Long ReadFeb 7 2023

Three advisers on why they set up shop on the high street

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Three advisers on why they set up shop on the high street
Walk-ins are welcome at Graham Taylor’s newest Hudson Rose branch in Cheltenham. (Graham Taylor)
ByChloe Cheung

Despite big high street banks announcing more branch closures and talk of hybrid and digital services being the future of financial advice, some advice firms are finding their place on the high street.

If you take a walk along Cheltenham’s Bath Road for example, you may come across the pale pink shop front of Hudson Rose, a mortgage broker founded by Graham Taylor.

Located among the cafes and charity shops that also line the street, the branch is the third one to be opened by Taylor in the space of three years.

“My business is quite visual,” says Taylor. “We present ourselves to the world very differently to maybe most in our industry.” Having a high street presence therefore works with the Hudson Rose brand, he says. “It works with our approach and style.”

Besides a brightly coloured façade, Taylor attracts the attention of passers-by with a neon sign in each office featuring the firm’s tagline: ‘your mortgage our problem’. 

“They’re positioned in such a way that when you drive past, you see ‘your mortgage our problem’ written in big letters on the wall in neon pink, and those are on at night as well.”

  (Graham Taylor)

Hudson Rose was founded five years ago, but for the first two years Taylor was based “out of the way” in a 6x3m room above an old mill building. In 2020, he opened his first branch in the south Cotswolds town of Nailsworth.

“People would look at the [Nailsworth] office that looks nothing like a mortgage adviser, then see that it was a mortgage broker’s, and then in their brain it would connect together.

“They wouldn’t need us, and then all of a sudden when they needed a mortgage, they’d think, ‘oh, it’s that brightly coloured shop on the high street’.”

While that 6x3m room bore the Hudson Rose branding, Taylor says it was not as colourful as he was not allowed to paint the walls, and it had no visibility from the road.

But now with a high street presence in three different towns, roughly a quarter of business comes from people who have seen a Hudson Rose shop front.

  (Graham Taylor)

“The Cheltenham [branch] is on the busiest street. At the moment, we’ve only really been here three or four months, but I would get two or three a week easily. Everything from people coming in saying ‘I need to get some insurance because I’ve just gone self-employed’, to ‘I’ve got three mortgaged buy-to-lets’.”

The people who want face-to-face meetings the most, Taylor adds, are young people. “They live their whole life online, and getting a mortgage of £200,000 or whatever is going to be a big scary experience.