Stonebridge, the mortgage and insurance network, has today (16 April 2020) shared results of the first month of significant changes to its systems and processes which have enabled all departments to operate remotely, ensuring its appointed representative (AR) firms and advisers continue to receive services and maximise business output accordingly.
Stonebridge closed its offices in Nottingham, Basildon and Milton Keynes on the 26th March and implemented its remote working policy on the same day, with all departments fully deploying existing and new technology solutions, including the Revolution trading platform – used by all AR firms and advisers – to provide a full range of support and resources across all key areas.
The network reports a large number of internal systems and processes were adapted in order to help member firms continue to trade and offer their usual services to clients. These cover areas such as implementing paperless fee agreements, obtaining client documents via the Client Portal and verification via Revolution ID, dealing with furloughed advisers and business standards/compliance support.
Stonebridge said the use of Revolution had been vital in allowing AR firms and advisers to maintain ‘business as usual’ practices while they worked from home or remotely. It has also provided guidance around conference technology such as MS Teams and BlueJeans.
The network said having its own in-house system had given advisers extra confidence and resilience, while ensuring they could benefit from its cloud-based systems to maintain and track their workflow.
Its offering continues as the network ensures all existing advisers are kept up to date with both their training and CPD requirements remotely, even those in furlough. Earlier this month, the network launched its remote video induction courses for new advisers who have joined Stonebridge in order to equip them for their new future as a member of Stonebridge.
Bobby Lumsden, mortgage adviser at Stonebridge AR firm, RML Financial Management, said this about the recent onboarding and training of a new adviser, Richard Jennings:
“It has been a superhuman effort by everyone who played a part in getting Richard authorised in very trying circumstances. We are living and working in extraordinary times just now and it was amazing the way everyone at Stonebridge pulled together to achieve this goal. Those in the recruitment and onboarding team, in business standards and the Revolution team, who so quickly put together a remote induction course and helped to take our new recruits forward in their career. All work tirelessly behind the scenes making Stonebridge the successful and respected brand that it is.”
Stonebridge’s recruitment team continues to receive a regular flow of enquiries and applications from advisers and firms wanting to join. The network is urging any firms who are seeking greater levels of support through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond to contact its recruitment team.
The network has also increased the number of webinar-based training options for AR firms in partnership with protection providers and lenders, plus L&G for General Insurance training, and iPipeline for Solution Builder.
Stonebridge is also providing additional marketing resource to firms and advisers to improve the remortgage and protection advice journey via Touchpoint, home to Revolution’s marketing and CRM functionality, while also providing additional training to maximise success.
Stonebridge has also launched its COVID-19 support hub page for its AR firms and its customers, which covers FAQs, communication updates and other useful resources such as business and financial guidance, home movers’ advice and a focus on personal wellbeing.
Carl Webber, Chief Technology Officer at Stonebridge, said:
“Last month presented significant challenges for all, but I’m pleased to say that the strength and flexibility of our systems and processes came to the fore, and we’ve successfully been able to change the way we work, to ensure our AR firms and advisers could continue with their work – many of which have been in touch to pass on their gratitude. This is something we at Stonebridge are all immensely proud of.
“We are fortunate to have Revolution which is our proprietary platform that is developed and supported by our own in-house team. Revolution, and the majority of our technical estate, is highly adaptable and cloud-based meaning we can still support and continue to develop new functionality, such as online training and make available greater marketing resources. Feedback from firms has been excellent and it encourages us to continue to add new ways of working and training to ensure users have everything they need to make it through this difficult period and beyond.
“We fully appreciate that these are unprecedented times, but we want firms to know that Stonebridge will continue to support them in every way possible and if they require anything, they should make contact with us via the usual channels.”