Most commentators agree that the Mortgage Market Review – once lenders are over their initial teething problems – presents the intermediary sector with a wonderful opportunity to increase business levels and put themselves at the heart of the mortgage advice process. Indeed, given the nature of intermediated advice this could be something of a watershed moment for advisers as it gives them the perfect chance to market their services to those who might normally go direct or simply walk into their local high-street branch.

The nature of the advice process has of course changed for banks and building societies – non-advised sales have been jettisoned, all staff have to be appropriately trained and qualified and, given their responsibility for affordability, more detailed questions must be asked of all prospective borrowers. This leaves those who might normally go direct with large waiting times to see an in-branch adviser and, once they get to this part, significantly longer interviews and much longer processing times in order to get through an application.

This is not the case for intermediaries who, for the most part, have been securing this type of information from borrowers for a number of years and have their interview process down pat. Added to this benefit is of course the technology that advisers have access to – for instance, with our system, Revolution, advisers can give clients access to their own factfind allowing them to complete much of the detail needed and greatly shortening the length of the initial interview. Given that branch-based and direct operations are currently interviewing borrowers over a two to three-hour period, this is a great USP for advisers as they attempt to secure this client base.

The other major benefit of such a quality system is its ability to allow advisory firms to demonstrate they are not just complying with the new rules but also running a 360-degree compliant business. As stated above, data capture is a key part of this and an intelligent system will help advisers ensure they can submit ‘clean’ cases to lenders in order to meet the new requirements re: affordability/income proof, etc, that come with the MMR.

At the end of the day there are some key areas which such a system should be able to deliver in order to fully support the mortgage advice process for intermediaries. These include ensuring they deliver a permanent record of the client interaction which can be relied upon in the event of a complaint, offering a case-tracking option for clients allowing them to track their own mortgage application online, and even a system for introducers which allows them to view their own leads on the system and track their progress.  

A quality system will provide this and much more. In this day and age, we want to utilise technology that is not just functional and saves time but also supports the adviser in their day-to-dealings with client/lender/introducer. It should also be a free-functioning business generation tool that marks the intermediary out from his or her competitors and draws in business because of its efficiencies and key features. Finally, it should ensure total compliance and be able to move with the regulatory times because, as we all know, new regulation and rules are always around the corner. Intermediaries who opt for these types of systems will certainly be at the forefront of this brave new mortgage advice world and will undoubtedly be reaping the benefits that MMR so clearly brings to our community.