View more on these topics

Sally Laker: What a difference a year makes


This time last year we were feeling more positive about the mortgage market but we were also somewhat hesitant to believe that any green shoots we saw would turn into a successive period of market growth. What a difference a year makes.

We recently held the eighth Mortgage Intelligence annual conference
and awards, which was attended by 200 people from the industry’s top banks, building societies, insurance providers and brokers. Our top-performing mortgage brokers showed their enthusiasm for the levels of business they are writing and they are very much looking ahead to the future.

One of the key topics at the conference was the launch of Help to Buy phase 2 and the rates lenders would introduce. Fortunately, Lloyds Banking Group was ready with its rates and the feedback brokers gave was extremely positive. Despite media reports of house price bubbles, brokers’ feelings towards Help to Buy 2 are one of relief.

The industry now has a real mechanism for helping those first-time buyers and home movers with a small deposit get on or move up the housing ladder, and this is encouraging for the housing market as a whole.

At the conference, lenders spoke about seeing genuine interest in the planning for the rest of the year and into 2014 but the MMR is a particular concern. A presentation by Nigel Stockton of Countrywide covered the timeline for the MMR and his view was that lenders and brokers need to recruit now if they are to be ready for the increased business expected in 2014. He concluded his presentation with a cautionary note of a possible slowdown in Q2 2014 when the MMR kicks in as all lenders will be relying on their IT systems delivering a perfect solution.

However, Q3 and Q4 2014 should provide an opportunity to catch up on any missed volumes in Q2. Some industry experts are predicting mortgage volumes will be about £190bn in 2014.

Another topic on everyone’s lips at the conference was protection. Brokers admitted they need to manage their time better to improve the volume of not only protection sales but general insurance too. Brokers know this delivers increased income and a better relationship with their clients as well as the knowledge that their client has the right level of protection. This was the first time we have seen such a buzz around protection and much excitement about brokers’ protection plans.

No one at the conference disagreed that quality is here to stay. Brokers agreed that they need to provide quality business to lenders but they feel individual lenders need to clarify what they are looking for. This formed part of a discussion about what lenders are focusing on and how brokers can assist, as brokers appear concerned about the time this now adds to every mortgage application.

Overall, the atmosphere at the confer-ence was full of promise, positivity and very high expectations for H2B 2. We are looking to buck the trend in 2014 and not desert protection sales but increase them alongside general insurance sales.

Sally Laker is managing director of Mortgage Intelligence Holdings 



£31bn of pension money in ‘dog’ funds

The Bestinvest Spot the Dog Pension Edition report has identified 113 “serial underachiever” funds, which hold a total £31bn of pension money. Focusing on funds with over £2.5m in assets, the funds’ ability to beat their benchmark was examined over three consecutive 12-month periods. Phoenix and Friends Life were among the two pension fund providers with […]


IFA suspends pension switching service over FCA concerns

IFA Douglas Baillie has suspended its pension switching business The Pension Specialist after the Financial Conduct Authority raised concerns about compliance.  The Pension Specialist is an appointed representative of Douglas Baillie; its website,, has been taken offline.   The Pension Specialist managing director Douglas Baillie says the FCA pointed out that the firm should be asking […]


Should MPs be forced to pass exams before running for election?

Former cabinet secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell says Parliamentary candidates should be forced to meet “pre-qualification criteria” before being allowed to stand for election. The BBC reports the former civil servant’s view that Parliament would be more effective if candidates were vetted by ex-ministers, accountants and ex-civil servants. Lord O’Donnell said the lack of qualifications for […]


Succession boss says follow Karl Marx to be truly independent

Succession Group chief executive Simon Chamberlain has told advisers they need to follow the advice of communist revolutionary Karl Marx by “controlling the entire means of production” and taking back custody of client assets. Speaking at the Money Marketing Business Model Update event in London last week, Chamberlain argued the vertical integration model is key to […]

‘How to…audit your auto-enrolment scheme compliance’

Avoid pension penalties with our auto-enrolment checklist

According to the Pensions Regulator’s annual commentary and analysis report released this month, 785 potential non-compliance cases were referred for investigation, with 23 auto-enrolment compliance notices issued. And they predict that the use of their statutory powers is only going to increase.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm