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Opinion: What digital advances will mean for advisers

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The digitisation of the UK mortgage market has been steadily growing over the past few years. Just as we’ve become more reliant on technology to make our lives simpler, we’ve also seen some important advancements in the technology being used in the mortgage industry. For example, less than a year ago, Atom Bank became the first lender to offer a pure digital mortgage application, with many more challenger banks following suit since then.

But as we continue to see further digital innovations across the mortgage industry, what does it mean for advisers? And how can advisers make sure that they benefit from these innovations, whilst supporting their clients?

According to UK Finance (then the CML), as of June 2017, over two-thirds of mortgages in the UK now come through intermediaries. As lenders become more digitally mature, it’s paramount that networks invest in technology to ensure that advisers are able to keep pace with the changing marketplace.

TMA has worked closely with our lenders to roll out new technologies that make it much easier to share digital information with advisers and vice versa. As a result, advisers are now able to process applications more quickly and get online decisions in principle, resulting in a simpler and quicker customer journey.

The advantages of digitisation of mortgages are clear, but nothing worth having comes easy. As the industry becomes more technology-focused, one of the biggest challenges is going to be changing ingrained attitudes around the uses of tech.

It’s important for advisers to take a step back and look at what factors may be preventing their business from adopting new technologies and where they stand against their competitors. It’s also important to also see how their employees feel about an increasingly technology-led environment, as well as identifying and resolving any knowledge gaps in the adviser workforce.

With the support of their network or mortgage club, advisers can ensure their businesses become more agile through the use of technology. Many of these solutions change very rapidly, however, so it’s important that advisers continue to implement the latest updates in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Time waits for no one, and the mortgage advice industry will come to see technology as a way to boost business volumes and engage customers. However, mortgage advice should never solely become robo-advice.

People buy from people, especially when it comes to one of the most important borrowing decisions of their life. In order to offer the best possible service, adviser firms of the future will offer a mix of human and digital interaction, as both can offer real benefits for clients.

Robert McCoy is senior business and product manager of TMA

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