Whether running a directly authorised or appointed representative network, trading conditions have been far from easy. Competition in this area is also very stiff and for those looking to make a good fist of their network operations in the coming months and years, having a clearly defined strategy is imperative.
Not all networks have been expressly set up to run as independent and profitable entities and it will be interesting to see how well those that were established on the basis of generating volume for their parent companies or to create a business that could be sold on in the future, do as the trading environment continues to tighten.
There seems little doubt that we will see consolidation in this sector and there have already been a number of moves involving firms like PMP and Classic. Certainly amalgamation is one way of trying to stave off the problems created by falling volumes in the current environment. However it is equally important that these networks have a firm financial footing on which to build. There is no point in trying to develop a successful business on foundations which will not bear the load in future years or cope with some of the difficult times that lie ahead.
Certainly for intermediaries, the main consideration in assessing a network must be its potential longevity. They must be certain the network they choose to do business with is going to be in it for the long term and that they can wholeheartedly rely on the services and support that they use on a daily basis to run their business.
Networks are an integral part of the mortgage landscape, but they will only remain so if they are set up to operate as businesses that can stand alone and weather changing climates. Many commentators have suggested the tougher times we are enduring at the moment will lead to a fitter, leaner network sector as we move into 2008. While it may mean there are problems for some to endure, it should ensure a better future for intermediaries and their clients. Certainly Mortgage Intelligence is excited about the challenges ahead and has worked hard to put itself in a position to deliver the best for its intermediaries.
Sally Laker is managing director at Mortgage Intelligence.
The views expressed in this blog are the individual's own and not necessarily those of the company she represents.
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