You need a broker to push things along and figure out what is sensible, and what is not. I think mortgage broking is the part of the intermediary world that works particularly well – with largely many rotten eggs weeded out post-2008.
The housing market is complicated, and it is more prone to the whims and foibles of humans than any other part of financial services. Long transactions can fall apart in an instant.
That is why it pays to use expertise.
Value of trackers
Apparently, among the under 30s, 37 per cent of the money they invested went in to trackers. For the over 60s, the figure was 22 per cent. Those are figures from Hargreaves Lansdown, who you may argue is more predisposed towards asset managers.
There are many ways to look at these stats. On one hand, you could make the argument I have just made about valuing expertise – although I do not think that is what is going on here.
On the other, you could say, so what? In both cases investments to asset managers are by far in the majority. Nothing to see here.
I prefer to think this is more a generational indicator showing us the future demands of clients.
Those that are predisposed towards lower cost, independent investing are hardly likely to value it in later years. Equally, if they do not value expertise now, then why would they tomorrow?
The only thing that could change this is a market collapse that would cost tracker investors more than active management investors. So far, on this front, the active industry has not proved its worth.
Do not fear. Just as the US market looked to have finally priced in the reality of the economy, then along comes the Fed. Its latest bond-buying exercise jolted the market up again.
And so the rise goes on.
James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times