Fleet Mortgages: Don’t fight technology – employ it

Bob Young Fleet 2014

The best use of technology is for communication with clients, at which point the human steps in with professional advice

Robo-advice is gradually becoming a talking point in the mortgage world.

The recent FCA feedback statement on competition in the market included a specific technology theme that the regulator plans to pursue in future work, namely that “there are opportunities to make more effective use of technology to provide information and advice”.

I have always held the opinion that the use of technology is non-negotiable. However, you also need human experience, knowledge and skillsets in order to make a business work. In that sense, you have to combine both to get a successful model.

While robo-mortgage advice will undoubtedly appeal to some, it will probably not appeal to those who value human interaction and an experienced adviser. But how they interact with that adviser is another matter entirely. Does it require a face-to-face meeting? Probably not.

Technology enables us to speak to advisers regardless of where we are. Advisers will need to invest in such technology in the future, particularly if more lenders look to operate in this way.

There is no point raging against the technology machine. If you cannot afford to invest in it, you need to think hard about the fact that competitors will, as well as whether your business is sustainable in the long term.

One thing is certain: lenders looking to recoup market share via their direct channels are currently going large on technology. If advisers can move down the same path, they have a good chance of heading off what could be a significant threat to business levels.

Bob Young is chief executive of Fleet Mortgages