Well we've chalked off yet another Broker Expo and again it attracted a record number of brokers - over 750 made the journey to Coventry this year. This event really has established itself as an industry must-attend but I was struck by two things in particular.
Firstly, the fact that so many brokers can take the time out of their working week to attend the Expo speaks volumes for the broking market's commitment to improving their individual businesses. There is an enthusiasm for doing business with the 100 service and product providers exhibiting and giving themselves the edge over their competitors.
This is not a market that is still slumbering in the 70s as some would have us believe. It is one that is hungry for the next development and looking for what is around the corner so they can prepare their businesses and ensure their long term survival.
But despite this optimistic aspect the most startling thing was the importance that brokers place on regulation. The regulation workshop, which is one of the most popular workshops, was absolutely swamped with brokers wishing to get in. It was standing room only and there wasn't much of that.
Which shows me two things.
One is that brokers are really concerned, scared even, about the new regulator that is coming in and the impact that this new, more intrusive regulation will have upon their businesses. It's clear that the majority of regional and community brokers, as well as the larger household names, have a lot of anxiety about the whole situation.
But it also shows another thing - brokers are not hiding their heads in the sand hoping it will all go away. They are prepared to face the threat head on and try to arms themselves with the knowledge and information required to meet the new regulatory threat.
They are not prepared to allow a regulator that shows very little understanding of their sector to drive them out of business with heavy handed regulation and misplaced concerns over their conduct. And long may that attitude continue and develop.
The vast majority of brokers, as you all know yourselves, continue to provide a crucial service to their clients and should not be bullied into ineffectuality by a lumbering regulator.
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