Time for brokers to prove themselves

The boom times meant that until last summer there appeared to be few better occupations than that of mortgage broker.

As always, the perception was a long way from the truth and although most brokers found their earnings increasing, that rise was modest for the most part.

As well as running a packager, I am executive chairman of a large brokerage, the OFM Group, and the main lesson we have learnt is re-flected in the wider mortgage community – we grossly underperformed in a buoyant market.

We didn’t spend enough time with each client to sell mortgage protection or general insurance products because it seemed we had an endless supply of customers.

The reason for this was simple – we were punch drunk from the fantastic mortgage commissions we were receiving.

We didn’t consider easy referrals such as pensions, wills and conveyancing instructions. We didn’t even charge fees.

The sobering thought now is if we had only done our job properly, we could have maximised our income. With fewer lenders and products available, tougher criteria and unstable financial markets, this is one of the most uncertain periods most of us have experienced.

Mortgages are harder to place than at any time in almost a decade. Therefore, it is important that we do our jobs properly and spend the necessary time with clients to offer them fair and appropriate financial solutions.

Dare I say it, we need to regain our advisory status and move on from simply being mortgage facilitators.

Quality mortgage advice is needed now more than ever, and this is the time for the undoubted excellence of our profession to shine through.

In the past 10 years mortgage commissions have trebled, but the even better news is that the number of brokers has fallen significantly.

It is time to look at this frustrating market and see it as a great opportunity.

Clients need mortgages, protection and general insurance, and most also need the services of financial planners. As brokers, we are wonderfully placed to capitalise on this.