Network Review: Buoyant market

 

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Reflecting on the third quarter, there has been quite a bit of stuff attributed to Brexit. However, overall the feedback I’m getting from brokers is that the market is quite buoyant and most people’s business, if not exactly booming, is certainly doing OK.

This is a sentiment borne out by the increasing number of enquiries we are getting from newcomers entering the sector whose numbers have now almost reached the point where they are replacing older advisers who are retiring from the industry.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with this regular reflection on recruitment success and failure within mortgage networks in terms of recruitment, the information was taken from the FCA register on 20 October and was accurate at that time. Due to retrospective changes to the register caused by corrections and the occasional late input there may be the odd anomaly, however, in terms of displaying trends, which is really what it’s all about, the figures are absolutely fine.

Anyone looking for inspiration as to which network they should use for their business, however, should be aware that this is only one aspect of the myriad of factors that make up a good network, so by all means check on a networks history in terms of recruitment but, before picking up the phone, first be sure to take professional, independent advice.

Looking at the quarter’s figures now, we can see they’re a bit more dramatic than usual with a couple of big results both good and bad.

On the bright side, The Right Mortgage have now obtained all of their licences, are fully operational and show by far the biggest net gain numerically and in percentage terms of any of the networks, adding 22 advisers to their total and entering our table for the first time. This could partially be the result of a log jam of ARs waiting to come through FCA registration as the network becomes fully authorised and their training and AR processing systems come online, but that shouldn’t detract from a very good quarter and it will be interesting to see how they do in the long term.

Network performance figures for Q3 2016
Network Name Adviser ARs Gained Lost Net difference % change
Intrinsic 1092 24 29 -5 -0.46
Openwork 628 8 9 -1 -0.16
Sesame 497 7 23 -16 -3.22
Tenet 448 9 20 -11 -2.46
First Complete 434 21 10 11 2.53
Personal Touch FS 247 5 93 -88 -35.63
Homeloan Partnership 240 10 9 1 0.42
Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions 234 17 12 5 2.14
Pink 204 8 4 4 1.96
Online Partnership 203 8 2 6 2.96
Mortgage Intelligence and Next 191 1 6 -5 -2.62
Mortgage Advice Bureau 158 3 6 -3 -1.90
Lighthouse Advisory Services 133 0 1 -1 -0.75
Sense Network 106 4 4 0 0.00
The Right Mortgage 89 22 0 22 24.72
Mortgage Support Network 73 1 5 -4 -5.48
Julian Harris 71 4 7 -3 -4.23
Totals for Q3 2016 5,048 152 240 -5 -0.10

In second place numerically is First Complete with 11 additional ARs or in percentage terms Online Partnership with an increase of 2.96 per cent putting them in second place in percentage terms with third place numerically speaking going to Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions.

Turning to the dark side now the register shows that Personal Touch FS would appear to have a reduction in their AR numbers of 88, which would be a nightmare. However, I’m pleased to say that this is for the main part a reflection of how the FCA record introducer AR data, insomuch as introducer ARs are recorded as introducer ARs when current. However, for some inexplicable reason when they are removed from the register they are just recorded as ARs without a mention of their introducer status.

So although this still leaves Personal Touch FS bottom of the league in terms of recruitment the situation isn’t quite as dire as it would seem at first glance, with more than half of their losses actually introducer ARs. In second place with a reduction of 16 ARs Sesame continue to lose ARs, although the rate of loss is slowing down, and in third place numerically although not in percentage terms are Tenet, with a reduction of 11 in their AR total.

Overall, certainly a better quarter for networks and the industry in general, particularly when you take all of the political turmoil and changes to BTL regulation into account, with the percentage change in the table almost flat if you remove the atypical top and bottom figures

Gary Watts is director of Which Network