An insider’s view on the virtues of networks
Peter Tsouroulla is a senior partner at John Charcol
“Network” seems to be the latest buzzword circulating the mortgage industry right now.
More and more companies are now offering network packages. They’ve had an outstanding surge in popularity. So what’s the appeal? Why are they suddenly so popular? Glad you asked.
I’m a senior partner at John Charcol and have worked as part of their network for over 18 years, sitting amongst their most experiences self-employed brokers. Here’s what I’ve learned.
One of the main benefits attracting new advisers is the opportunity to retain or gain autonomy as a self-employed individual. You have options in terms of how you work and what cases you accept, depending on the type of network you choose.
Your independence means you set your own targets and are completely in control of yourself and your business – but some unnecessary pressures are removed as you’re already within a secure and regulated environment.
Some network packages, like John Charcol’s, allow you to operate under a respected and recognised brand name. This can make it easier to secure leads and ultimately increase your profits, without compromising the way you run your business.
If you choose the right network package, there’s also often the opportunity to grow internally. Certain companies will be able to support you during the transition from employed to self-employed.
Finally, the most appealing benefit to becoming self-employed is arguably the unlimited earning potential.
From experience, it’s good to know the benefits that come with a good self-employed network, as not all networks are created equal. Looking for certain features will give you an understanding of what it would really be like to work as part of “this network” compared to “that network”, which will help you make the right decision for you and your business.
It’s good to ask about the financial packages for each partnership you’re considering. Compare what’s out there. In other words: know your worth.
Are there targets? For a self-employed broker, one of the most important benefits of autonomy is the ability to set your own targets. You don’t have to answer to anyone else. Not all network packages offer this independence. Some companies prefer to set targets. You may want to look for the ones that don’t.
Are there any hidden charges? It’s better to have an open and transparent network partnership than one where you’re caught off guard with hidden charges. Go for packages where all and any charges are laid out up front. Ask questions about any charges later down the line.
And if there are charges, what will they give you access to?
Is it clear what’s expected of you? You want a package where there’s complete clarity regarding what compliance you’re responsible for and what kind of access to the market you’ll have.
Brokerages that provide network partnerships with full compliance, mortgage technical and IT support will give you the tools you need to provide your client with the best – and the most professional – experience.
Look for anything that will make the process easier for your client. Some brokerages, like John Charcol, partner with insurance and protection providers, or offer other services to help ensure your client’s journey is straightforward.
Access to different departments – such as the finance department – will help ensure payments go through smoothly, whether these are payments from your clients or your commission.
Some partnerships also include access to the marketing team. A good marketing team can help you market yourself as an individual, whether this be through a personal website, content creation or assistance with PR.
A company with resources that allow you to work on the road will help ensure that you’re always able to provide your clients with a 5 star service.
It’s important to choose a network package that’s willing to evolve and change. We’re likely to continue seeing new network packages pop up all over the place, growth in self-employed freelance roles and more people signing up.
If you’re considering this route, make sure you do your research and compare what’s available.
There are packages out there that include everything described in this article. My advice to you is: don’t settle for something that doesn’t meet your needs.