Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.
This week, the mystery shopper visits Kilburn in North West London. The shopper wants to look into securing a join mortgage for her and her husband. They have a joint income of £64,000 and savings of around £30,000 which they want to put towards a deposit.
Adviser (independent): Probitas Mortgages
Address: 2 The Courtyard, Chancery Lane, Beckenham BR3 6BL
Speed of response (time of call): 10.55am. Rang once before answered by mortgage broker. 5/5
Telephone manner: Polite. 4/5
Relevant qualification: CeMAP qualified. 5/5
Payment method: Fee paid on application and final fee on mortgage offer. 5/5
Guidance given: The IFA was very helpful and was able to give advice over the phone. He was able to provide a ballpark figure on the type of mortgage the shopper could get with their deposit. He was quite conversational and reassuring on the phone. 4/5
Knowledge: The adviser left the impression of being knowledgeable and experienced. He explained the process, cost and role of advice. 5/5
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 5/5
Verdict: The adviser sounded very professional and provided a personal touch in his interaction with the caller.
Adviser (independent): London Mortgage Brokers
Address: Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London, EC2N 2AT
Speed of response (time of call): 1.15pm. After four rings the caller spoke to a receptionist who transferred the caller to a mortgage broker. 5/5
Telephone manner: Friendly and polite. 5/5
Relevant qualification: Fully CeMAP qualified. Fully financial planning certified. 5/5
Payment method: Fee payable on completion of mortgage. 5/5
Guidance given: The mortgage adviser took the time to give the caller a breakdown of all the potential costs involved in getting a mortgage. He also went the extra mile by explaining some of the related changes in regulation. 5/5
Knowledge: It was abundantly clear to the shopper that the adviser was very knowledgeable about the mortgage market. 5/5
Email: email@example.com 5/5
Verdict: Shopper’s Choice. The adviser spent a good 10 to 15 minutes with the shopper on the phone getting into the detail of the various options, but time passed quickly as the adviser was chatty and explained things clearly.
Adviser (independent): Austin Friars Financial
Address: 2 London Wall Buildings, London, EC2M 5UU
Speed of response (time of call): 1.30pm. After three rings the caller was put straight through to a mortgage adviser. 5/5
Telephone manner: Polite. 4/5
Relevant qualification: Fully Dip Cert CII qualified. 5/5
Payment method: Flat fee on completion of mortgage. 5/5
Guidance given: The adviser was very professional and went into a lot of detail with the caller about her financial circumstances. The adviser also took the time to explain the nature of mortgage advice at the outset. 5/5
Knowledge: The adviser went through a lot of detail and was able to provide background on legislative changes to help the caller understand more about the current state of the market. 5/5