JLM Mortgage Services has become the first mortgage network to launch the first stage of its robo mortgage advice proposition.
The Virtual Adviser service has been designed to provide JLM advisers with a ‘robo proposition’ that can be marketed to their existing clients and those potential new customers who are seeking to engage initially with an online ‘adviser’.
JLM plans to recruit more advisers in order to service the increase in anticipated business generated by Virtual Adviser.
Virtual Adviser provides clients seeking residential or buy-to-let mortgage advice with control, allowing them to research the range of potential mortgage options available to them without the need to register any initial details.
At first, Virtual Adviser takes the client through some initial steps regarding their needs and works through the responses to provide some indicative product details that the client might be eligible for.
The client is provided with these product details for illustrative purposes and no advice is delivered at this stage. Users can have a mortgage illustration in their inbox in five minutes by completing the simple, three-stage process that filters down to more specific details to refine the product list.
At the end of this part of the process, the client can then either choose to stay online with the Virtual Adviser, providing further details in order to secure a more specific quotation, or they can choose to speak to a JLM adviser directly.
Providing more information to the Virtual Adviser, for example, income and outgoing financial information allows it to provide a more tailored and specific range of product options for the client, plus it enables the system to collate all the information necessary to provide a mortgage illustration. Again, the client can choose to continue this process online or speak directly to a JLM adviser.
JLM also offer a ‘Live Chat’ facility via its website, which allows customers to ‘chat’ directly to an adviser online in order to take them through their mortgage enquiry.
Rory Joseph (pictured, right), director of JLM Mortgage Services, added: “We believe the launch of Virtual Adviser is a first in the mortgage network market and sets the bar incredibly high for robo advice propositions. The team at JLM have been working on this launch for some time as part of enhancing our customer-facing proposition, and it’s thrilling to be able to present this to market.
“For all the talk of the ‘robo advice’ threat to advisers, we’re of the opinion that we as an industry need to embrace the technology and that, done correctly, it actually provides a major opportunity for established firms, not just the online technology firms who see the opportunity in our sector but have little mortgage advice experience. For us, Virtual Adviser is another string to the bow in providing an all-encompassing service to customers; this is not about replacing advisers, far from it, it’s about helping advisers access clients in a variety of ways.
“It’s very important that we recognise the varying ways clients want to engage with their advice needs and to provide them with the tools to begin arranging their mortgage at a time which suits them, not just when it’s convenient for us as the adviser. That being the case, we’ve developed Virtual Adviser as a simple, easy to use proposition that allows customers to begin the mortgage process on their terms at their own convenience, be that simply comparing initial mortgage product details or producing a full mortgage illustration.”
Sebastian Murphy (pictured, left), head of mortgage finance at JLM Mortgage Services, added: “We believe established advisers have a competitive advantage in terms of their experience and their understanding of client’s often complex wants and needs. However, thinking of our own ‘purchasing’ experience, we know that the convenience of (at the very least) starting the process online can be very appealing to large numbers of clients.
“We do tend to think that, with a financial commitment as big as a mortgage, most clients will not want to go through the whole process online and they’ll want to speak to a real person in order to have full confidence in what they’re signing up to. But, that doesn’t mean they won’t want to engage online, provide some of the information we require and receive an initial idea of what is available to them.
“Virtual Adviser provides this service and we see it as an additional, and increasingly important, part of our overall adviser toolkit – one that is only likely to grow in demand in the months and years ahead and which we feel is now a non-negotiable when it comes to delivering a complete client package. This launch is not the end of our work in this area; JLM will be enhancing the system and will continue to develop the proposition to ensure it is fit for purpose and can work for both our advisers and their customers.”