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Who is looking after mortgage advisers? – Wilson

Who is looking after mortgage advisers? – Wilson

The ongoing uncertainty in the mortgage market and wider UK economy has seen financial stress among borrowers reach unprecedented levels, with research from mental health charity, Mind, showing a 55% increase in calls from people experiencing financial difficulty in 2023.

Higher interest rates coupled with increased living costs means many people have seen their disposable income stretched and mortgage repayments more than double, presenting them with the very real prospect of severe financial difficulty and the stark reality that they may be unable to afford to keep their home. 

Dealing with this emotional distress is also having a detrimental impact on mortgage advisers, who, as well as experiencing overwhelming workloads and the complexities of an ever-changing market, are having to guide their clients through a period of emotional turmoil.


Mortgage advisers also feeling the stress 

Figures from the Mortgage Industry Mental Health Charter’s (MIMHC’s) 2023 Mental Health Survey found nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents rated their overall mental wellbeing as ‘poor’ or ‘of concern’, while nearly a third (30%) said their work/life balance had ‘somewhat worsened’ or ‘greatly worsened’ over the last few years.

These figures are quite alarming and highlight an issue to which those working in the mortgage industry must pay great attention, particularly as advisers at the coalface of the advice process are encountering the financial stress being felt by mortgage borrowers on a daily basis. 

Lenders pulling rates and withdrawing products at very short notice also means many advisers are working longer hours to try to help their clients secure a deal that will help them keep their home. 

This combination of forces can have a negative impact on mortgage advisers’ own mental health as well as the relationships they may have with colleagues, friends and family, as they may work evenings and weekends in order to secure another deal for their client, resulting in less time being spent with family.

As a business, we often hear from advisers who spend much of their working day on hold to lenders to talk through a case. This means they only have evenings or weekends to play catch-up and sort through the paperwork needed to ensure they get an application in on time, leaving little time for anything other than work, which puts their mental health at risk. 

Ongoing changes to regulatory requirements and how advisers conduct their business is also adding more pressure with many firms facing lengthy waiting times to become authorised. This prevents them from earning money to provide for their own families and adds further fuel to the fire. 


How are professionals being supported? 

All these factors present the mortgage industry with an important question: what are we doing to safeguard the mental health of our advisers? 

In a recent discussion with Pepper Money, Robert Sinclair, CEO of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), touched upon this crucial point while discussing the vulnerability of customers.

Outlining the pressure facing advisers when trying to get clients to open up about their financial challenges, Sinclair said advisers are also putting themselves in a vulnerable position and called on those working in the industry to do more to talk about the stresses of the job. 

While the link between finances and mental health are well-known and often widely discussed, talking about the stress and challenges of being a mortgage adviser are less common. Yet it is very important advisers speak up and that we, as an industry, listen and act accordingly. 

This is particularly relevant for those advisers working as sole traders, as they are less likely to have the day-to-day support and interaction that comes with being part of a bigger firm like The Right Mortgage and Protection Network. 

Being part of a network can help ease the regulatory burden and provide assistance and support for advisers during challenging times. It can also help advisers bounce around ideas and let off steam with fellow colleagues and network members. 

It can also help those approaching the end of their career who are starting to think about gradually easing their workload, as our hybrid Right Retirement Plan enables them to refer their clients internally while also retaining 75% commission on existing business and 50% on new business. 

Whatever way an adviser works, speaking out and sharing the load in the current economic climate is crucial. 

Whether this is by joining a network or sharing concerns with organisations such as MIMHC or other advisers, highlighting the challenges they are facing is extremely important in safeguarding their mental health and working towards a happier and healthier mortgage market. 

Amanda Wilson, director at The Right Mortgage and Protection Network

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