Comment: It takes all sorts…

Lenders should maintain a strong understanding of broker demographics as intermediaries come in all shapes and sizes

From relatively humble beginnings, the mortgage intermediary market has developed into a crucial and sizable part of the homebuying process.

And, in a time where the market is more heavily regulated and complex than ever, the demand for good-quality professional advice has never been so high.

This is reflected in recent FCA product sales data, which suggests that total mortgage transactions carried out by intermediaries were 47 per cent higher in 2016 than in 2013.

In comparison, loans made direct from provider to consumer were down by a fifth over the same period.

The data also found that small firms continued to dominate the advice landscape. Of those categorised as mortgage brokers, 55 per cent had only one member of staff advising on mortgage products, with 88 per cent having five or fewer advisers.

Also highlighted was the evolution of mortgage intermediaries, with 91 per cent reported to be generating some revenue from non-investment insurance mediation.

Indeed, only 61 per cent of revenue was said to come from mortgage broking, with 38 per cent derived from insurance business and 1 per cent from investment advice.

This shift away from pure mortgage income was a must during some of the darker, post-credit crunch days when business was thin on the ground. However, it is good to see intermediaries have not been short-sighted and ditched this ancillary business when mortgage volume started to filter back.

All in all, the data paints a really positive picture for the intermediary community.

It is important that lenders maintain a strong understanding of the demographics within the community. Intermediary partners come in all shapes and sizes, and the more lenders understand their differing needs, the easier it will be to do business together and help them grow in line with their aspirations.

Sidney Wager is intermediary partnerships director at Barclays