A leading business strategist has warned mortgage brokers to take a holistic approach to their business or risk losing their clients to “more advanced systems”.
Cocalex Consulting’s John J Maxwell says the time has come for all financial services intermediaries to have a broader understanding of their clients’ needs.
“It’s time for the blinkers to come off. Much like a doctor of medicine, a mortgage broker now must diagnose the clients’ broader financial situation across all allied platforms and professions, and subscribe solutions by referring them to the appropriate professional colleague either internally or externally,” Mr Maxwell wrote in an op-ed for The Adviser.
“If you don’t, you are greatly at risk of losing your clients to more advanced systems who are covering all allied professional services.”
Mr Maxwell – who has more than 15 years’ experience in the financial services sector and has owned and managed nine mortgage franchises – believes it is critical for mortgage professionals to develop and adopt a holistic approach to broking.
“We hear these terms bandied around all the time… such as ‘one stop shop’ and ‘adviser hub’, especially with the emergence of mortgage aggregators and dealer groups,” he said.
“I’m in full support of this but I feel that many are maybe confused, afraid or even annoyed by this conversation. It’s definitely not a new topic but I think the interpretation varies considerably. Whatever the case, the result is that I have seen very slow adoption of the holistic approach, and much of it would feel like it has been almost forced upon us with the changing legislation and compliance requirements we’ve gone through and will continue to go through for some time yet.”
Mr Maxwell argued that financial services intermediaries are moving towards stronger compliance, stronger regulations and greater technology. As a result, he believes professional services are no longer “separated and independent”.
“The quicker we embrace the changing environment, the less painful it will be and the likelihood is we’ll all benefit greatly – you, me and our clients.”
As the founder and senior finance and business strategist at Cocalex, Mr Maxwell said he has seen “a strong resistance” from financial planners, mortgage brokers, accountants and property experts to partner and work in unison.
“I work by the premise that overall, no one owns the clients. Whist we’re fighting over ownership and permissions, all too often the client has vanished. They’ve been picked up by another adviser who understands and embraces a holistic approach and is not fearful of, but embraces the essence of partnership,” he said.
“These advisers surround themselves with other like-minded professionals that complement, value add and fill a void within the advice, technology or information sectors.”
The more formalised these agreements the better, he concluded.
[Related: ING Direct to drive convergence of broking and planning]
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.