The rise of self-employed brokers
By John Philips (pictured), group operations director, Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart
More and more brokers are looking to go self-employed following increasing pressure from corporate employers.
Following the financial crisis in 2008, promoting a career in financial services became much more difficult. The future was uncertain, brokers and lenders had a tainted reputation and as a result, many people who may have become brokers in the past chose other careers instead.
But in the years that have followed, thanks to the recovery of the market and the changes around advice, including the Mortgage Market Review five years ago, mortgage brokers are becoming increasingly more important.
Recent figures suggest brokers now have more than 80% of the market share while lenders are starting to acknowledge the critical role brokers play, by way of proc fees and customer retention strategies.
But, as house prices drop and uncertainty remains around Brexit, new mortgage approvals are starting to slow, especially in the house mover market, making business tough again for many brokers.
Due to the competitive nature of the market, those that succeed need to be confident, friendly and most importantly, customer focused.
We are finding that many of these ‘good’ brokers are out there, but not able to do their jobs properly because the corporates they work for are piling on the pressure.
They are being micro-managed to ensure they are bringing in as many cases as possible, rather than being give the time they need to focus on their clients to ensure they have done a really good job.
Unfortunately for the sector, many of these brokers are leaving altogether to escape the hugely pressurised environment they are working under. But luckily for us, many are choosing to go self-employed through our self-employed division.
Like so many other sectors, financial services is becoming increasingly attractive to those who want to work for themselves.
We have found that people are prepared to put in the hard work, but on their own terms. They want to be able to build up meaningful relationships with clients, not just sort their mortgage and forget all about them.
And in a world where work/life balance is becoming increasingly important, brokers also want a job that fits around their lives.
Our self-employed division offers a model that allows brokers to work for themselves, but be part of a wider network of support and it is proving very popular.
We launched two years ago with three brokers; by April this year we were at 100 and by the end of the year, we will have 175 with further growth expected as more and more brokers see the benefits of working for themselves.