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It’s time for brokers to get behind HIPs

There comes a time when, however passionate you are that your argument is right, you have to accept the views of others and move on to work within a new framework.

The mortgage club world learned this when the Financial Services Authority illogically insisted that despite the fact that clubs do not carry out regulated activities and have no contact with consumers, their names had to appear on Key Facts Illustrations.

Having made rational arguments against this, clubs had to accept the FSA’s view and work with the new rules.

It is now less than 100 days until Home Information Packs become mandatory and the government has said it is about to launch its consumer campaign – the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Council of Mortgage Lenders must do the same.

The time for those who are against HIPs to whinge has expired. Articles and press releases pleading for postponement send out the wrong message to those who should be gearing up to help consumers understand and arrange them.

I am sure anyone who has been through a house purchase recently will understand the benefits of moving information collection from the end of the process to the front. It’s time to get behind HIPs.

The trouble is that given the negative spin and scaremongering of those with vested interests against HIPs plus government U-turns on self-invested pension plans and pensions term assurance, consumer-facing brokers have buried their heads in the sand over the imminent launch. Now we are close and there is no sign of a U-turn so brokers must start planning for June 1.

Clients will get the wrong message if brokers don’t have solutions in place from the launch date. If clients need HIPs to put their houses on the market, brokers have to arrange them or those clients will go to someone else.

Clearly, it is in brokers’ interests for customers to arrange HIPs through them. If they arrange them through someone else it is likely that they will also take other mortgage or financial services business there.

As it is likely that arranging a HIP will become one of the first steps in putting a house on the market, brokers must ensure their existing customers know they can arrange them. If brokers have never felt that marketing their services to existing customers is important, HIPs should change their minds.

The good news for brokers is that clubs and networks already have relationships in place with HIP suppliers. So finding a good supplier will not be a problem for firms in clubs or networks and they will be able to focus on consumer marketing activities.


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