Mortgage Strategy Leaders Forum: State of play

Please allow us to extend a big thank you to everybody who helped make the Mortgage Strategy Leaders Forum such a success this October, which of course includes our sponsors: Aldermore, Mogoplus, MT Finance, One Mortgage System, OneSavings Bank and Pepper Money.
As you can hopefully see from the pictures on page 30, those who attended were treated to first-rate insight and lively opinions on the state of the mortgage sector today and how it may look in the future.
Several themes were discussed during the day: regulation; the buy-to-let market; technology; complex clients; and the blood-and-flesh future of the sector.
Regarding regulation, there was agreement from our speakers that the FCA’s insistence on making price a focus was wrong; that overall the watchdog was “driving the wrong issues in the wrong place”; and that the mortgage industry had not in fact been consulted on a lot of regulatory issues that were being pushed.
The consensus for BTL was that, while the current market is stagnant due to a lack of available stock, the apparent end of this stage of Brexit bickering – plus the near-2,000 BTL products available – points to an improvement in future. The prime end of the market was also touched upon, with insight as to how currency movements have affected buyers.
Technology is always a big subject, and the message arrived at by the panel was uncomfortable but essential – that robo-advisers and aggregators are not going anywhere and that brokers need to prepare themselves. Just look at what aggregators did to the travel agency industry, the panel said. A robust defence for face-to-face advice was also mounted, with the panel making the very good point that a broker assumes liability for the transactions made through them, something not present when a sale is made directly through a software platform by the customer.
Meanwhile, in the ever-expanding world of complex clients, our panel were adamant that none of the big six lenders would be moving into this territory.
“If they were going to do so, it would have happened a decade ago,” was one memorable quote. When quizzed on what they would like to see happen in the market regarding product and/or criteria changes, a way of using the wealth “locked away” in large family homes to help the first-time buyer market was one answer, while another – the earnest wish for a return to “true” 100 per cent LTV lending – led to extremely polite uproar in certain sections of the audience.
In a last flourish, a specially selected panel talked about the future of the industry in a very material sense – namely the lack of people coming in to the industry and how this problem could be solved. Alongside the observation that the CeMap in its current form is “hard and dry” and ripe for reform, the panel – acknowledging that almost nobody leaves school with the ambition of becoming a mortgage broker (or even knowing that the job exists) – stressed the importance of showing young people that they can make a good living out of broking. The conclusion was that, once interest is piqued, apprenticeships and vocational courses must be the way forward.
As usual the food was excellent, the networking productive and the goals for the day very much satisfied. We hope to see everyone again – plus new faces – next year.
Photos and comments from the day
There was agreement that the FCA’s insistence on focusing on price was wrong

Robo-advisers and aggregators are not going anywhere

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