View more on these topics

Brokers still have options

The government’s decision to cut the base rate to 0.5% was another nail in the coffin of the remortgage market. With SVRs hitting the floor, for many borrowers the simplest option is to do nothing.

So it’s hardly surprising that many brokerages are finding it tough to keep going. Life must be particularly difficult for firms that focussed on buy-to-let, remortgaging or specialist lending in the past.

March 31 is the deadline for brokers to renew their Financial Services Authority fees for the year and many will face a hard choice – do they continue doing the job they love or do they throw in the towel?

Many sole brokers are finding it desperately hard to find new business but it would be a shame for consumers who rely on expert advice from brokers if the current market turmoil resulted in a mass exodus.

On the plus side, for every broker calling it a day many more are diversifying into fresh markets – be it protection or equity release – or expanding their financial skills base. There is also a growing market for government-backed shared equity schemes.

A central characteristic of the market is that while product rates are low, LTV levels are an impenetrable steel gate. But don’t forget, government funds are available to first-time buyers as well as key workers.

So borrowers and brokers still have options. Times may be hard and it might seem like the light at the end of the tunnel is a long way off but brokers must keep trying. Throwing in the towel should be a last resort after they have exhausted all other possibilities. Remember, it’s not over until it’s over.

Recommended

Chelsea reports a loss before tax of £39.3m

Chelsea Building Society made a loss before tax of £39.3m for 2008 as it emerges as the latest mutual to shoulder the costs of the Icelandic banking crisis.

Let’s hope spring sees lending grow

Spring has arrived, bringing with it sunny mornings, longer days and gardens full of bright daffodils. The big question is – will it also bring the traditional increase in home sales?

Woolwich’s process to control funds leaves me frustrated

I’d like to congratulate Woolwich on its novel way of demonstrating how much it values advisers. And might I also take this opportunity to commend it on its prudent approach to controlling its money supply.

Five ways to invest in the connected world

Smart utility metering; fitness trackers; connected cars; smart factories; precision agriculture: the internet of things encompasses myriad applications. But how do you gain exposure – and profit – from this growing trend, asks Neptune fund manager & CTO Ali Unwin. Read more: Important information Investment risks Neptune funds may have a high historic volatility rating […]