“If we deem that a customer is or could be put at risk as a result of the firm’s processes, we will not work with that particular firm,” it said.
Struggling for income, Marriott said they were left with the option of buying leads, but Marriott deemed this to be a “false economy”.
“We never wanted to buy leads, they’re almost definitely sold to different broker firms over and over,” he explained.
“So as great as it might feel to advise on them at first, you’re always going to have cancellations. Whilst big firms can pump money into leads, they only ever achieve 12-13 per cent conversion. We’d need 50-60 per cent to break even.”
Meanwhile, CSE had been waiting for authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. This had seen Marriott and his partner get dual authorisation under another firm at Primis in the interim.
At this point, with no leads and authorisation still pending, Marriott said CSE was just one month away from running out of cash, meaning he felt unable to switch networks and decided to call it a day.
Marriott is happy to admit he was naive in thinking CSE would succeed without upfront capital to invest in marketing alongside a referral-focused model.
“I learnt you can’t rely on anyone,” said Marriott. “And you do need quite a bit of capital to keep you going if business is wholly based on referrals. It was naive of me to think otherwise.”
Marriott has returned to advising at Towergate Health & Protection, a previous employer of his. He said he’ll stick to the employee side of the coin for now.