Stonebridge Group, the mortgage and insurance network, has published quarterly figures for the first three months of the year showing growth in both applications and completions across all of its three core product areas – mortgages, life and general insurance.
Figures for January to March 2019, compared to the first three months of 2018, showed growth including:
- Mortgage completions were valued at over £1.6 billion, with case numbers up 8% on the first quarter of 2018, while mortgage applications placed through the business were valued at just short of £2.5 billion, up 9% year-on-year.
- Total life business volumes from appointed representative (AR) firms also increased life application commissions by 11% and life completion commissions were up by 24%. Stonebridge puts the increase in life sales down to its proposition, driven by its Revolution POS system, and adviser focus on the protection market to serve the needs of clients.
- Finally, the network’s general insurance business levels improved throughout the first quarter of 2019, being up 19% on the first three months of 2018.
Stonebridge also revealed it had added 53 advisers to the Group during the course of the last year. The network now has 606 active advisers, spread across 293 AR partner firms – a year-on-year increase of 10% on the 553 advisers at the end of March 2018.
During the first quarter of the year, Stonebridge also opened a secondary office at its Lords Court premises, doubling its floor space and creating new break-out and social areas for its growing staff numbers.
Jo Carrasco, business partnerships director at Stonebridge Group, said: “It’s very pleasing to be able to announce a strong set of figures for the first quarter of 2019, especially given that all our key product areas showed an increase in business compared to the same period last year. Clearly as we add more advisers and firms to the network we would anticipate an increase in business volumes but it’s also encouraging to see our penetration rates, specifically in the protection market continue to get even stronger.
“The uncertainty that many consumers are currently feeling about the economy, especially given the ongoing Brexit situation, remains a worry and we have urged our advisers to ensure that all protection options are covered off during their client interactions. This is one of the reasons that we’ve seen a strong rise in protection/life business and we will continue to put a significant focus on this in terms of the product options available to our advisers for the benefit of their clients.
“Only a courageous pundit would predict how the rest of the year might pan out but, we are confident that, if we can get political certainty, this will translate into a far more stable UK economy in which people feel more confident about making those big financial decisions, such as purchasing property. In the meantime, advisers should be doing all they can to support their clients and ensure they are in the best financial shape possible. We are certainly making sure that our firms have all they need to make the most of the opportunities available.”