September 26, 2016

The Government needs to do more to cheer brokers up. That was the shocking conclusion of a major bit of research cooked up by lobbying organisation the Confederacy of British Industrialists (CBI) and consulting firm HousepriceWaterscooper.

Apparently – according to reports in Insurance Ache this week – brokers aren’t making enough money lately and it’s really bringing them down. The survey showed that “27 percent fewer brokers were optimistic about the sector than were optimistic.”

Bankstone News has no idea what that means. Does it, for example mean that the percentage of brokers who were optimistic is 27 bigger than the percentage of pessimistic ones or… that one percentage is 27% the size of the other one, or whatever.

Basically, it doesn’t really matter because it’s numbers, isn’t it, and it’s numbers that count when it all adds up at the end of day. But it certainly does sound like optimism is at a bit of a premium amongst brokers right now.

There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s bothering brokers, the CIBA/pWC survey reveals, including: Brexit uncertainty, low to non-existent interest on any cash they can get their hands on, Brexit uncertainty, confusing and occasionally dysfunctional technology, Brexit uncertainty, the fact that there’s lots of other brokers also frantically trying to earn a crust in the same miserably challenging market conditions, and Brexit uncertainty.

Apparently brokers were a bit more cheerful when CPA/PcP last asked them three months ago – and they’ll probably cheer up again in a bit – if and when – as many expect they probably will – they start making a bit more money again. Apparently they’ve been investing quite a bit in ‘plant and vehicles’ to improve eficiency, so that should help.

The CBI’s economist Chief Rain Newt Smith says that, as brokers finally arrive back from their summer holidays, they are continuing to “digest the implications of the EU Referendum” and have probably noticed that “the challenges facing the sector have not gone away – they’ve actually grown” which could explain why “optimism is falling and pressure on margins remains intense.

Whether we should take any of these finding seriously, however, is very much open to question. Chief Rain Newt’s commentary quickly degenerates into blatant political interference with the impertinent imperative: ”With firms voicing strong concerns about the impact of Brexit, especially the risks to the wider economy in the years ahead, the Government must allay their unease with clear plans for negotiations to leave the EU.”

Come off it, Chief. Let’s be realistic. You’ve got a better chance of seeing Donald Trump’s tax returns and Hilary’s 300 billion secret emails than getting a plan for Brexit out of HMG.

iwosann


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