Having children I know just how hard it can be to extract information when you need it. In sharp contrast, there are other times when they can’t help but to overshare. I’m sure we’re all a little guilty of either not sharing enough, not really listening when we should or not acting upon some nuggets of information we have gathered along the way.
Fortunately, I can also categorically say that I have never left top secret documents that included travel plans for a Royal Navy warship at a bus stop in Kent. For one, I don’t live in Kent and secondly, the only time I have laid my eyes on ‘Secret – UK Eyes Only’ was when watching a James Bond film. Imagine being the person that found such a file. My first reaction would be to look around to see if I was being pranked. My second would obviously be to uphold my public duty and inform the authorities. My third might be to sneak a quick peek. My fourth, well my fourth is classified.
Whilst not quite on the level of a 50-page Minister of Defence file which could easily spark a major international incident, mortgage advisers are privy to a raft of sensitive information. Gaining access to, and being able to correctly identify, the necessary financial data as early in the mortgage journey as possible not only forms a vital function but also saves times and potential complications further down the line. Having access to such an array of client information can also open up many conversations around their wider needs – with some easier to identify than others – although acting on these can prove to be a different matter.
A new survey from Paymentshield has revealed a ‘guilty gap’ among advisers, with 60% admitting to knowingly overlooking opportunities to sell GI despite 99% agreeing it’s best practice to do so. Advisers’ attitudes towards GI have remained practically unchanged from 2020, when 61% of advisers admitted to missing GI opportunities in Paymentshield’s annual survey. Similarly, over the last two years, a high proportion of advisers also declared that they “sometimes” or “often” struggle to engage clients in GI conversations (51% in 2020 vs 50% in 2021).
One noticeable difference year-on-year was in the number of advisers agreeing or strongly agreeing that their clients want advice on GI – up nearly 10% from 56% in 2020 to 65% in 2021. This concurs with a YouGov poll commissioned by Paymentshield at the beginning of 2021, in which 34% of 2,139 consumers said they would be happy for advisers to review their home insurance during a remortgage or product transfer, even though they may not expect them to.
As highlighted in the commentary around this research, it’s encouraging to see that practically all advisers recognise the value that GI conversations can add to both their clients’ lives and their own businesses. Unfortunately, the fact remains that this understanding doesn’t translate into action and all too many advisers continue to pass up on GI as a ‘resilient’ revenue stream. Of course, during such a busy period for the purchase market, mortgage advisers are under huge time pressures and don’t always have the resources or tech support to maximise ancillary business.
Thankfully, there are now solutions out there – such as Credit Assess – which can help intermediaries to gather and collate relevant information at the front-end of the advice process. Thus saving valuable time which provides the opportunity to explore areas such as GI and put them in a better position to navigate any potential market instability moving forward.
David Jones is director of Click2Check