How to choose a specialist distributor

Nick Jones - Roma Finance

Nick Jones is commercial director at Roma Finance


Intermediaries are busy right now, and you’ve got enough on your plate keeping up with new enquiries, daily product changes and variable service levels.

So, what do you do when a complex case crosses your desk?

It’s easy to take the path of least resistance and go for the straightforward client when you have more enquiries than you can handle. But, if you want to future-proof your business, you need to consider the direction of travel, and adapt to support more potential clients.

Added value

As mainstream lending becomes ever more automated, an intermediary’s value increasingly lies in supporting clients who fall outside high street lending criteria. In the current economic climate, more borrowers could find they’re excluded from the high street and require a specialist approach.

This might include complex buy-to-let, bridging finance, second charges, non-standard residential mortgages, or commercial lending.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert on every facet of the ever-increasing specialist lending market in order to help your clients.

If you want to keep hold of the business and your client, you have two options: approach a specialist distributor for support or look to approach a specialist lender directly.

Direct to lender

Enhanced criteria-led sourcing systems and intermediary-focused lenders are making it easier than ever to operate in the specialist market. Lenders will guide you through their products and processes, and are working to improve their direct to broker propositions to make them even easier to use.

If you want to deal directly with specialist lenders, spend time learning about their products and criteria to boost your conversion rates and get your applications to offer smoothly. There’s plenty of help available from lenders if you want to learn more.

The specialist distributor route

Specialist distributors focus on more complex property lending sectors – both regulated and unregulated – that you may not have the time to manage or experience in.

You can treat specialist distributors as an extension of your own business as they can help you place tricky cases and retain your clients. They are experts, up to date with criteria and service levels, and have strong relationships with specialist lenders.

So how do you choose which to deal with?

If you’re an appointed representative of a network, they will have already researched which partners suit their members’ needs and will have a specialist distribution panel ready for you to use.

If you’re directly authorised, you can choose to partner with any distributor.

How to choose your specialist distribution partner:

1.    The right people

You need to work with people you can build a long-term relationship with, and that means you have to trust them. You must feel confident in their ability to work with you and help your clients.

2.    Integrity and transparency

Integrity runs throughout our business, and we expect to see it in our partners. They don’t have to be the cheapest or have the best technology, but they need to treat customers and brokers fairly, have transparent pricing and terms and an honest approach to business.

3.    Service over speed

We’d all prefer faster processing, intuitive technology and the phone answered in under a minute but, for me, the best service comes back to the people. Are they consistently professional, efficient, and friendly, and can I get access to the people I need to speak to? Think about what good service looks like to you.

4.    Knowledge above experience

Experience counts, but not for everything. A well-run business with a clear vision, and knowledgeable, skilled people is more important than whether they’ve been around for five or 25 years. We’re a young lender, and all our colleagues contribute enormously to who we are – young and old, highly experienced or new to lending.

At Roma Finance, we’re starting to boost expand our distribution by engaging with specialist distributors and using their knowledge and experience to create lending solutions for your clients.

We want to make it easy for you to do business with us, whichever route you prefer to take.


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