Stonebridge Group has reported a rise in business volumes in its core mortgage, life/protection and general insurance activities.
Mortgage completions were £5.7 billion for the year, up 34% on the £4.233 billion placed in 2016; mortgage applications placed through the business numbered 45,000 valued at £7.4 billion, up 30% on the previous year.
Total life business volumes from both appointed representative (AR) and directly authorised (DA) firms also rose strongly with £22.9 million of life commissions. AR life insurance applications were up 25% on the previous 12-month period.
Finally, just over £915,000 of general insurance business was completed in 2017, up 25% on the £731,000 placed through Stonebridge in 2016.
Stonebridge saw an overall increase in adviser numbers of 5% during 2017 and attributed its continued growth down to a considerable improvement in productivity across both its AR firms and directly authorised (DA) members.
The network has 550 active advisers, spread across 250 AR partner firms. There are over 200 advisers using Stonebridge’s proposition for DA firms, Stonebridge Genus.
Richard Adams, managing director of Stonebridge Group and Stonebridge Genus, said: “2017 was another very pleasing year for the Stonebridge Group particular in terms of the increase in productivity from advisers and firms, which has resulted in such sizeable increase in applications and completions across our core three product areas. Our adviser numbers again increased – this time by 5% – with most of our new members joining existing Stonebridge AR firms which shows the quality of their propositions, their own growth and their attraction to advisers wanting to make their mark in this sector.
“We believe the ‘numbers’ we’re announcing today are pretty unique in today’s marketplace and are a true reflection of Stonebridge’s position as one of, if not the, premier mortgage and protection network in the country. Our aim in the months and years ahead is to continue to provide our partner firms and advisers with a range of business opportunities, plus – as I outlined at this year’s conference – to ensure they can utilise the technology available to engage with clients in all the ways they wish to engage with advisers.
“Customer habits are changing and it’s therefore vital that firms develop a fully integrated tech ‘habit’ in order to deliver the required advice and to enhance their propositions. We will be announcing a series of enhancements and integrations to our own Revolution system during 2018 in order to help advisers make the most of the client portal, to benefit from client data feeding straight into broker’s systems, and to deal with any potential ‘threat’ from the growing number of ‘robo advice’ propositions, even if though they are ‘robo’ in name only given they need plenty of human intervention to deal with customers.
“2017 was another significant step forward for the entire group and we have plenty of plans to develop our offering, and that of our member firms, to ensure we (and they) continue to lead the way and are fully prepared for everything the market can throw at them.”