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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!
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.
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.............
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
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?............
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 BobJ Wells likes this.
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.