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Mortgage world goes Darwinian

This month would have been the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, who first coined the theory of natural selection. Two centuries on, could we be seeing Darwin’s theory evolving before our eyes in the mortgage world?

Right now it seems that only the biggest and strongest are surviving, and the weakest are failing.

The biggest banks have even more sway in what mortgages are created, for whom and how they will be distributed. In turn, the largest networks, clubs and DAs are controlling the market. Or are they?

Darwin theorised that in nature, the most adaptable prevail and the inflexible fall. All species change through history to adapt and thrive the best they can to changing circumstances and environments, from the enormous blue whale to the tiny plankton it eats.

He said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

And the mortgage world is changing. No more can advisers call the shots, it is the Government and their indebted lenders who are controlling the market. It is they who decide, either explicitly or overtly, what products are released and who can afford them. It is they who decide where the mortgages are sold and who sells them and how they sell them.

But it is not about size – the UK’s largest lenders will have the direst end of year results, some of the UK’s largest networks are on the brink of collapse and some of the UK’s largest brokerages are reported to be in the mire.

So, as Darwin tells us, it is those who can adapt to demands and changes who will thrive, not necessarily the biggest. It is the adviser, whether he or she is DA or AR, who need to find ways to make money when mortgages are limited and they have to find the best mortgage possible in a shrunken market.

It might sound glib to say this, but the ability to adapt is key to existence. If an adviser wants to survive in a changing world, as Darwin taught us, adaptation is the only way.

That might mean trying alternative marketing techniques, looking for alternative clients or even expanding into other sectors and revenue streams.

Also, it might mean working together, as a professional sector. As Darwin taught us: “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”.

Email Lee Jones at


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