At Mortgage Intelligence, we invest in the right people and the right technology for both appointed representatives and directly authorised advisers. Sally Laker highlights the importance of maintaining a balance between embracing new technologies and continuing to support a people-based industry.

I recently changed my TV package online as the lure of the next two series of Homeland got the better of me.

The change was the usual story really – my password didn’t match, my e-mail address didn’t match and so I decided it would be easier to pick up the phone and speak to someone about changing the package. And, it was. It made me think about our industry and the need to deal with people face-to-face and over the telephone. The people factor builds trust and relationships as well as providing a valuable service.

The other essential tool is good technology. To provide a valuable record of the advice given to the customer and all the associated documents loaded onto the system. A good Point of Sale (POS) system is so important but like everything it is only ‘good’ if it is kept up to date.

We recently updated our version of the Key POS system to change the way in which we record data and use it. Even though the system is an up to date system, it was a substantial piece of work bringing in contract developers to deliver the changes we required. There are numerous stages, including the specification, which takes time and requires experienced people who understand the system to map out what is required. This then needs to be formatted – a different skill required, so that the specification can be interpreted into ‘developer speak’ to enable the work to commence.

Frequently, there are choices and processes that need guidance all the way through and it is important to consider the impact of any slight change, or you could be back to square one. Once the work is ready, testing begins. You need people who understand the system and will test it and try to break it. Flaws get picked up and then fixes and changes need to be done. That goes back and forth for some time until the upgraded system is ready to be released achieving the desired result. The cycle needs to continue and we regularly look at what the next enhancements will be.

The recent changes we have released were significant and we now have an enhanced system that incorporates the dynamics of today’s regulatory world.

After going through this process, it becomes less onerous as knowledge of the system improves. It was still a challenge, expensive and time consuming but we allocated a six-month timeline which was a tight timescale to keep the focus on the job and complete it.

We have always promised to invest in technology that provides a system that is up to date with mortgage and insurance industry needs and we will continue to do so. We do know that both appointed representatives and directly authorised advisers are not robots and that’s important to us, because although this is a people-based mortgage and insurance industry, we need to be backed up by good technology and not replaced by it.

If you are interested in switching over to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative, or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, contact our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446 opt 1.