The more I look at the Iress acquisition of Avelo, the more I think this deal makes a lot of sense for all involved.
It is easy to think of Avelo as primarily a supplier of software to the investment and protection markets but in reality the business had acquired a number of mortgage software suppliers in recent years which now gives Iress considerable potential for growth in this area, both in the UK and internationally.
The recent announcement that Nationwide has embraced its mortgage sales and origination platform shows the ability of the organisation to support multi-channel mortgage distribution and in the adviser market the Trigold business Avelo acquired last year offers an increasingly powerful range of tools to advisers.
The various offerings from Trigold are themselves increasingly evolving into multi-channel distribution tools for advisers. As well as the sourcing engine, the company has created its Microsoft.net-based Momentum client management platform.
With increasing numbers of mortgage advisers now having telemarketing departments that pre-qualify leads, Momentum provides multiple layers of hierarchy to enable such businesses to give their telemarketers access to basic mortgage research tools and prospecting/opportunity management functionality allowing them to pre-qualify leads taking basic client information.
These can then be passed on to more qualified advisers, via the system in order to carry out the full advice process. All these actions take place within Momentum and therefore reduce the need for re-keying.
The system allows different users to fully configure their homepage and bespoke what information is provided on their individual home screen. This can include client searches, prospects, their diary and a wide range of other content as well as quick links to their most commonly used URLs. An iPhone app that allows users to do basic mortgage product research out of the office, known as Trigold Mobile, can also pre-populate Momentum with any research carried out.
One of the most recent enhancements to both the Momentum and Trigold systems has been functionality to support buy-to-let sourcing functionality. This has been developed as an extension of the current residential mortgage sourcing functionality.
While Trigold can support this on a stand-alone basis, client information can be pre-populated where the adviser also uses Momentum. The sourcing system enables accurate filtering of complex buy-to-let landlord requirements and their existing arrangements based on a number of criteria, including, how much the applicant wants to borrow and the loan to value. The applicant section captures detailed information about the applicant’s salary and other income, their employment and crucially whether they are an existing landlord. This is important, given some lenders will offer different rates for new landlords as they can be seen as higher risk.
Property details are input with a range of different information which may influence the terms available including the property type (that is, flat, house, maisonette, etc) type and age of construction, how long the property has been owned, the number of bedrooms and kitchens as well as if it includes bedsit accommodation, if it is a new build or ex-local authority and whether refurbishment is required. Details of the applicant’s wider property portfolio can also be provided, with details of the client’s other properties, their remaining mortgage and approximate value.
Having used the system to create an overview of the client’s total property portfolio, it helps the broker filter out mortgage providers that may not lend to someone who has existing mortgages over a certain threshold or mortgage providers that will only allow clients to have a certain amount of mortgages with them. Details of the tenants can also be provided, allowing the user to input the type of tenants the client has or is looking to have and again filters out lenders that do not offer mortgages or different rates for these types of tenants.
The mortgage table is updated each time one of the above filters is added. Once the broker is happy they have input all the relevant details, they can select from the list of available mortgages that can be ordered by either the initial rate, type of mortgage (fixed, variable, etc), initial payment due, overall rate throughout the term of the mortgage, the fees applicable or total amount to pay.
The table generated can then be used to select and view details of the product, all of which will be saved to the client within Momentum.
In another welcome development, the company can now offer the functionality to enable mortgage brokers to place a basic version of the mortgage sourcing functionality within their own website. In doing so, clients can use the initial online service, then ask for help from an adviser. At this point, the system will pass their information and details of the searches they have carried out into Momentum to be picked up by a broker or telemarketing staff.
This sort of multi-channel integration offers an excellent way for advisers to grow their digital presence while providing personal advice.
Ian McKenna is director of the Finance & Technology Research Centre