We’ve been shortlisted!

There are plenty of exciting events going on at Mortgage Brain as we head towards the end of 2017 and the beginning of a new year, and we’ll be hoping to end it on a high and with another trophy in our cabinet.

We will be heading to the UK IT Awards this Wednesday 15th November as a finalist at their 2017 awards, under our nomination for the ‘Best Use of Cloud Based Services’ awards, sponsored by Amazon Web Services.

Our nomination comes due to our partnership with NaviSite, one of our cloud service providers. We have worked with NaviSite since 2014, and have since used its secure NaviCloud IaaS platform to both host and develop our customer product suite.

The annual UK IT Industry Awards are the benchmark for innovation and outstanding performance throughout the UK IT industry, and two areas that we pride ourselves on here at Mortgage Brain.

To us, product investment and enhancement are of paramount importance. As our CEO Mark Lofthouse noted in his most recent article, “The technology market is a particularly competitive one and the longevity and survival of many tech companies is down, quite simply, to their approach to product investment and development.”

We are always working towards constant development and providing regular enhancements to our systems, which is why we are honoured to be nominated for Wednesday’s awards alongside other huge names such as BHS, Vue Cinemas, The Home Office and the National Grid.

We are all thrilled with how much we have achieved together, and Mark echoed our thoughts upon the announcement of our award nomination:

“To receive the recognition for our work from the UK IT Industry Awards – especially when placed alongside the likes of The Home Office, BHS and the National Grid – speaks volumes for our approach, innovation and capabilities to help us deliver a flexible, resilient and secure cloud-based solution for advisers, IFAs and the next generation of house buyer.”

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter @Mortgage_Brain to see how we get on!

Open All Hours – top tips for Advisers on how to win more clients (without working harder)

Whilst we all know that success comes from hard work (and perhaps a bit of luck) we also know that working smarter is often key too. However, despite this ‘always-on’ digital world that we now live in, it can often seem impossible to switch off without losing an opportunity.  So what if your business could carry on working hard for you, even when you have signed off for the day? With research showing that 85% of shoppers research online before buying* it is imperative that you are ‘open all hours’ for business to win new clients.  Online at least.

Here are our top tips on how to gain more customers, even when you are officially ‘Out of Office’.

Work smarter, not harder

Consumers today look to investigate and research when looking to make any purchase and it is no different with mortgages. With increasingly busy lives, they will typically do their research at a time to suit them – so to capture their interest, you need to ensure your website and your social channels are working even when you aren’t.

By adding interactive information and research tools such as a Mortgage Search plug-in or a Best Buy Table onto your website, users at least have an option to submit an enquiry to you, rather than simply be an uninspired visitor.

Your social channels are also live 24/7 so ensure that they carry on working for you after hours. Take the time to add content that is relevant, current and recent – there are tools, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, to help you schedule social media posts that can be published at times when your potential clients are more likely to be active (and you have switched off for the evening).

 

Get recommended

An influencer engagement survey found that over 90% of consumer’s trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing, and 70% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.

Provide an excellent and honest service that brings results for your clients, and they are far more likely to recommend you to family and friends.

Why not take the plunge and ask your clients to provide written recommendations that you can add to the content on your website or post on social media. These short recommendations will continue to work for you for many months to come and speak volumes about you and your services.

 

Achieve 5-star reviews

As well as recommendations, you could also ask clients to review your services – the trick is to make the process simple and easy to do so. You could send them a follow-up email thanking them for their business and at the same time ask them to provide a review? There are several ways of doing this:

  1. Reviews given on your Google Listing not only appear on your Google Business Page (easy to set up if you don’t have one) but they also appear against your business record in Google searches:

Ask for reviews on your Facebook page if you have one. Look at this recent search for ‘mortgage adviser’ – which one would you select? A customer will probably consider locality and take note of the star rating and may potentially make a choice based on the highest ratings and/or number of reviews.

  1. On receipt of unprompted feedback or thanks from a client, ask if you can publish what they have written. Most people are delighted to see their name and words ‘in print’.

facebook reviews

Prove your brilliance

As good as customer reviews, testimonials and recommendations can be, many potential clients will also be interested in what you have done for other people in similar situations. Including case studies on your website can open your business up to more clients, as you not only tell them how good other people think your service is, but it also helps to explain exactly how you have solved challenges and issues that may have arisen during the process.

You don’t need to use any names in the case studies, just explain clearly and concisely exactly what the problem was or what situation the client came to you with, what you did to get them the best deal and what the successful outcome was. It provides yet more evidence as to why people should choose you as their Adviser.

 

Perfect your pitch

When a potential client does find you, providing them solid advice there and then will help them to conclude that you are the Adviser for them! Show your expertise, share your knowledge and give them all they need to come to an informed decision.

All clients are different, and as you know will have a varied amount of knowledge about the mortgage process and the advice available. So as long as you use your experience to make them feel comfortable talking to you and putting their trust in you, growing your client base should become second nature.

 

Use technology to your advantage

An ever-growing client base requires management and consistency. Taking advantage of technology to store all your client’s data securely and reduce paper-work to a minimum will save time, both for you and for your client.  Your client will expect you to have the latest information at your figure tips to provide information on products relevant to them and their situation, so be ready to do.

Clients will also be relying on your efficiency, and using mortgage technology can enable you to demonstrate that you are indeed very capable, whilst you remain compliant throughout the whole mortgage advice process. It will also save time with limited need for paperwork as your records are largely entered online.

However, with 65% of consumers citing a fear of their personal information being hacked, you need to demonstrate that your clients’ data is both secure and protected – at all times. If you use a secure system such as the Key, not only will you be able to manage the whole sales process compliantly and with little effort, the associated Client Portal will allow both you and your client to securely message and exchange documents. Not forgetting you can now present an online Fact Find form to your client which they can complete at their leisure, and you have no need to re-key the information as it synchs seamlessly back to the Key.

laptop

Get out there!

So now you have set up your website and social channels to showcase your business and handle incoming enquiries (pull marketing), you may still need to get out there and promote yourself (push marketing). It doesn’t take long to craft an email to send to your database of potential customers. Let your prospects know you are open for business, send them your latest review or recommendation and perhaps provide news of a new fixed rate product, not forgetting to highlight your relevant services. With £35bn of mortgage loans expiring in the next 2 months+ there is huge potential to grab a slice of the market.

Spending time on expanding your presence both online and offline holds the key to obtaining more clients – even when you are ‘out of office’.

We do hope these tips will help to ensure your business is ‘Open all Hours’ – without working even harder than you already do.  Good luck!

 

Sources:

+ CACI

*Retailing Today

◊ PwC, Total Retail 2017

My Mortgage Brain Experience: Katie M

As part of my Year 10 work experience programme, I was kindly offered a placement at Mortgage Brain where I spent a week with the marketing team, learning about what the company does in a broad sense, as well as the individual roles and responsibilities of the team. It was my first experience of a business environment, so it was interesting for me to see how everything works and how my original perceptions of an “office life” were so far from the truth!

I was given a basic outline of what the company does in which I learned about broker/customer/lender relations and roles, the different departments and their roles within the company. I also learnt about the different products the company offers and what each one provides. This was when I realised how little I actually knew about mortgages and how difficult it was for an outsider to grasp.

Nonetheless, it was explained to me well. I was given my own email and was shown how to use Outlook which was a programme I hadn’t used before (luckily it was easier to understand than the actual company!). I was also taught how to structure an email formally which was very useful – especially since it’s something we don’t learn at school.

I was introduced to the employees of Mortgage Brain on my first day, I received a warm and friendly welcome from all of the staff; everyone was so kind and eager to help me. It was a great environment to work in as everyone got on well (they didn’t even argue over who made the tea), and were always looking out for me (and offering me cups of tea), which definitely put me at ease (the tea was very good). I sat down with each member of the marketing team during the week and they talked me through their roles within the team and the programmes and processes that they use. It was informative for me to learn about individual responsibilities as well as an overall view because it allowed me to visualise what working for Mortgage Brain would be like.

During my stay, I was lucky enough to be involved in the redesigning of the Mortgage Vision 2017 website. This was great as I was given the opportunity to attend meetings within the team where web design was discussed. I also had a look at the Mortgage Vision 2016 website and I was asked to review and compare it to other sites. This was a great experience for me as I could learn about web design and the whole process behind creating a website; it was a lot harder than I realised. The team was very good at helping me feel included during the meetings and explained concepts that I didn’t understand. The end product looked amazing – I’m sure you’ll agree!

I was also able to attend a “Company Meeting”. This was particularly useful for me as a work experience student as I was able to experience how meetings work in the real world – they were a lot less scary than I had initially imagined, but a lot more boring!

Overall my work experience with Mortgage Brain was fantastic; I was able to see a new environment which was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

Security: You are in safe hands with us

Whether we like to think about it or not, cybercrime is on the increase. In 2015, it was reported by Professional Adviser that 20,000 cyber-attacks were taking place each week, and that figure is expected to reach around 700,000 by the end of 2017.

Safeguarding data is of paramount importance, and so we want you to have peace of mind that the information stored in our datat centres will always remain intact. Hence why we dedicate a great deal of time and effort to our cybersecurity strategy and ensure that robust measures are in place to protect both your data and our systems against any potential threats or unauthorised access.

Regular security updates
All of our systems receive routine software updates to protect against any known cyber threats and provide resistance to potential future risks. What is more, we don’t support unsecure operating systems such as Windows XP which no longer receives any security updates from Windows.

Backing it up
We know that when you save information on our systems, you need and expect it to remain safe. Therefore we ensure that we regularly back up all your data and always have a secure copy of all our hosted data, and always have a copy of your files should any ever be corrupted. This also means that should you need to install the Key on a new computer or laptop, you can simply reinstall the application and continue you where you left off with little inconvenience.

Our own protection
We don’t simply safeguard your data, we also ensure that our own systems are protected by firewalls which will prevent any hacker attempting to gain unauthorised access. The recent WannaCry virus exploited a technique that is prevented by our security systems, meaning that any attempt to corrupt the data was useless.

Rigorous security checks are also regularly carried out. We use a specialist security partner to test our systems for any possible vulnerabilities and make any recommended changes to ensure that we are following best practice and doing all that we can.

Our internet hosts are also secure
Our systems are hosted by industry-leading internet services providers in highly secure data centres that offer virtualization technology, which provides another extra layer of protection.

All processes are in place
We also have systems that are on standby, designed to take over immediately in the event of any service interruption. This means that there will be a limited impact to your business, but your data will remain safe and secure.

How can you help?
Your own understanding of the potential and real threat to all of us by cybercrime is important. Just awareness is an important way in which we can all together prevent cyber-attacks affecting us.

Good cybersecurity practices include regular updates and back-ups, strong and frequently changed passwords, being careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi and being sensible when sharing information on social media or plugging devices into your computer. Secure messaging is also wise when sending sensitive data, which is a feature of our Client Portal within the Key.

Being aware that threats are out there and being prepared for them is something we at Mortgage Brain pride ourselves on.  Our aim remains to ensure that you can use our systems, safe in the knowledge that we have your data security and integrity taken care of and it remains an integral part of our service to you.

Integrated Second Charge Sourcing

Breaking new ground is something we are always striving to do. That’s why we have developed a second charge sourcing functionality within our first charge sourcing systems. It’s a rich and powerful feature, simple and easy to use, and is unlike anything else available on the market right now – and we created it to make your life that little bit easier.

How does it work?
Our sourcing systems have been a powerful tool for businesses for the past thirty years, and they’ve just become even more powerful.

The new functionality gives you the option of sourcing and comparing any first and second charge mortgage products, side by side, on one screen or print out.  It gives you a choice as to whether you want to advise on second charge products and deal directly with the lender, or pass the lead to a Master Broker to progress.

Second charge enhancements are currently being rolled out to existing MortgageBrain Classic users and will be coming soon to MortgageBrain Anywhere – so, if you use that system, then watch this space. The enhancements are included in the software and you don’t have to pay extra to be able to source second charge products in either of our sourcing systems.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit, of course, is that you can source everything within one system. Compare re-mortgage and second charge products on one screen with no need to switch to a different system. We’ve put everything in one place to save you time and hassle.

You can also compare as many products as you like at any one time. To do this, simply check all of the boxes of the schemes required to compare remortgage options, and then move to the second charge tab and select as many products required to compare from this tab.

The reload function is another great time-saver. It allows you to save all your searches for a client and open them at a later date. So, if you need to pause midway through, you can save all your scenarios retaining your filters, and re-visit them later when you’re ready to begin again.

Our multiple tabs function also helps you out allowing the remortgage deals to be retained whilst second charge products are sourced alongside it – which enables you, the broker, to work much more efficiently.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you’re a little unsure about how our new functionality works, you can book a live demo and join our weekly webinars. They are held on Tuesdays at 10.00-10.15am BST, and they take you through everything you need to know about this powerful tool for your business.

For those who want to see what we’re all about, you can begin a 30-day free trial of Mortgage Brain Classic to experience first-hand just how much easier we’ve made it to source mortgages for your clients.

Give us a call on 0208 665 3289, or email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk one of the team who will be happy to help you begin your Mortgage Brain journey. You can also check out our hints and tips for MortgageBrain Classic, too.

A History of Mortgage Brain

We recently celebrated a milestone here at Mortgage Brain as we turned thirty years old. We’d like to think that we’ve aged gracefully, and made the most of our time since 1986, offering our customers the best products possible – and service with a smile.

Where did we come from?

Set up by Peter Nice, Mike Green and Barry Louvel back in the eighties, Mortgage Brain came from humble origins.

Peter built a small sourcing system for his wife, an estate agent, and Mortgage Brain was born. We offered the first sourcing system in the UK mortgage market available to all brokers, and thus started the thriving industry we know today.

Initially, product data and software updates were distributed via disk – sent in the post! It wasn’t all online, automatic and up to the minute as it is today.

Then it all changed…

As Mortgage Brain grew, the three founders decided to sell the company in 2001 to a consortium of lenders and Nationwide, Halifax (now Lloyds Banking Group) and Alliance & Leicester (now Santander) bought the business for £4.8m.

RBS, Northern Rock (now Virgin Money) and Barclays came on board a little later in December 2001, when the turnover was £2M and we had only one product channel – mortgage sourcing.

In an era of paper applications, the lenders who now owned Mortgage Brain were keen to make changes in the market. So, they brought in our CEO, Mark Lofthouse, to develop a trading platform that allowed mortgage applications to be completed, submitted and processed electronically.

Enter Mortgage Trading Exchange, which arrived in 2003, and has gone on to become the largest single delivery channel for mortgage placement in the industry. Today, more than 20% of all mortgage applications from brokers are processed via the platform.

Making waves

Three years later, we bought the Key, a point of sale system. At this time, the system was in its fledgling state following the introduction of MDay. Significant investment and development has led to the Key becoming the most widely used CRM system available with thousands of advisers relying on it to support their businesses on a daily basis.

A History of Mortgage Brain

There is no stopping for us

We then upped our game even further, launching MortgageBrain B2C in 2010, offering the industry’s first app, UKMortgages in 2012, and, a year later, bringing another industry first, iSourceMortgages, an iPad-based sourcing system to the table. To follow shortly in 2014 was MortgageBrain Anywhere, our online sourcing system developed as a solution to the growing demand for flexibility and ability to use multiple devices, and at the same time Mortgage Brain’s original desktop sourcing product was renamed MortgageBrain Classic.

More recently in 2015 we ventured into conveyancing sourcing with a case tracking portal with the launch of ConveyancingBrain – soon after followed by LoansBrain in 2016. The latter is a second charge sourcing website that remains freely available to all, and now in 2017, we have also integrated that functionality into our first charge sourcing systems.

Product accuracy and product data turnaround have always been crucially important to us, and today we continue to lead the field, with 90% of all product data requests from lenders being up and live on our sourcing systems within four hours, and 100% within eight hours. We also continue to adapt and enhance our products to ensure that they offer the latest in technology and support all the latest regulations – we never stand still!

 Ahead of the pack

We have consistently delivered specialist technology solutions ahead of our competitors since we began, and each year invest approximately 40% of our turnover into product development to ensure that you continually get the most out of our systems.

Our employees remain our best asset and the customer services team are on hand to support your queries or answer your question. We also are the only technology company to add an online chat facility to our website to help those who don’t want to pick up the phone. Plus our extensive library of resources to support our products with numerous videos and guides remains the best in our view.

We are very proud of who we are and what we have achieved.

Celebration time…

To celebrate our successful thirty years in business, we held a party in London at the end of April to raise money for a number of charities actively supported either through fundraising or volunteering by one or more of our Mortgage Brain colleagues.

The charities were Alzheimer’s Society, Birmingham Christmas Shelter, Contact the Elderly and Shooting Star Chase a leading children’s hospice charity. So far, we have raised a fantastic £50,245 for our incredible charities.

Here’s to another thirty years – and thirty more after that!

Could the mortgage market undergo Uber-ification?

No one has yet invented the mortgage industry silver bullet; the idea that could transform the industry as we know it. But as our CEO Mark Lofthouse explains, it may be somewhere on the horizon, and we must be prepared for it.

Want a taxi? Not a problem.

Go onto the street and hail one, or book one over the phone. Simple and straightforward. It’s always been done that way, always will be. But in 2011, two men launched the Uber app, which allowed anyone with a smartphone to make a trip request and have the cab closest to them make the pick-up. Five years on and Bloomberg estimated the company’s revenues to be around $5.5 billion dollars.

Airbnb is another strong example of how an idea can come out of nowhere and change an industry forever. No matter how inconceivable an idea, we must remember that the possibility exists that someone, somewhere could come up with it at any time.

uber

But why can it happen?

One of the reasons is that no one ‘owns’ the taxi space. In the same way that no one ‘owns’ the mortgage space. As radical as it sounds, anyone is free to come in and be a ‘disruptor’, and if people like the idea then it could change the rules and irrevocably alter the way mortgages are sold!

The mortgage industry is rarely at the front of the queue for innovation. Apps, for example, were well established in other sectors before arriving in the mortgage market. ‘Robo advice’, however you interpret it, is commonplace in areas such as car and home insurance and it’s now in its early stages for mortgages.

So what’s the chance that our industry will be altered?

No one has yet come up with an idea that could transform our industry, and the idea that someone could may not seem all that attractive. But we shouldn’t close our minds to them or discount the idea that someone, somewhere, could be working on something radical.

Although, we do have to ask ourselves: what would it be? Would it allow consumers to have mortgages that are tailor made? Mortgages that automatically change whenever a new and more desirable product appears? Maybe even a completely new way of buying a house that makes mortgages redundant at a stroke?

They are ideas which may not seem feasible, but in 2017 and beyond they could well become reality.

Ideas don’t always make you an overnight success

It is worth noting that Techcrunch.com reports that Uber’s losses are expected to hit $3 billion in 2017, Airbnb has had it run ins with authority, and there will always be plenty of people willing and able to piggy back on the success of early adopters. But the tantalising possibility remains.

So what can the industry do about it?

It’s hard to fight against something that doesn’t exist and that no one knows anything about, so the best defence is to make the industry as future proof as possible. This means moving with the tech times and offering as high a level of professionalism as possible. As the technology and service improves, so the window for uber-ification is reduced.

In the meantime, keep watching the skies.

A Helping Hand from Mortgage Brain

Everyone likes to feel that there is help and support, but how often do we really receive it?

Here at Mortgage Brain, we’re proud to be able to offer our customers everything they could possibly desire – and beyond! From free webinars, videos, user guides and an online chat service, we’ve created an abundance of support on our Help & Training page to ensure your Mortgage Brain experience is a successful one.

So what exactly do we offer?

Free Webinars
We are dedicated to providing free, weekly webinars for our systems in order to make sure you aware of all the functionality available and can use them to their full potential.

Our webinars are available every week to fit in with your schedule. If you want to learn how to use our systems, our webinars are a vital tool for you. A fantastic 1826 of you participated in webinars across all our products in 2016 – we expect to beat that this year!

Our webinars take place on the following days:

MortgageBrain Classic – Thursday at 10.30-11.10AM BST
MortgageBrain Anywhere – Wednesday at 3.00-3.40PM BST
The Key – Monday at 4.00-4.30PM BST
Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE) – Monday at 2.00PM-2.20PM BST
LoansBrain – Friday at 11.00-11.15AM BST
ConveyancingBrain – Friday at 10.30AM-10.50AM BST

Help

Online and Offline Support
We know that everyone works differently, that’s why we offer you a variety of different ways to get in touch with us.

For the traditionalists, and for those who prefer to converse verbally, we are always happy to answer your calls on our mobile-friendly number – 0208 665 3200, or for ConveyancingBrain queries, you can get in touch on our dedicated line – 0371 200 6655.

We were delighted to reveal our online chat service in 2016, allowing you to talk to our customer services team via our website. It means you have an alternative way to contact us for support, which may on occasion suit you better than calling our customer services phone line.

Since its launch, our online chat service has helped over 1,480 advisers, which is increasing each month. You can access the service via our website by clicking on the yellow tab in the bottom right-hand corner.

Online chat is available during our normal Customer Services working hours. You are able to email yourself a transcript of your chat, ensuring that you have the details on file should you require them.

We are also on social media and will help in any way we can through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Feel free to direct message us at @Mortgage_Brain on Twitter or respond to a tweet and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Training Guides
We are constantly updating and refreshing our guides to make sure you get the most out of each or our systems.

To find the guide you’re looking for, simply visit our website and click on the Help & Training section, choose which product you’d like assistance with, and let the user-friendly guide do the rest!

Our newest guide explains you to use the new secure Client Portal function within the Key and we also recently refreshed our guides for MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere too. So make sure you check them out to see if there’s anything you’ve missed!

Emails
We pride ourselves on making regular changes and updates to our systems to ensure they support your needs, the changes in the industry and also regulation. So we send regular emails to all our Mortgage Brain customers so you’re the first to know about any product updates, new functionalities, and any partner events and information we think is important to you.

To make sure that you receive our emails, please contact us at marketing@mortgage-brain.co.uk!

Videos
Finally, our website and YouTube channel are brimming with quick, informative videos which guide you through our systems and make your life that little bit easier.

If you don’t have the time to partake in a webinar but you’re keen to find out how to use our products then watching our short videos is the ideal way to ensure you’re using our systems effectively, and are aware of the functionality available.

There you have it!
All the ways in which we make sure that our customers have everything they need to succeed in their businesses and make the most of our systems can be found on our Help & Training website page.

Whether you sign up to a webinar, watch a quick video, or give us a call, our free help and training will enable you to use your Mortgage Brain systems to their full capacity.

The best sourcing gets even better

We’re always looking at different ways we can enhance our offering to you, and we’re excited to be launching second charge sourcing functionality in our systems very soon.

It will be a new chapter in mortgage sourcing, as our whole of market first charge online and offline sourcing systems will now include second charge products. You will be able to compare first and second charge products side by side, so it will be much easier to advise and offer your clients alternative lending products

One system for everything
Back in January 2016 we launched LoansBrain, our free second charge loan sourcing website, allowing advisers to source and refer to a Master Broker or simply advise on second charge products to their customers.

The choice of products direct from lenders or Master Brokers are now wider than ever before, so with the inclusion of second charge products in our mainstream first charge sourcing systems, you know have the option to source both first and second charge loans all in one place.

Innovative and advanced sourcing
The new functionality will offer you the ability to compare a remortgage with a current mortgage, plus a second charge loan to assess which suits your client best.

Over 200 search criteria in our sourcing systems will help you find the products that best match your client’s requirements and display them side by side, so you can easily compare and decide which would be most suitable. This comparison function, combined with the ability to run and save different scenarios for each client, now means that the second charge loan sourcing capabilities within our systems are second to none.

The new second charge sourcing option will be available to you to select from the main sourcing screen, as well as when sourcing a re-mortgage. The control is completely with you, and that’s what’s so exciting about it.

Watch this space
We will be rolling out the enhancements to our MortgageBrain Classic system users from mid-April onwards and MortgageBrain Anywhere users will receive the update in early June.

We’re incredibly excited to be bringing you yet another quality solution to help you expand your business opportunities as an Adviser.

Mortgage Brain’s Christmas Wishes

With only days left to go before Christmas comes around, our CEO Mark Lofthouse outlines his industry-focused present wish list for this year.

Wish 1: Superfast broadband – especially in the UK
In the fast broadband league, the UK sit at a disappointing 19th place, according to an article published in ISP Review in June this year. South Korea lead the way, with broadband a whole 15bps faster than us here in the UK. Mark notes: “We are supposed to be one of the richest nations in the world, with one of the most advanced economies, and yet our broadband speeds are lacking. Governments keep talking about how poor the speeds are, it’s time something was done about it.”

Wish 2: Instant rule changes
Wouldn’t it be amazing that if, whenever a new set of rule was brought in, they were actually put in place instantly? Those of a certain age will remember Samantha Stevens in Bewitched, all she had to do was twitch her nose and voilà! A change would occur instantly. It would be a simpler world if rules were implemented immediately and effortlessly.

Wish 3: Honest and straightforward Advisers
A problem with the financial services industry as a whole for this third wish, following Ipsos Mori’s Veracity Index 2016, outlined the level of trust the public has in each profession and bankers finished sixth bottom. I know that mortgage advisers aren’t bankers, but the financial services industry as a whole still has an image problem. My wish is that in 2017 the FCA doesn’t have to fine a single company. A simple wish, but one which would help the industry massively.

Wish 4: Advisers taking advantage of new markets
Although the mortgage industry is buoyant at present, it won’t always be this way. At some point, the mainstream mortgage market could slow down again… it’s important to diversify now, deliver a broader service to your clients and keep competition at bay.

The protection, second charge, conveyancing and general insurance markets are a number of areas that advisers should be talking to their clients about. There are opportunities out there so don’t wait until your bread and butter work has dried up to go looking for them and deliver a more complete service now.

Wish 5: Everyone taking a step back and calming down
A straightforward request for this Christmas, whatever side of the debate you’re on, our post-Brexit world has been an uncertain one, and the imminent arrival of President Trump hasn’t done much to calm things either. That’s why my final wish is that 2017 be a calmer year, with no more major financial or political upheavals. Is that too much to ask?

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here at Mortgage Brain. Let’s hope 2017 will be able to grant Mark his wishes.