Innovators must ensure whole market benefits


Those at the cutting edge of modernisation must ensure their approach delivers benefits to the industry as a whole

Financial services is a sector in which firms are always looking to push boundaries in order to maximise the available opportunities, generate business and ultimately boost revenue streams. The most successful of these are ones which make the best use of a wealth of customer insight to monitor trends, react to market changes and develop propositions as and when needs arise.

The mortgage market in particular has always craved genuine innovators and this is especially apparent for borrowers and intermediaries who need all the support they can get.

The regulator is also fully aware of the importance attached to innovation. This has been outlined by the creation of an “innovation hub” to champion and support those firms experimenting with new ideas that are demonstrably worth testing.

This particular topic is an interesting one, and is one which was brought to the fore recently though an insightful opinion piece ‘Outliers versus Innovators’ by Sue Anderson, head of member and external relations at the Council of Mortgage Lenders. One passage in particular stood out.

“Innovation with a clear purpose to create market improvement is great, and we should embrace it enthusiastically – but not uncritically. Innovators who do business differently and fall outside the pack are not necessarily baddies – after all, isn’t that exactly what the new breed of consumer-friendly challengers aim to do?”

There has to be boundaries in place to ensure that the implementation of innovation is carefully monitored.

It must be beneficial to more than just the creator and not the type of pure opportunism which could prove detrimental to the short, and long-term, future of consumers and the industry as a whole.

And this is especially apparent within the mortgage market.

However, as important is to ensure that these boundaries are not so robust as to stifle it.

After all, the greater the number of lenders and service providers creating pioneering products, developing ground-breaking technological solutions, and reinforcing the elevation of intermediary support standards the better it will be for everyone in the mortgage chain.

Jackie Uhi is managing director of mortgage distribution at Barclays