Rob Clifford (pictured) is chief executive of Stonebridge
Understandably this is a concerning time for everyone – from a personal health point of view to the impact on businesses, we (once again) have that fear of the unknown about what the full effect of the coronavirus will be.
However in the mortgage market, although following the government guidelines have changed the way in which we currently work, with the right planning and preparation, they certainly won’t stop us working.
From our perspective, we continue to offer our AR firms access to all the products and support services they expect, plus ensure they are operating compliantly.
Just because our staff are currently not physically in the office, doesn’t mean they aren’t available to help and provide everything our advisers need.
Technology is clearly at the heart of this and never have I been so pleased and relieved that we own our Revolution trading platform and fully control its resilience and its development roadmap; this gives massive reassurance to all Stonebridge AR firms.
Activity in a number of mortgage sectors is certainly still possible and advisers are no doubt pursuing these areas of opportunity. With that in mind – and you’ll forgive me if this might seem like simple common business sense – here are a number of ways in which advisers might continue to produce income-generating activity:
- Make sure you inform your client base that you remain open for business and the various ways in which you can be contacted. People may have time on their hands to consider their finances and their needs.
- The introduction of mandatory mortgage payment holidays presents a further opportunity to make contact with clients. Three-month holidays might not be the only option available and it’s important clients talk to their lenders, secure an option and bring it to you.
- Contact every single client whose mortgage product is due to come to an end over the next six months. We’ve already seen that some lenders will not allow remortgaging or PTs during the three-month period of a mortgage payment holiday. Clients need to understand what this means and how it could be more expensive for them in the long run, if their only option is to move onto an SVR.
- Given that client’s needs and circumstances have already altered or may alter in the coming weeks, make them aware of all the services you offer not just the mortgage.
- Protection and other ancillary sales. If we, as an advisory community, cannot make the case for protection now, then we’ll never make it. Contact every single client and educate them about what protection cover is available and how you can help them.
There is of course plenty of other activity that you can undertake, particularly when it comes to originating new clients, but as always the strength of your business is likely to lie within your existing client database.
Let’s also not underestimate the value people will place upon still having access to your expertise.
Many people will be worried about their jobs, their incomes, and their ability to keep providing for their families in the months ahead – you can be the hub of the advice they receive, and you can also act as the conduit between the individual and the lender.
There is plenty to be done but, given your position as a trusted adviser, you have the opportunity to provide peace of mind and certainty, and to keep your businesses moving forward by maintaining activity levels.
We’ll be helping all our AR firms and advisers to achieve this, and we wish all stakeholders the very best in the challenging period ahead.