‘O ye'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road, An' I'll be in Scotland afore ye'…unless I'm flying Easyjet and then I'll be in Scotland sometime within the next month or so, depending on the delays.
Yes, two weeks ago I was in Glasgow for the Financial Services Scotland exhibition show at the SECC – this was another stop on my ‘farewell AMI tour’ around the country. T-shirts will soon be available. Hundreds, if not thousands, of mortgage intermediaries turned up to see me off, or as some wag put it, to make sure I was leaving. I am, by the way.
Actually, they might well have been turning up to the show itself although if you came to the AMI stand you would have had the added extra of yours truly handing out the factsheets and dispensing ‘pearls of wisdom’.
I must say that our stand was particularly busy over the day and if I wasn’t a dab hand at explaining the benefits of AMI membership before, I was after the day had finished. It is also surprising at just how many brokers have completed AMI application forms on the desk, just waiting to be sent off. I look forward to the rush of applications we should be receiving any day now from our friends in the North.
While many came to the stand interested in AMI membership and our offering in general, others came seeking advice or in some cases a bit of healthy debate.
One gentleman was particularly vexed by the whole issue of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) and wanted some straight answers to some not-so straight questions. I was pleased to pass the test though. After I’d answered one question I was told: “That was the perfect answer.” Now, if I could just remember the question, I’d be on to a winner.
Our final group of stand visitors were the serial freebie-grabbers, taking handfuls of AMI pens to give to ‘colleagues, children, strangers’. The pen was never for themselves you understand. What was even more worrying was the large numbers who had difficulty opening the pen – Krypton Factor it ain’t. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Of course, we didn’t just have the AMI and AIFA stands, we also held three seminar sessions where our speakers tackled the major issues of the housing and mortgage market. Our Director-General Chris Cummings led the debate at each one and did a particularly good job plugging not only AMI membership at each one but also the range of factsheets we had available.
We didn’t just end it there either. Oh no, not for us the first available flight back to London after the show. Instead, we had a Regional Director’s Dinner in the hotel next to the SECC for both AMI and AIFA members which gives us a chance to let members know what the key issues are and how we’re tackling them, and gives members a chance to network with their local colleagues and get a four-course dinner thrown in as well.
Chris’s speech was the usual mix of self-deprecation and irony which led one AIFA member to recount that in 30 years of being an IFA he hadn’t heard a more sceptical speech, especially on the topic that most concerns us, regulation.
The point we try to make to our regulators is the need for a level-playing field. In so many areas it seems particularly easy to ‘hit’ the intermediary sector rather than deal with some of the bigger players in the market. We simply ask that the whole industry is treated in the same manner.
Anyway, before we knew it, the day and our Scottish sojourn was over. A very weary bunch made their way back to London the next day.
AMI goes mad in Glasgow? Not really, we’re just focused on getting even.
Rob Griffiths is associate director at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI).
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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