Leader: Counting the human cost

In last week’s issue we revealed the results of our first broker census that was aimed at gauging what business people in the market were doing and how they were surviving.

One of the questions was on annual salaries, with some 72% saying they now derive an income of between £25,000 and £50,000 per year. But in the wake of this, one broker got in touch questioning why we had set the basic income level so high at £25,000.

They told us that their income had gone down by over 70% in the last three years and that they had earned less than £15,000 per annum over the last 12 months despite working hard. Unsurprisingly, the broker in question said they were seriously considering getting out of the industry.

We will obviously ensure that our next census stretches below the £25,000 mark but it shows the extent to which many brokers in the market have suffered. There are various estimates that there were between 30,000 and 40,000 brokers at the height of the market and the general consensus is that this figure is now at 12,500. This is the human cost of the lack of funding that’s currently blighting the market.

However, it’s important to remember that this situation isn’t universal and our first Top Of The League this week, which Mortgage Strategy is running in conjunction with Woolwich, shows that there are people who are making the market work for them. Despite the downturn both of our winners are bullish about the current market and serve as an example that despite the many problems affecting the mortgage market and the economy in general, it is still possible to make a healthy living out of mortgage broking.