Before the credit crunch it was fair to say a number of mortgage networks took their eye off the bigger picture as they focussed solely on swelling their appointed representative ranks.
This pursuit of numbers at the expense of building sustainable models meant a number went to the wall or were scooped up by larger groups when the going got tough. There are far fewer networks around today as a result, but competition remains keen.
What this contraction highlighted was that, more than ever, quality was more important than quantity.
Heading into 2012, it will remain a case of survival of the fittest when it comes to networks.
You would expect most of those that have come this far to continue plugging away, but there may well be some further amalgamations as the year unfolds.
Certainly in the IFA space we can expect 2012 to be a particularly interesting year for networks as they prepare themselves for the Retail Distribution Review.
It’s not just a one-way street though and networks won’t be the only ones on the look-out for interesting propositions.
AR firms should be constantly assessing whether they are getting the best deal possible from their network – they may find the grass could well be greener as part of another group. Why not make it your new year resolution to check that your network is still keeping its end of the bargain?