In a World of Growing Financial Choice is the Specialist King?
3 minute read
Our age is one which is characterised by unparalleled choice. Globalisation, increased freedom of movement and rapid technological advances mean there is a more diverse range of products and services available to consumers than ever before. The same can be said in the financial arena, where an increasingly innovative range of providers are filling the space once occupied almost entirely by the banks and building societies. The last few years have been particularly turbulent for the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses. Just as they were emerging from the 2008 global crisis, they have now been plunged back into uncertainty by the recent decision to leave the EU. This uncertainty, mixed with concerns about rising energy bills and commercial rents, and the new national living wage that has been introduced, means UK businesses have a distinct range of challenges to contend with. While the traditional lenders have cut back their lending amid such turbulence, the funding black hole they have left is being filled by a new breed of specialist lenders who are responding to the challenges today’s businesses face.
A new range of alternative finance options
Regardless of the economic challenges they face, SMEs will always try to expand and grow. Recent research conducted by eBay found two-thirds of the small businesses they surveyed are looking to expand over the next 12 months, and now they have the financial products in place to support them in this aim. There was a time when short-term sources of finance like bank loans and overdrafts were the only options available to businesses. However, as this type of finance has become increasingly difficult to access, it is bridging loans, asset-based lending and invoice finance that have stepped in to fill the gap. Now, businesses looking for a short-term injection of working capital can turn to these options to regulate their cash-flow and take advantage of opportunities as and when they come along.
The importance of specialist service
There’s also an increasing need for this innovative new range of products to be backed by more specialist advice. Some of the best performers in the industry are those that have built a tiered system of specialisation into their service. The result is a more consistent customer experience and a higher level of adviser productivity. In the case of mortgages, lead source specialisation could be one area where a specific skill set can reap rewards. This can be backed by advisers with specific skills in particular mortgage areas, such as new build, to deliver the expertise a client needs. For example, a highly competent adviser without specialist new build experience could jeopardise the relationship a firm has with a developer. Equally, if you’re looking for a “non-standard” product (like a contractor mortgage or a limited company buy-to-let), you’re better off finding someone who specialises here. The same can be said for client servicing. If advisers are busy with new lead sources, it’s essential there is someone in place who can maintain the client relationship and be the first point of contact. The client can then be passed to a specialist adviser when an opportunity to dispense advice is identified. At Just Mortgage Brokers, we have a specialist range of advisers with an intricate understanding of the increasingly innovative range of finance sources available. To discuss your options with a product specialist, please get in touch with our team of experts today.