficult to buy.

    You can always donate the football kits for local school or pub teams, suitably logo’d of course. But you can also sponsor an event, or better still if you have a little bit of time and the administrative skills you could actually help to organise a local event. With any of this however it’s important to make sure that it’s covered by the local newspaper, even though there aren’t so many actual newspapers sold now most of the existing ones have an online version of the newspaper which as a spin off helps to boost your internet presence as well.

    If you’re not cash rich at the minute, why not look at offering your services instead. Offer your time and experience. If you’re in the building trade for example, put any charity building projects in your area in touch with the best material sources in the area or if you have the skill set help with the construction.

    Consider linking up with other businesses in your area, for example if you’re helping to organise an event for old people, you could team up with a local taxi firm to offer free or cut price transport for old people to get to and from the event, in return for a mention in all of the articles and publicity generated by the event and handing out their cards to everyone visiting.

    But you should remember, consistency is one of the key elements here. It’s much more effective to do a series of small good deeds, rather than one big one which will possibly make more headlines at the time, then immediately disappears forever in the fog of old information on the internet.

    I’m not quite sure I agree with the latest research which shows that small to medium enterprises (SME’s) that give to charity perform better. I think the bare facts might be true, but maybe it’s more a case of the SME’s with switched on business owners tend to look at all marketing opportunities, traditional and not so traditional for getting the message about their business to as many people as possible, rather than just because they are more altruistic? But having said that I think this distinction is mainly irrelevant anyhow, since the action benefits both the local community and the business.

    In short, giving to charity, with local charities being the focus is a positive thing for small to medium businesses as well as the big boys.

    About the Author:

    With some 20 years in financial services as a mortgage broker, business development manager for a large mortgage network, industry blogger Gary Watts, is the founder of Which Network, the UK’s top independent mortgage network consultancy which exists solely to help mortgage brokers to find the best mortgage network for their business.

    Additionally, this year Gary is running the Great North Run, half marathon for Prostate Cancer UK. If you would like to make a donation to this cause, however small or just read why a pretty unfit 63 year old would do such a thing, please click on the this link
  • Reasons Why Some New Mortgage Businesses Fail (and how not to be one of them!) Jul 1, 2019


    In the US 80% of small businesses fail within the first 18 months. The UK’s figures aren’t quite so bad, with 20% failing in the first year and 30% in the second year. This is possibly due to less people taking the leap into independence over here maybe coupled to possible failure still being seen by some as having something of a stigma attached to it. “It’s better to try something even if it scares you rather than spending your life full of regrets and wondering what might have been” is an often quoted maxim, but if you’re new to hang gliding and have just discovered you’re not very good at it, you maybe wouldn’t agree as you spiral rapidly to mother earth!

    This list of five problem areas in no particular order of importance includes the main problems which can sink a new business, so hopefully once you’ve read this article and thought about them a bit, you will be in a slightly better position to avoid them:

    • Lack of planning – Please don’t just jump in and hope everything will be OK or think that you’ll be able to hoof it and just do what is needed as you go along. This really won’t happen, so plan what you aim to do if everything works out as you expect and then plan what you can do when everything doesn’t actually work out exactly the way you expect, also known as “realism” in some circles. Likewise, when you are planning don’t use “best outcome” figures in your projections. There’s no need to be massively pessimistic, knocking 30% or so off reasonably predicted earnings is not usually a good thing but don’t be crazily optimistic either. Just keep a level head and you’ll be on the right path. Also, remember to try to plan for everything you can think of within your control. Sub-plans are generally a good idea for marketing, business sources, a break-down of running costs and how you might increase earnings. You’ll might occasionally hear someone say, “If I’d thought to hard about the problems, I’ve had in my business I would have stayed in bed and wouldn’t be the success I am today.” But for everyone one of those, the other 99 out of 100 people who jumped into a business and failed royally because they didn’t have any idea of what to do once they were sitting in the office will be a lot less forthcoming about their experience! So, forget all about the natural entrepreneurs and geniuses and JUST PLAN!

    • No financial backing – This doesn’t mean you need to have £ millions behind you before you start up, but it does mean you need to look at your business plan (remember the really important one you’ve just written) and tailor your marketing to your funding. If you’ve got a secondary income or a decent lump of cash from somewhere to fund your start-up for the first 3 months for example, then that’s great, but if not, then you need to save at least enough to give you a 3-month cushion. If you are starting a UK mortgage broking business for example, it will almost certainly be at least a couple of months before any commissions and proc fees start to come through and that’s assuming you start writing business on day one!

    • No Unique Selling Proposition – Or if you have one, then failing to tell everyone about it is just as bad. It might not be obvious if you’re John Smith the mortgage broker with about 350 other John Smiths or derivatives of it on the FCA register, but your business has one USP straight away, that’s you. Nobody else will give their clients exactly the levels of care and expertise that you can bring them. Looking at it from another point of view, do you specialise in one, two or more particular types of business, adverse, forces, police, health professionals, equity release, new buyers, self-build, older clients, local clients, buy to let, ultra-high or ultra-low net worth clients? The list is pretty much endless, but if you specialise in an area, while usually not turning other kinds of business away, then make sure everyone knows about it. Business cards, stationery (printed and email), home page of your website, Tweets, Blogs or postings on Face Book it doesn’t matter how you get the message out there, but in a world of over 7 billion people and lots of them talking over each other, you need to make sure anyone who could use your services, knows you can help!

    • Marketing – Arguably the most crucial component in any mortgage broking business. You need to have an idea where you’re going to get your clients from. Whether its referrals from introducers, referrals from existing clients, advertising, purchased leads, or social media. The where is pretty irrelevant as long as it’s legal and it works for you, but clients are your businesses life’s blood. There are thousands of mortgage advisers who are very good at their work and with increasingly sophisticated sourcing software which makes that side of the job quite a bit easier, but for a successful business you need to sort out the marketing.

    • Pricing – Last but definitely not least, don’t underestimate the value of your service. Having been in the industry for some 20 years now I have never seen a mortgage broker go bust because they charged a broker fee. I have seen some businesses fold because they charged an unrealistic broker fee i.e. in the thousands for a very small mortgage, but never for charging a reasonable fee. I can’t really get into numbers here because the actual amount of the fee is very dependent on your client type and the size of the mortgage but remember these two things. 1) You’re a qualified professional and people expect to pay qualified professionals, such as solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers. 2) People are much more likely to act on advice that they have paid for, that makes you an adviser not a salesman. DON’T BE SCARED TO CHARGE FOR YOUR EXPERTISE!
  • Mortgage Network Recruitment For The 2nd Qtr of 2018 Jul 26, 2018

    Which Network - Mortgage Network Recruitment For The 2nd Qtr of 2018


    So we're into the second quarter of 2018 now with the country in deep trouble from Brexit if you listen to some commentators or just on the verge of a glorious breakthrough if you listen to others.

    Two things that are for sure, we do live in interesting times and the mortgage market is up and down with the turbulence in the housing market.

    Checking out independent mortgage brokers forums in terms of business done the year started off OK, stalled on the terrible weather in the UK early spring, as I guess did businesses in most other sectors that are public facing, picked up a little and then almost stopped for the world cup “we are such a patriotic bunch when it comes to football”. Things seem to have settled down again now, however although property sales still haven’t really picked up so I would guess, possibly a lot of the business is remortgages and capital raising.

    The great news however is that overall network total of appointed representatives for the basket of networks we use in our research for these figures has once again passed the 5,000 mark for the first time since 2015.

    More remarkable perhaps considering the lacklustre housing market and at least partially due to the mix of ever increasing regulatory demands from the FCA, a growing number of lenders restricting who can actually access their products as the first step in their compliance systems, a trend which looks as though it is only likely to increase and a mini surge of new advisers coming into the industry as they realise that with a bit of effort in marketing mortgage broking can provide a good flexible income.

    On to the table now which comes with the constant caveat that it does not include all networks, but in the quest for consistency, a basketful which for the last 10 years we have considered to be the best indicator of the general state of the industry. The data which the table is based on was 100% accurate on July 6th which was when the information was read from the FCA register but could be subject to retrospective changes from the regulator. The information contained in the table alone should not be used for network choice, since although it’s fair to say a network that exhibits a tendency to steadily lose AR’s over a prolonged period of time must raise questions. Where a network shows a sudden large increase in AR numbers, equally this can be due to an acquisition or a vigorous marketing campaign. Illustrating recruitment trends over a longer period of time is where these tables strengths lie and are generally are designed to provide their most useful information.

    Looking at the successful networks in this quarter it can be seen that numerically Tenet have the biggest increase in AR numbers or in percentage terms that honour goes to The Right Mortgage, who are also second in numerical terms. Following on from these two numerically we have Stonebridge closely followed by MAB.

    At the other end of the table, in both numerical and percentile terms unfortunately Mortgage Support Network exhibited the biggest losses with Online Partnership being the only other network in the table to show an overall reduction in AR numbers making this quarters table unique since they were first drawn up by Which Network in 2008. At last maybe something that can only be seen as a positive omen for the sector?
  • Which Network Mortgage Network Recruitment Performance Figures For The 1st Quarter of 2018 May 2, 2018


    The following article and associated table by Which Network is based on the FCA register for the first quarter of 2018. Although deadly accurate at the time of writing, it is written with the usual caveat that there may be slight subsequent irregularities caused through retrospective changes and additions to the register. The table should of course never be used as the primary source of information when choosing a mortgage network, a task which is easier and much safer with input from an independent consultancy; but having said that the information is excellent for illustrating recruitment trends, especially when studied alongside the tables for previous years.

    The sector generally remains remarkably stable considering the political flux of the country and the changes in “Buy to Let” taxation rules effectively flattening the BTL market, a problem which will only grow as we approach 2020 and the total withdrawal of tax relief for private landlords. The problem with this strategy of course being that the laws of supply and demand inevitably mean that it will not only reduce the amount of rental property available to people who can’t afford their own homes but it also pushes up the rents of existing rental properties as landlord’s struggle to turn a profit, or in some cases break even?

    Meanwhile, within the network community one of the big events of the year so far is that LSL, the owner of First Complete and Pink have combined the two networks and re-branded them as Primis with Toni Smith the networks business operations director commenting to Mortgage Strategy “Following consideration of various naming options, we chose ‘Primis Mortgage Network’. ‘Primis’ is the Latin for ‘First’, which positions our business as the ‘first and foremost’ mortgage network.”. This change has not been reflected in this quarters figures however since as yet there have been no changes to the FCA register reflecting the unification. Interestingly LSL also bought Personal Touch in January, however at this time it has not been amalgamated into Primis.

    Moving on to the runners and riders now, once again it can be seen that on an admittedly less than wonderful quarter in terms of recruitment, we have The Right Mortgage Network, with their popular offering and highly effective marketing campaign leading the field with 18 new AR’s showing the biggest increase in both numerical and percentile terms.

    In second place we have the Mortgage Advice Bureau with 4 new AR firms and Stonebridge in third place with an increase of 2 AR firms.

    Moving on to the lower regions of the table, in numerical terms yet again Sesame have lost the most AR firms following a reduction of 12 firms overall with Julian Harris facing the largest loss in percentile terms via a 7.04% decrease in AR numbers. Second place numerically is First Complete with an overall loss of 9 firms and third place goes to Pink, losing 7 AR firms.

    So summing up an overall reduction in AR firm numbers across the 15 networks featured in our research at 0.62% is hardly sparkling, however it bears keeping in mind in these tempestuous times that many other trading areas would be delighted with such a minor adjustment.
  • 65 Check Points To Help You Make The Best of Your Mortgage Business Mar 27, 2018


    You might think some of these points are so obvious that they don’t need making but if 20 years experience in financial services has taught me anything it’s that nobody remembers everything, all of the time so even if you’re a genius, it’s worth spending 10 minutes looking through the list to see what it is you’ve let slip or could improve on?

    1. Make sure you keep up to date with qualifications
    2. Make sure you sound like an expert (remember you only need to know more than the client to be an expert, but you do need to sound confident)
    3. Be nice to lender staff (you want them to say yes!)
    4. Keep up with mortgage products
    5. Sell insurance
    6. Sell as much insurance as you can
    7. Could you sell more insurance
    8. Go to industry expo’s (check out what is happening in your field)
    9. Go to seminars and listen to industry experts
    10. Remember your business is to run a business you’re not just a mortgage adviser
    11. Don’t neglect marketing; it’s the one thing that will keep your business going.
    12. Don’t put off all the tedious stuff until tomorrow (if you can, do a bit every day)
    13. Always be on the lookout for lead sources
    14. Don’t leave an appointment with a client without asking for a referral. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this practice asking in front of a mirror until you do.
    15. Try the solicitors you deal with for referrals, consider a reciprocal agreement, you pass them conveyancing for a fee, and they pass you mortgages for a fee.
    16. Also try Estate Agents, accountants, will writers, and insurance brokers (especially commercial insurance brokers) as sources of paid referrals.
    17. Use email as much as possible, it’s fast, reliable and assuming you already have internet access it’s free
    18. Consider joining a local breakfast club to bring in leads.
    19. Never forget your clients owe you nothing, but you owe them your business
    20. Don’t spend all of your time looking after business (If you don’t have a life outside of work then you need to change the way you operate)
    21. If you use them, never pay the full price for newspaper/magazine advertising (they will give you a discount if you negotiate for long enough)
    22. Remember the saying “what starts bad ends bad” as this is often the case.
    23. Remember the 20/80 rule, 20% of your clients will take 80% of your time. Learn to spot these situations and try to avoid them or at least control the time spent on them
    24. Learn to look at problems from different angles. If Mr Smith wants to buy another house but can’t sell his existing? Have you considered a let to buy?
    25. Stay in contact with clients, send them a newsletter, a note, phone them, email them, anything as long as it’s at least 3 times a year.
    26. Do you do will writing…….If not is this because you don’t need the extra money and spin off insurance this generates?
    27. Brand everything, paper, compliments slips, backs of envelopes, use a signature on your emails, mention your company whenever you answer the phone…everything
    28. Get a decent website, it doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it looks professional
    29. Promote the website; make sure the website address is on all of that stuff you have branded.
    30. Don’t expect to make zillions off your website, many clients will use it to check you out before using your services and you’ll never know it.
    31. Make a Facebook page for your company, but keep it very “chatty”, use it to attract customers not for trying to sell them products or they will stop visiting it.
    32. If you’re a bit techy, sign up with Google analytics, at least you’ll then know if anyone is visiting your site.
    33. Always be on the lookout for fraudulent documentation from clients. If a lender discovers you have missed some, even years later you can get terminated by them which could be the end of your business.
    34. Always give quotes for GI, you won’t get it every time, but you will get some of it.
    35. Remember to offer all of your services to all of your clients
    36. If you haven’t got a fancy client tracking system, use a magic matrix to make sure you have offered everything to everyone.
    37. Really keep up with protection products
    38. Go to insurer seminars
    39. Don’t cut corners on compliance
    40. Make sure you NEVER hook up with any scheme which could have a negative impact on your clients.
    41. Consider allowing an IFA to carry out investment and pension transfer business for your clients but make sure you get a no cross sell agreement, and only do it if you can trust them 100% to look after your clients.
    42. Put insurance in trust wherever you can. It’s better for your clients and it helps to stop the sell it cheap pile it high big nationals from re-broking it.
    43. Offer all new clients a full “free” insurance review.
    44. Offer all of your client s “free” annual insurance reviews their circumstances may change, you might sell them more insurance, it keeps you in touch with them and lets them know you care.
    45. Make sure you use some kind of client tracking system. It doesn’t have to be an expensive commercial system, you could use Outlook, a spread sheet or even a paper-based system but use something.
    46. Keep up to date with FCA regulations if you don’t know what MMR was all about, find out before it turns around and bites you!
    47. Remember to use the telephone properly, it’s often your first point of contact with a client so make it count!
    48. Don’t even think about going head to head with the banks, comparison websites or big nationals, use guerrilla marketing, your small, personal and flexible they’re big, rigid and impersonal, how can you fail to run circles around them.
    49. Consider using a 0845 or even an 0800 number if you tend to deal with clients from across the country.
    50. DON’T use an 0870 number unless you actively want to discourage clients.
    51. Give clients freebies, cheap (but attractive) pens, or key fobs
    52. Consider having calendars printed for your clients, a printed calendar means your name is always in front of them.
    53. Don’t just use any old printing firm, check the costs but also the quality. A good quality business card is worth 10 cheap ones.
    54. Don’t use cheap paper, it makes you look cheap and is a false economy. If you have to, buy quality paper and cut back on the amount of stuff you print.
    55. Buy a laser printer and make sure it’s one that you don’t need to change the drum every time it needs more toner. They’re a cheap as chips now and will save you a small fortune on ink cartridges.
    56. If your headed paper design is simple and you don’t send many letters out, consider using a template to print paper when you need it, this can work out cheaper, you won’t run out of headed paper and you can change the paper or design at any time.
    57. If you’re having a hard time and you are a sole trader, do you need a serviced office? Could you work from home?
    58. If you know of any mortgage brokers in your area who are retiring why not offer to buy their client bank or better still offer to work it for them on a split fee basis.
    59. Don’t be tricked into expensive advertising media that doesn’t work things that often don’t work include, TV at Doctors surgery’s or hospitals, cards at supermarkets, BIG or tiny one-off adverts in the national press.
    60. Local Chamber of Commerce branches often have networking events that can result in referrals. See if you’ve a local branch you can join.
    61. Consider training up for equity release mortgages, this market is growing all the time with more homeowners approaching retirement and pensions performing very poorly.
    62. If you have an unusual client base or use a lot of private banks for mortgages, consider becoming directly authorised.
    63. If you are an appointed representative, always keep an eye on your network. Are they still a good fit for you, are they still friendly, approachable, good value? Don’t just drift along because it’s the easy option when you could be doing better!
    64. Be very wary of any new introducers until you’ve used them for at least a year. You’d be both surprised and shocked at the number of mortgage advisers we speak to who have been terminated by a lender because some business they took from an introducer which they thought was legitimate was far from it.
    65. When looking at a network offering, remember to take an overview of your business requirements. Don’t get fixated on any particular point. Take advice and don’t expect any business development manager or recruiter to tell you the bad points regarding their employer as well as the good points.
  • Mortgage Network Recruitment Comparison For The Whole of 2017 Jan 12, 2018


    Right then, so 2017 is another year showing cautious growth, maybe more surprising when you consider how much of a mess the government seems to have made of Brexit so far, but at least it does show that a countries economic strength is based on more than just its current political strategy.

    The information used in this analysis by Which Network Ltd is taken directly from the FCA register and as such is accurate on that day, however it is not unknown for retrospective changes to be made to the register. Generally speaking the figures are most useful in illustrating general trends for individual networks and the industry as a whole. As there are more than 27 UK networks in total at this point the table represents those which we consider to be amongst the most significant in the sector at this time, with the general spread giving a good representation of the industry as a whole.

    On to the figures themselves now and it can be seen that The Right Mortgage has shown impressive growth and although as a “new” network with an aggressive marketing strategy, the overall figures are maybe slightly flattering since less of their AR firms are going to have been with them long enough to leave the network, there’s no denying their professionalism or that the network is building nicely. In second place, numerically speaking in recruitment terms we have First Complete with an overall increase of 18 AR firms and in third place we have Stonebridge continuing to show steady growth with an increase of 17 AR firms arguably looking slightly more significant with the latter network being smaller than First Complete.

    Moving over to the less sparkling side of the table now, the prize for worst performing network in recruitment terms, goes to Sesame both in numerical and percentile terms with a reduction of 50 AR firms, nevertheless showing a big improvement over last year when they lost 78 AR firms, so maybe this heralds a change in their fortunes? Second last, we have Intrinsic with a reduction of 8 AR firms although with 1,142 firms now registered with them this could hardly be considered significant. In joint third place with an overall reduction in AR firms of 6 we have Julian Harris and Mortgage Intelligence/Mortgage Next who have shown a decrease in AR numbers for third year running.

    With Which Network continually advising both new and established mortgage broking firms to make sure they have some sort of presence on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s interesting to note that this form of marketing is now beginning to spread into the “business to business” field with most of the better performing networks active in this field, although with one particular network’s Facebook page consisting almost entirely of links to other industry sources obviously not everyone gets it?

    Overall however, I have to say that in spite of the massive turbulence within the economy as a whole and a seemingly never ending string of changes to financial services regulation which has seen a big increase in the number of DA brokers coming to us and opting for the support offered by a good network, rather than remaining Directly Authorised, the past year has definitely been another hit both in terms of the numbers of firms active within the sector and the quantity of business written, so here’s looking forward to a great 2018!
  • Mortgage Network Growth in Recruitment Figures For The Third Quarter of 2017 Nov 24, 2017


    Massive apologies for the lateness of the network recruitment tables this quarter but although some people say that a change is as good as a rest this definitely doesn’t apply to changing offices and I’m only beginning to find out where everything has been hidden, two weeks after the event!

    Moving on from my pathetic excuses for a very poor administration system however and turning to overall industry data, in a quarter with very little real movement the slightly negative figures are slightly deceiving with movement chiefly down to a surprising large drop in AR’s by Tenet and maybe less surprising drop by Sesame. In fact, if we remove the influence of these two networks we would see an overall increase of 0.24% in recruitment numbers rather than the 0.32% we actually have.

    Turning away from generalisations now to the actual FCA figures, for anyone not familiar with these tables I should point out that although the figures are taken directly from data provided by the FCA, there can occasionally be anomalies such as retrospective entries on the register or changes where the information provided to the FCA has been misconstrued or is just plain wrong. This means that this table and its precursors are best utilised for showing trends in AR numbers with regard to the various networks but for more specific information refer to the FCA register directly.

    Looking at the quarter now it can be seen that highest growth both percentile and in terms of actual numbers is rightly claimed by The Right Mortgage network. No doubt partly due to the continuing registration of mortgage brokers who were waiting for the FCA to sign the network off before they could become authorised, but I’ve no doubt also because of some terrific marketing by this new network. In second place we have Openwork, again in both percentile and numeric growth and Stonebridge in numeric terms but MAB just pipping them in percentage growth.

    Meanwhile on the not so sunny side of the street we have Tenet with a drop of 15 AR’s although with 557 AR firms this isn’t the largest drop in percentile terms for which the dubious honour goes the Sesame. To illustrate just how quiet a quarter this has been, the network next in line is Pink but they have only lost 5 AR firms numerically followed by Julian Harris, Mortgage Intelligence/Next and HL Partnership with all three of these networks only losing 2 AR firms each.

    In terms of new recruits into the industry. Following the trend Which Network has seen maybe a slight drop in these, but on the whole, this has been offset at least partially by the quality of newcomer we are seeing with many entrants more knowledgeable on the marketing needed to make their business a success.
  • Mortgage Broker Mobile Office, Myth or Magic? Oct 16, 2017

    A landline and a landline number are not necessarily the same thing. There are now a number of telephone services around now that can provide you with a landline number which will automatically re-route a call to you mobile seamlessly and, without the caller even being aware that this has happened. Importantly in this scenario, we aren’t talking about an 0845, 0855 or 0800 number here, these firms can supply you with a normal geographical number that fits in with the location of your company. Read more here.............

  • Will I be Accepted as an Appointed Representative by a Mortgage Network? May 2, 2017


    What are networks looking for in a broker?

    In spite of what some people think of their chances of being accepted by a network as an AR this isn’t really just a roll of the dice so I thought it might be useful for advisers in that situation to have some idea as to what we at Which Network think most networks are looking for in an AR, what constitutes an almost certain No and what the alternatives are if you can’t join at this time.

    If we first look at the perfect AR from a networks point of view, you will be earning in excess of £100,000 per annum with safe business products, meaning no equity release, no interest only and no commercial business. You won’t be too bothered about percentages or charges, preferring to judge the network by the “special” relationship you know, you have with them and the wonderfully funny, knowledgeable and amicable staff they have. But tearing ourselves away from fantasy which will have at least a few network MD’s salivating at the very thought of it, the reality is running a mortgage network is a competitive business and a lot of good networks will accept quite a bit less than this Utopian dream broker.

    In terms of income most networks are looking for over £30k per annum at start-up and maybe £30k – 40K minimum ongoing. Of course this is a massive generalisation and some networks will welcome you with a little less as long as they perceive your business levels to be heading in the right direction, just as others don’t want to know any business doing less than £50k pa. Horses for courses as they say, but the big thing here is to have some business plan, lead source or track record to back up your projected or expected income claims. Read the rest of the article here
  • Real Life Marketing Ideas For Mortgage Brokers Mar 24, 2017

    Having just read a small article in one of the industry magazines with a number of marketing tips which some of which certainly have some merit but seem to be aimed maybe at some other industry or students I thought we could do with an alternative list of marketing ideas specifically for mortgage brokers?............

  • Moves to Include Rental Record in UK Mortgage Affordability Calculation Mar 16, 2017

    At last, in what would be a glimmer of sanity and a massive help for first time buyers, the government are considering allowing FTB’s to use records of rental payments as one element of proof of affordability for mortgage sales. It has always seemed so obvious to everyone in the industry and the world in general that if a........Read More
  • Bob Geldof Kicked Off The Stage at The Intrinsic Conference (I don’t like Mondays, but apparently other days can end shit as well) Mar 13, 2017

    So Sir Bob Geldof got kicked off the stage at the Intrinsic annual conference. Can’t say I’m totally surprised since he’s always been a bit of a loose cannon and occasionally seems to have more communism in him than Lenin’s mistress. But having said that I watched him do his bit at a financial expo in Manchester about 5 years ago and he was very good, talking about his business roots in Ireland and how he went door to door selling front door viewers.

    Then on to how he only became the singer (maybe in the loosest sense of the word) with the Boom Town Rats because it meant he could then get another 15% of their gig fees on top of the 10% he was getting at that time as their manager. So certainly pre his messiah complex kicking in he wasn’t afraid of earning his keep?

    He then finished off with a bit more of a spicy piece thanking all the financial advisers for coming and wishing them success and explaining how if they concentrated and worked hard they could make a lot of money from their profession but if they wanted to get laid they would be better off being a rock’n’roll star.

    So I can see why anyone watching his performance at that time would want to book him for their conference, it’s just a pity that having evolved into a more spiritual being and existing on a far higher moral plain than us flawed humans he’s forgotten the time when all he wanted to do was entertain people, make a few bob and get his leg over.

    Bless you Sir Bob
    J Wells likes this.
  • Financial Advisers, How Can Mere Mortals Combat Robo Advice? Sep 14, 2016

    Well, I like to think I’m pretty much ahead of the pack in terms of keeping up with technology, although I will admit that “thinking” and “being” ahead of the pack are very different things. I’ve even written a couple of articles on AI and how eventually it’s going to allow everyone much more leisure time, a euphemism of course for putting everyone out of a job but I certainly didn’t think this sort of thing would rear its head so quickly.

    Looking for the answer to the problem, although it’s an answer in the transitional period and not forever, the first thing I would say is that humans tend to react much better to other humans rather than really engaging in a conversation with a machine, other than people who are extremely withdrawn or psychopaths you understand, so you have an inbuilt advantage in this contest. That being the case, I’m sure that with just those two paragraphs many people reading this article will have already grasped the answer, namely just fall back on your “humanity”.

    Don’t let the Monday morning syndrome rear its ugly head and make sure you always appear to be interested in all aspects of your client’s life that they may decide to share with you. Pretty generic advice for any long term relationship anyhow you may think but rallying against the march of the robots it becomes even more important.

    Remember, with current and medium term technology no robot is going to notice a boat in the drive and make small talk about the joys of getting wet in the freezing North sea whilst simultaneously risking drowning for the reward of catching a couple of small codling which could have been bought at the local supermarket for under a fiver. It’s a human thing and can be applied to motor cycling “34 times more likely to be killed than a car driver”, or following a football team “spending £800 a year to sit outside in all weathers and watch 22 millionaires kicking a bag of wind around”, the list goes on and on and machines don’t get any of it.

    Try to sound more human on any voicemail messages you leave, or with your own voicemail/answerphone messages. Make emails slightly more chatty, not crazy and please don’t even try for zany, but less formal is usually a good idea. Make sure you keep in touch on a regular basis, say every 3 months and use your CRM system to take notes about birthdays or events, “How was your daughter’s wedding” and other every day, off the financial topic stuff casually slipped into a conversation, all helps to push you up the slippery slope from mortgage adviser to family friend and nobody has a family friend who’s a toaster.

    Human’s rule!