Leader: Blow the broker trumpet

Legal & General and the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries made a big push last week to speak to journalists and promote their study on the mortgage industry.

As snapshots go of consumer attitudes to mortgages and brokers, it’s got some good insights. The age group with the biggest proportion stating that they’d use a broker was the 25 to 34 bracket, with the lowest segment being the over-65s.

Unsurprisingly, the real threat when it comes to researching the market is the internet. It’s now the advice route of choice for most age groups with the exception of the over-65s, who favour the high street, and intriguingly 18 to 24 year olds who equally favoured either brokers or the high street.

Many firms have looked into or talked about promoting intermediaries in the past but L&G and AMI are the first to put their money where their mouths are and engage with the media to promote the benefits of brokers. But the truth is that if they are the only organisations to present brokers in a favourable light it will have limited impact.

Other players in the market need to get involved to generate news stories week in week out about the benefits of intermediaries. The bulk of people are using the internet and comparison websites to research mortgages and that is where the threat for brokers lies.

The service offered by comparison sites can be poor – the Financial Services Authority’s warning to 19 firms offering such sites last week proved that. But it’s always been the case that he who shouts loudest gets heard. Unless the intermediary industry does more to promote the service it provides, what noise it does make will continue to be drowned out by the high street and web.