In today’s world of 24-hour social media, where individuals can easily air their grievances in public, businesses are placing ever more emphasis on protecting their reputation and managing customer relationships.
To me, building and maintaining a good reputation in business still boils down to two basics: treating people right and doing your job well. Professional standards are the backbone of the finance industry because a lot of what we do is based on trust – as brokers, our clients and lenders rely on us to work in an ethical way to deliver the best deal for everyone.
Adhering to recognised codes to deliver confidence
Upholding standards is a key priority for us here at Goodman Corporate Finance. We’re proud to be a full Member of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB). NACFB brokers agree to abide by its code of practice, and so customers can rest assured that any NACFB broker they deal with will operate professionally and in their best interest. The NACFB has operated this industry-recognised code since 1992 and any breaches are taken very seriously.
As Chair of the NACFB I have always emphasised that its main role is to uphold standards and that’s why I’ve been a great supporter during my tenure of its work on compliance services, supporting brokers across the country to offer great quality, trusted services.
In addition to our NACFB membership our team also has individual membership of the Institute of Business Consulting, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Institute of Directors, and we’ve signed up to their codes of conduct and ethics policies too.
Because we adhere to the standards of these internationally recognised organisations, our clients can have confidence that we always work in their best interests. As part of this we offer complete transparency – clearly setting out what we promise to achieve, the fees involved, and the outcomes clients can expect from our engagement.
Checking that your broker is a member of a recognised association and adheres to the relevant professional standards is important, as you can come unstuck if you take on a broker who doesn’t share those principles. You may remember from my last blog that we’d recently had to step in and support a client who, despite working with a broker for more than five months, still didn’t have their required extra funding in place. But they had been committed to unnecessary fees, legal costs and valuations. That broker wasn’t a member of the NACFB and the client paid a heavy price for choosing them to work with.
Standards aren’t just about day to day customer relation:
Upholding standards isn’t always about your direct work with clients, there are additional elements such as keeping client data safe, guaranteeing confidentiality and acting ethically in your wider working.
For example, we were recently offered the chance to enjoy an expenses-paid trip, but taking part would go against the rules on incentivisation set out by the NACFB. We instead agreed with the organisers that they would donate the cash equivalent to charity and we would match it, which helped support our wider work on corporate social responsibility.
We also had a recent case where a lender we had worked with to put together a loan included more than the usual commission, so we got it adjusted down to the normal rate before the paperwork even reached the client. We strongly believe that the fee charged by a broker should always reflect the workload involved and not be a flat rate or set using some kind of rigid formula.
And with our panel of more than 200 lenders we are never constrained to working with a particular lender who may offer us the best commission or who we’re most comfortable with – we are able to search far and wide for the best deal for the client.
To be clear, I’m not holding us up as any sort of paragon of virtue – all NACFB brokers are held to similar standards – and we are in business to make money, but we earn our money by doing our best to help UK businesses survive and thrive without undue favouritism of lenders or focus on our fees.
Our clients quite rightly expect nothing less, and by delivering on their expectations we protect our reputation and our client relationships.