Improving professional partnerships

Adam Tyler, Executive Chairman - FIBA

Facilitating an introduction of a customer to a lender is at the top of every broker’s job description, but it is far more than that. I have spent many years looking after brokers, helping them to run their businesses successfully by providing them with the opportunity to use a support service if they need it. Being a broker, particularly where you are the only person in the business, can be a lonely occupation so having the facility to hear and share experiences with your peers is important.

Of equal importance is the interaction with the lender community in whatever area of the financial market you serve. I am not ignoring the customer here, that will be a focus in a later article, but reviewing the start of the process and ensuring that the expected standards and relationships at the outset are in harmony.

The increasing complexity of the commercial lending market allied to the growing number of lending choices available on which today’s advisers can offer potential funding solutions, not only create tremendous opportunities, but also pose significant challenges in the maintenance and continuous improvement in professional standards.

Therefore, it is important that the choice is continually appraised and updated and that is where the third part of the wheel becomes important, the supporting Trade Association, the bridge between the broker and lender.

I have seen and met hundreds of new lenders over the years, names that have come and gone and others that are now an established part of the UK lending market, in both the commercial and consumer spaces. We also have those lenders now holding banking licences with loans books that run into billions. In the vast majority of cases, they have been built on the back of broker introductions.

Nothing has changed. It is still the case that human interaction in a business loan transaction is the vital component. I have spent a number of years looking at how technology can help and of course, it is an aid in many ways and it has made the role of a broker simpler. However, having been involved at many different levels with the advances in technology and how it has improved the process, I have seen the outstanding benefits that a broker brings to a deal. To me, it is simply the difference between a customer being funded or not.

The changes we have seen in regulation and compliance are of course here to stay Inevitably, the demands will increase in our sector and we are all now suitably placed to absorb and adapt to these needs. In line with this, the support network required by the broker community has also to adapt to keep pace with this change.

In line with advances in technology and in an age where customer service is intertwined with best practice, it is important that we all have update knowledge of our part of the Industry, in which we, as brokers work. To that end, at FIBA we are embarking on a series of Regional Industry Forums in 2019 to bring together brokers, our lenders and our professional partners to ensure that the 2019 way of working also encompasses the old and original values. This is not only for the benefit of those of us who have been in the Industry for a long time, but those who are just starting out.

Leaving aside the distractions caused by Brexit, we all need to keep our eyes firmly on building our businesses and look to maximise every advantage we can in the pursuit of that goal.

Join up

One of the best ways we can all improve our business prospects is by becoming part of a bigger whole. Of course, I am going to recommend joining a trade body, but not just because of the benefits it can bring, but the shared experiences that help your own business. As a commercial finance broker myself, I can see the advantages of belonging to an external organisation that not only represents me, but also provides a long list of benefits I could not hope to duplicate as an individual broker.

Where, as a small business are you going to get the same access to lenders as the big players? The same goes for compliance support, PI insurance and access to professional partners like solictors and valuers, who actually understand your market.

At FIBA, we are committed to building our benefits programme and expanding our Partner programme with the lenders you need. For example, how many of you can get direct access to Interbay Commercial?

At FIBA, we provide a list of benefits which individually more than justify the small monthly fee for your membership as well as giving you access to a Lender directory dedicated to Specialist Property Finance.

So, expect a number of important announcements over the next few months as the FIBA proposition continues to grow and offer even better value.