cherry forum

Brokers express frustrations with Consumer Duty – cherry forum

Fears, frustrations and possible interpretations around Consumer Duty was one of the dominant trends in 2023, particularly leading up to the 31st July introduction, according to analysis from broker forum cherry.

The industry forum attracted more than 35,000 unique visitors in the first 11 months of 2023.

Conversations around Consumer Duty centred on whether documentation given to clients would change, and requirements around vulnerability.

Advisers expressed concerns around the unintended consequences of the regulator’s views on vulnerability, such as that intermediaries might feel forced to avoid clients that might fall within this classification to protect themselves.

Other key trends from the year included attracting new business on social media, and how brokers’ business levels were holding up.

Appointed representatives (ARs) in particular voiced annoyance with networks not allowing them to write social media posts without compliance department approval, and the added wait time this caused.

Brokers also discussed whether TikTok was a valid channel via which to pursue new business.

Jeff Knight, director at Mortgage Marketing Forum, said: “Social media is an important channel; however, like anything it has to be used well.

“There must be a purpose behind using it rather than simply creating posts.

“But for me where it adds real value is that brokers can listen. They can follow clients online and comment on their posts.

“In essence, social is important but more so to engage in rather than use to blast messages.”

Meanwhile, with the cost-of-living crisis, high inflation, rising interest rates and pressures of mortgage affordability, many advisers reported business volumes down year-on-year.

Donna Hopton, director at cherry, said: “More and more intermediaries have chosen to use the cherry forum throughout 2023, with visitor numbers up 6% year-on-year and total visits up by 2.5%.

“More importantly, users are becoming more involved, with the number of new threads created nearly 11% higher this year than in 2022.  

“Users consider the cherry forum to be a safe space where they can discuss topics with their industry colleagues.

“With 2024 set to be a critical year for brokers looking to increase business volumes, I’m confident the forum will continue to grow accordingly.”