Advisers offer a unique and valued skill set that is continuing to evolve.
The industry has come under significantly more pressure over the past few years, mainly from regulators keen to see increased transparency to help build and grow a market that meets the needs of more borrowers, but also from a more engaged and educated consumer base. Commercial tensions have also led to a more competitive marketplace.
Despite these pressures, there has never been a better time to be in the industry. There are more products to offer, an increasingly diverse borrower pool, accelerated innovation via tech, product and services solutions – and crucially more support from networks to help firms and individuals grow or specialise.
However, to truly thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace it is important that advisers realise their worth and can adapt to the changing needs of the borrower and of the market. At Primis, see a number of key themes for advisers this year.
First, it is important that advisers truly value themselves and their businesses. The role is just as important as other professional functions such as solicitors and accountants. Advisers often help clients with the most important aspects of their lives – and advising on the most expensive purchase they will ever make. It is something that, as an industry is easy to ignore and dismiss but it is a really important factor. Advisers are in a privileged and trusted role.
As we have seen, buying an insurance policy or a property is much more than a financial decision – it can be an emotional one, too. Advisers are increasingly having to help with the emotional side of obtaining a mortgage or other financial product, so it is important that businesses are tuned to this requirement and embrace the value they can add here. Clients definitely remember the human touch that advisers can provide, not only in terms of advice and guidance, but also with the support that borrowers need when making such a serious financial commitment.
One part of an adviser’s job that hasn’t changed over the years is the role of expert. What has evolved, however, is the sheer breadth and depth of customer solutions available, especially in areas such as specialist lending. It is much easier for advisers to specialise, such as on the growing self-employed worker or in the buy-to-let space. We believe in educating advisers to allow them to provide the best possible advice to their clients and as part of this continued commitment we host regular events to help members learn from others about what is working well and to discuss hot industry issues.
Technology is undoubtedly becoming a bigger part of these conversations, but while technology can help advisers navigate the market more easily, they still need to have an in-depth knowledge of the products available. It is important that technology is seen as an extension of adviser services, not a substitute. To help advisers best use the technology support, we host regular events enabling advisers to get under the hood of technology solutions and how advisers use the technology they have access to.
Today’s advisers are the most qualified that the industry has ever had. Our aim is to provide a greater quality of choice for everyone involved. We will continue to be a champion for the industry by recognising the importance of advisers and investing and supporting them as they develop and grow their businesses.
Vikki Jefferies is proposition director of the Primis Mortgage Network