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How do you take £1m out of a football club?

newcastle takeover

Rory Joseph is director and Sebastian Murphy is head of mortgage finance at JLM Mortgage Services

There’s an old joke about people who invest in football which runs along the lines of, how do you take £1m out of a football club? Put in £2m.

Essentially, there are plenty of reasons to invest in football clubs, but on the whole, making a profit isn’t one of them.

There are few parallels with the advisory profession here, but we’re definitely of the opinion – and we won’t be telling you something you don’t already know – that while there is certainly a profit to be made in advice, you definitely don’t go into the industry if you want an easy life and/or the chance to put your feet up.

This, in our experience, is a business which consumes time, energy and resource, and judging by the comments I read on Twitter, or Cherry, I know that most advisers are currently putting in more hours each week than they ever have.

Being successful in this market doesn’t come ‘cheap’; 60/70 hour weeks are the norm, perhaps even more currently, and it’s a profession that while incredibly rewarding, also requires its pound of flesh, so to speak.

We often get asked whether we still write mortgage/protection business, and the answer is not only ‘of course’, but we also feel it’s absolutely essential because we need to feel what our network firms/advisers are feeling, and we need to be able to understand their issues in order to fight not only our own important battles, but those of our ARs.

At times, that might come across sometimes as ‘lender bashing’, but we’re also of the opinion that unless these criticisms get aired, they won’t get resolved.

Certainly, if you’re a smaller advisory firm, how do you get your voice heard?

Utilising your network principal to voice those concerns is we think a key part of being a network. If you can’t rely on the network to put your case forward, then who can you rely on?

Having that large umbrella entity around you can make all the difference, not just in terms of compliance or marketing support or access to lenders, but simply in elevating your voice with those who should be listening.

This can also feel like a very lonely profession at times, particularly if you’re a one-man/woman band who might be trying to juggle all the plates of running a firm, while also dealing with clients and everyone else who needs communicating with.

Smaller businesses are undoubtedly the bedrock of this profession, but that doesn’t mean they individually hold the same weight as the bigger players.

Group them together however, whether under a network or club or packager, a trade body or association, and you begin to build a stronger voice; one that has a much better chance of being listened to, in order that we might get the change we all want to see.

There is without doubt a lot going on in the market at the moment; the pressures that come with a greatly increased workload can be overwhelming, and might mean you overlook or ignore issues that, at any other time, should be put on the table and receive a decent airing.

The temptation to do this in order to get business written will obviously be there, but in doing so, you risk the problem getting worse and you risk having to encounter it again.

As individual firms we need to ensure our voice is as amplified as possible, so whether that’s contacting your network, or your trade body, or it’s indeed letting our excellent trade press know what’s been going on, making a positive intervention is always going to be better than doing nothing.

In a market this big, it’s easy to be ignored; it’s even easier if you don’t speak up and use all the avenues available for you to do so.


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