Hello again all. It seems like ages ago since I last put pen to paper, or rather finger to keyboard, but in reality it has only been a couple of weeks. In this case, a couple of weeks seems like a lifetime and much has changed as many of you will be aware, not least a bereavement and a birth!
Watching TV the other night I happened to catch a really good programme called Darwin’s’ Dangerous Idea, where Andrew Marr was talking about how scientists following Darwin’s ideas identified the threats to the environment caused by mankind. One quote in particular struck a chord, it was something like, “death is a terrible thing, but the end of birth is an absolute disaster”!
Now this may have been talking about the threats faced by various animal species, but we can apply this to the broker community at the moment – well, sort of, bear with me.
As Martin Lewis stated in one of his recent blog posts, “decent mortgage brokers are a consumer good; with many thousands of mortgage products each with their own peccadilloes; most people need a professional to take them through such an important transaction. Therefore this decline of the advisory industry is a worry.”
Indeed it is. It is a worry which those in the carpeted corridors of Whitehall, and certain lenders, tend to be blasé about. If all there is are lenders offering their own products and associated insurances, generally more expensive, where is the consumer benefit?
Granted there are some good advisors at these banks, but more often than not clients initial contact will not be the most experienced and may be more subject to the latest “let’s all please sell this this week” passed down by management. The classic yes we can do that no issue, until it actually gets to a decision maker a few weeks later, then no.
Stories I have heard from clients with regards to HSBC are a classic example, great products, but poor service and decisions being changed left, right and centre.
There is, and never has been, any substitute for professional independent mortgage advice. The deaths of some class brokerages, whether the market, lenders or their own internal stupidity is to blame, is not good for the consumer.
What would be worse, however, is that if out of the carnage, new brokerages, filled with the next wave of business leaders and entrepreneurs, stopped being born or were crushed before they were fully formed. Which is why I wish Godspeed to the likes of Tyler Mortgage Management, AIS and of course our new little venture Coreco Group, (for those wondering the CORE of CObalt, but pronounced Coh-reh-co).
A new type of diverse, adaptable and forward-thinking broker for the new landscape backed by the knowledge and professionalism gained over many years.
It is up to us all, brokers, lenders, the media and the public to make sure that independent advice and choice remain in our markets. A world of a few big dinosaurs offering their own dull, standardised products that they think customers want, through one or two massive distributers will be a sorry place indeed.
Ultimately, we know what happened to the dinosaurs, and without the spark of creation, the beauty of evolution and the inevitability of mankind’s ingenuity through progress, the stark “1984” type existence may seem like a reality.
So put down your swords and pick up your ploughs, let’s build a new future together.
Finally, a most humble apology and the reason why you should never make a list! In my last blog I listed many of the Cobalt people who I wished well and missed out 2 of the most important.
Firstly, Gillian, one of the best brokers I have worked with over the last 15 years and a true Duchess. Also, dearest Jody, undoubtedly one of the best and most thorough sales support I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
Whilst I’m at it, Ria and Natalie – thank you so much for this week – you really are elite!
I wish all of you, in fact everyone, the best of everything.