Increasing value attached to technology
Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)
The increased value attached to technology and specialist lending is undoubtedly capturing the attention of many intermediary firms in the current marketplace, although the parallels between these two areas go way beyond this.
In the none-too-distant past technology was often classed as an expensive luxury by an array of firms across the property spectrum, especially within the intermediary community.
We also saw the walls come up from a number of advisers when the issue of robo-advice first emerged and it did take quite some time for many of these barriers to be lowered.
However, technology is no longer regarded as the ‘threat’ it once was, far from it.
There were also some historic barricades erected by advisers when it came to exploring what was considered to be ‘niche’ lending.
This may have been due to combination of some fingers being burnt in the past, negative perceptions, a lack of willingness to engage with certain product types or they were simply generating enough ‘mainstream’ business to not really care.
Again, at the time, this was relatively understandable, but times and borrowing circumstances have changed.
This tech and specialist lending journey has certainly intensified in recent years and even more so over the course of the past 12 months.
We’re all fully aware of the emphasis place on technology in a lockdown world where remote working has become the norm and video calls a regular – and sometimes too regular – occurrence.
Efficiencies and the engagement process have had to improve and this is where a good proportion of investment has been made by intermediary firms when it comes to streamlining admin burdens and in meeting the ever-changing requirements of their clients.
The rise in prominence of specialist lending has also been all too evident as income scenarios have become more complex, the self-employed are being further marginalised and mainstream lenders are struggling (or unwilling) to adjust to new types of borrowing demands, especially those resulted from the impact of COVID-19.
Technology and the specialist lending market may not have been considered perfect bedfellows in the past, but we are now operating in different times.
Platforms, such as OMS, have been developed to generate simpler and smoother access to a range of alternative solutions, meaning advisers can dedicate their time to what really matters, providing the best advice and maintaining close relationships with their clients.
As we enter a new modern age which continues to break more ‘tech’ and ‘specialist’ lending boundaries, it’s time to focus on the future and not dwell on the inadequacies of the past.
And this is a journey which will only continue to generate opportunities for advisers who are embracing this important and ever-evolving combination.