Stonebridge Group is running a programme to help appointed representatives train new recruits as mortgage brokers, due to dwindling broker numbers.
The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries estimates the number of brokers has fallen from 30,000 at its peak before the financial crisis to around 10,000 now.
Stonebridge, a former tied agent of Legal & General, launched as a mortgage network in November. Its new initiative will provide financial support to ARs looking to recruit from outside the industry and put candidates through the QCF level three certificate in mortgage advice and practice.
Managing director Richard Adams says candidates must pay to do the first module of Cemap, UK financial regulation. Stonebridge will pay for the second and third modules, mortgages and an assessment of mortgage advice knowledge. Candidates must take the ifs School of Finance’s Cemap qualification which costs £135 per module.
The network will monitor each of the cases submitted by newly qualified brokers until it feels the broker is ready to advise without support.
Adams says: “We will look to support ARs financially in their training as well as supervise their programmes to make sure there is no risk to clients or the firm.”
He says networks are being forced to look outside the mortgage industry for new recruits. He says: “We have all got to think about training new entrants because the broker pot is getting smaller and the ability for any network to attract brokers away from another network is more difficult. You must either look to poach from a corporate or to bring somebody in from outside the industry. We are looking at ways in which we can train new people.”
Adams says Stonebridge plans to release its online platform, Revolution, to the market in the future, although a date has not been set. The software allows clients to access online information about their mortgage and protection cover.
Adams says: “We have always had this piece of IT that we kept solely for the use of Stonebridge ARs. The further we get out of this crisis, the more attention we will give to that in terms of making it available to the general market.”