To diversify, or not to diversify? Mortgage broker says 'narrow down' your offering

by Ksenia Stepanova17 Feb 2020

While many advisers are discussing the potential benefits of diversification, one business owner says simplifying your offering down to its core areas may actually be the best way forward into the new regime.

Speaking on a panel of advisers at the 2020 Get in Shape Adviser Summit, Squirrel founder John Bolton says his mortgage business has reverted to its primary lines of focus by reducing its insurance offering, and that has helped significantly when it comes to compliance, licensing and ensuring a good governance structure.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking strategically around where our focus should be, and part of that has been narrowing down what we offer,” Bolton explained.

“We’re traditionally a mortgage business that also does some insurance. The licensing, the governance and the controls that need to exist in the business is actually forcing us to narrow down our focus and think about what’s really important to us.”

Bolton says that a more specialised area of focus is also important for the purposes of training staff, and developing an effective marketing strategy.

“We’ve got a reasonably sized team of advisers now, and we have a technology and marketing team,” he said.

“Moving away from the advice piece, if you’re trying to chase the shiny objects, you don’t really have a focus on the market you want – so it’s more about having a discipline across the entire business that you can focus on.”

“When it comes to compliance, we are quite advanced in this space,” he continued.

“We’ve got pretty heavy governance, and we’re already regulated in a way that’s similar to the new regime, which required a high degree of work. We have a board of four independent directors, and we have quarterly full-day board meetings which alternate between focusing on strategy, and on risk and control.

“Separate from that we have a finance and credit risk committee which meets monthly, and that’s a very high level of governance which flows down through the business.”

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