John Phillips is group operations director of Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart
Look around a room of mortgage brokers and it’s easy to see that a large proportion are in their 50s. At the same time, there are very few in their 20s and 30s. So what happens in 10 years’ time when all of the older brokers retire? Where is the life blood of the industry going to come from and who will take the profession forward?
In what might be one of the most successful times for mortgage brokers, with around 75% of all mortgages being put through brokers, one could argue that this should be the best time to bring new people into the market. Yes, there is more regulation than there was 15 years ago, but young people coming into the market have less problem with that than the people who have been around for many years. They have never known it any other way so accept things as they are and work to make the most of them.
However, to bring more people of all ages into the industry everyone has to do their part. At the moment it is like a merry-go-round where existing brokers are poached, or move, from one brokerage or network to another. But what we all need is to be attracting new people in and training them up to help take our industry forwards.
To that end, Just Mortgages is attempting to lead the way with a series of academies in order to bring more brokers into the industry. In fact, following two successful pilots earlier this year, we are planning two more training academies later in the year where aspiring brokers can gain their CeMap One qualification. In reality, this will provide just a drop in the ocean in terms of the number of new brokers that will be required over the next few years, but it is certainly a good start.
It is time that everyone stands together to do their bit, or else the issue of the aging broker may become an existential threat to the profession as we know it. In comparison, the more talked about issue of whether lenders are adapting their systems to go straight to consumer or not will be an irrelevance. In fact, it will become a necessity for them to do so if there are not actually enough brokers to compete for the business and provide wider advice.
So before we become an endangered species let us all work to bring more people into the profession to ensure its health for the long term