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Comment: Take control to signpost clients in your direction

Do not rely on lenders to send your clients back to you; get in first

Hunt-Bob-2017-CUTJust before Christmas the last thing likely to have been on your mind was your ongoing client engagement strategy. With 2018 now well under way, however, this would be a good time to tackle it head on.

In that pre-Christmas period, this very publication wrote about which of the top 10 lenders signposted their customers back to the original mortgage adviser in their communications. At the time, six out of 10 did; one mentioned advisers in a generalist sense; and the other three apparently made no mention of the original adviser at all, although we were told that, like Fagin in Oliver!, they’d be ‘reviewing the situation’. Many advisers will be interested to hear the results of such reviews.

The point is that, if advisers are relying on lenders to direct their clients back to them, they’ve undoubtedly taken a wrong turn with their client communication strategy. This appears to be a case of ‘twas ever the same’; and, even with a broker ‘signpost’, are we really suggesting that the lender won’t be offering clients a raft of new potential products and services that can be accessed directly, without any adviser involvement?

Of course, lenders welcome your business, appreciate it, need it, etcetera, but will not be averse to attempting to realign the market back to greater parity in terms of intermediary/direct sales. That means you, as the adviser, must rely on yourself to maintain your client contact and to spell it out that, even with some seemingly attractive direct product options, clients will not only cut themselves off from the rest of the market but also give up many of their consumer protections.

Relevant strategy

That message will get across only with a relevant and focused engagement strategy in place. Why not go through your business from 2017 and see how many cases were from clients returning to you? Is it a high enough percentage? If not, why not? Which historical clients have deals coming to an end in 2018? Have they been contacted recently? Again, if not, why not?

Don’t leave these clients to fend for themselves, because lenders won’t, especially in a competitive marketplace where product transfer, and the consequent improvement in net lending business, count for so much.

Bob Hunt is chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services

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