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John Cupis: New blood is needed to boost mortgage market

We have enjoyed a bright start to 2013. The mortgage market has kicked off strongly on the back of the Funding for Lending scheme and we are currently seeing some of the lowest mortgage rates in decades. We may even see some real sunshine soon as spring approaches.

With many lenders talking up their ambitions in 2013 we can put the woes of the Eurozone to one side for a moment and start to concentrate on building a solid mortgage market for the UK, fit for UK consumers.

One of the biggest issues facing advisery firms in the wake of this upturn in business is where the advisers themselves will come from.

I know that many mortgage business owners took drastic action in the wake of the crisis in 2007 and cut staff numbers and other costs just to survive. The supply of good quality advisers has subsequently reduced in the last five years due to the slower mortgage market.

Now, however, many firms are growing strongly, meaning a large question-mark hangs over how to recruit advisers and keep up with increased consumer demand for mortgage advice.

The main hurdle is that there are relatively few entry routes into financial services for up-and-coming talent. If we want to strengthen this industry then nurturing new recruits is vital. It has been incredibly refreshing to see the Financial Adviser School take hold of this issue and not only train students up to adviser status, but also provide a mentoring programme to ensure that these new entrants can take advantage of the experience and knowledge of those already established in the industry.

Recent statistics from the FAS show that we are experiencing a shift in the types of adviser. 55 per cent of students currently enrolled at the school are in their twenties and only half of the students were linked to financial services prior to joining the training programme.

What we are seeing is a new breed of adviser, eager to reap the rewards of recent industry developments, with a focused, entrepreneurial attitude, ideally placed to fill this advice gap and continue to grow the market.

The mortgage market review will mean mortgage sales will be predominantly conducted with human interaction via professional, well qualified mortgage advisers – both in the intermediary and bank channels.

The truth of the matter is that if we do not invest in new talent and properly address the growing demand for mortgage advice, all our good work could go to waste.

John Cupis is managing director of mortgages at Sesame Bankhall Group


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