This is the transcript from a very talented mortgage broker who I won’t name, but was trying to negotiate the supply of mortgage leads where we get paid a small fee upfront and a £250 back end payment per completed deal. His premise was that he could deal 90% of the remortgages over the phone which has go to be a industry record.
We have the following lead availability:
Financial Advisor Online Leads (this includes pensions and investments and all other areas of financial advice) – On either a National or Regional basis – £100 per lead (no VAT)
Insurance Advice Online Leads – National basis only (trial 100 leads at cost)
Income Protection Online Leads – National basis only (trial 100 leads at cost)
Mortgage Advice Online Leads – National basis only (cost + £10 per lead)
All leads are from potential customers that are searching online for the things you offer. You only pay for prospects who want you to contact them. Conversions vary between 15-30%.
Yep, we want the potential lead contacted by you to confirm that they really are interested and not just internetting about – the leads off the internet just waste a lot of our time, we feel that it is better to pay more for a qualified lead and not have our CeMAP qualified staff doing telephony. Basically outsourcing the vetting process.
How many leads do you want?
Cost of leads + cost of qualifier + profit per lead that may work.
Well I guess whatever you calculated as a competitive cost per qualified lead – and then we can pay a bonus to the sales person per sale.
Also the conversion rate should be almost 90% given that initially the leads will come to me and the qualifier has determined that the Customer is ready to move as long as I can do the business.
At present I have spare capacity to sell an extra 5 per week – we could start at say 10 leads per week and if we are working well, I can introduce other advisor (realistically a mortgage takes 4 -6 weeks to complete … so a sale isn’t instant, you then have to do it !
Sounds exciting, the person vetting would be working slightly in addition to normal duties but earning masses more, depending on the initial cost per lead, I would be happy to bonus pay £250.00 per sale … not least to secure a professional regular supply.
Mortgage knowledge is not important, it is simply ………… if the Broker can save you money on your mortgage, would you be interested and if so, would you wish to switch over straight away ? If ‘Yes’ when would you like to speak to him ?
Sounds good except there is no competitive cost per qualified lead. It’s cost of Google + the cost of delivering a qualified lead.
90% conversion rate sounds very very high. Our IFAs on pensions only manage 70% face to face.
Yes it is high ………… most of the competition isn’t as good as me (I am THE directly authorised fca Broker Company FCA xxxx) and my competition is usually a Call Centre or of Sprog capacity………. I am 100% face to face – but I don’t do that any more (I don’t need to).
I would ask you to put a price on the Qualified Lead because you are at the proactive end ….. and I would wish for the stability of cost.
This works if your person is good your end and the Fca weren’t mistaken giving me a Licence lol.
I am already happy to work with you, it’s a pleasure to speak with someone who thinks out of the box.
Not interested thanks..
Sent from my iPhone
Google cost + cost of qualifier that is all I asked for
I don’t know these costs …… you do ….. it is reasonable to suppose that you are the most qualified out of the two of us to put a fixed price on a qualified lead.
I don’t want to commit to a variable cost but will commit to an affordable fixed cost.
The Google leads are expensive – £20 – I don’t know what percentage would say yes to your pitch – then there will a further drop off on ones you cannot get hold off and ones you reject – so I don’t know the price.
That is why I am not interested…
Ouch, if that’s what you think of your own leads then I’m not interested either !!!
If the quality is that bad ………………. wow !!
Not a problem
We just generate online leads and we simply charge £10 profit per lead. It’s a whole different ball game charging a fixed price for lead and qualification at cost and then waiting 6 weeks for 90% of them to convert which is never going to happen!
Below are RMT Group’s answers to the UK’s government open consultation on the proposal by the UK government to reduce pensions scams by banning pension cold calling.
Does the definition in 2.1 above capture the key areas of consumer detriment caused by pension scam activity?
Yes it does.
Are there any other factors that should be considered as signs of a scam?
Yes when ‘introducers’ are involved and multiple financial advisors are involved. Typically the introducer will work with a ‘panel of financial advisors’ where one financial advisor would be used to open a SIPP on an execution only basis. A second financial advisor will then advise on the suitability of investments based on the clients circumstances and attitude to risk. Typically 75% of these funds will go into a ‘vanilla’ type investment but 25% will go into something very risky such as a small cap stock or alternative investment fund that has huge spreads or a very high commission. A 50% spread or commission on this part of the investment could give rise to an overall 12.5% commission being 4 times greater than a financial advisor would normally charge. That’s nearly £6,000 earned on a average pension pot of £46,000.
When the caller appears to be directly or indirectly representing the FCA or a government or legislative body.
In your experience, how are consumers affected by cold calling about pensions? Do any consumers benefit from cold calling about pensions?
We run a call centre booking pension appointments for around 25 different financial advice firms. This involves making thousands of calls per week. Most calls are ended within 10-15 seconds, but a significant number of our cold calls are above 2 minutes (8.61%), some co-ordinators have up to 20%. Once the prospect starts talking and they have a pension that qualifies it is an extremely positive experience as the vast majority of people are confused and do not understand their pensions want to know more.
At this level we find that the vast majority of people that we speak to are confused about their pension situation. If it is established that the prospect has a qualifying pension, their experience with us becomes extremely positive and generally there is a need to understand their options both now and in the future. This is particularly relevant when the possibility of over-charging on annual management fees may have taken place and the new flexible options and taxation issues, which were introduced in April 2015. Our call highlights these important issues but the final decision to act, remains with the prospect.
Since 2013 we have arranged nearly 3,000 appointments for people who were mainly unaware of how these important issues may impact on their pension in retirement. Our conversion rates are very high at 70% and we encourage people to leave reviews on eKomi. This provides a measure by which we can check that no high pressure or mis-selling occurs. Here are some of our reviews relating to the quality of service provided by ourselves and our financial advisors.
“The initial contact call was very gentle and not pushy whatsoever. *** was very courteous and professional.”
“Although this was a ‘cold call’ I found the consultant very helpful and I did not feel under any pressure to accept the
“The initial introduction and communications up to the meeting were first class. Appointment went very smoothly and now await the findings with baited breath!!”
“Don’t usually respond to telephone canvassers. But all very professional . The Ida who turned up very genuine & straight forward . I would defiantly recommend”
Do you agree that the scope of the ban should include the actions set out in paragraph 3.5 above? Are there any other activities that should fall within the scope of the proposed ban on pensions cold calling?
As copied from paragraph 3.5:
offers of a ‘free pension review’, or other free financial advice or guidance – Yes
assessments of the performance of the individual’s current pension funds – Yes
inducements to hold certain investments within a pensions tax wrapper including overseas investments – No, as this is advice
promotions of retirement income products such as drawdown and annuity products – No, as this is advice
inducements to release pension funds early – No
inducements to release funds from a pension and transfer them into a bank account – No
inducement to transfer a pension fund – No
introductions to a firm dealing in pensions investments – No
offers to assess charges on the pension – Yes
If you are to ban pension cold calling the ban should only affect cold callers not representing fully regulated advisor firms.
Do you agree that existing client relationships and express requests should be excluded from the proposed ban?
Yes, otherwise how will they communicate?
What would the costs and benefits be of extending the proposed ban to include all electronic communications?
We do not text or email prospects so I cannot comment.
How can the government best maintain the clarity of existing PECR concepts in light of the proposed ban on pensions cold calling?
How else can the government best ensure consumers are aware of the ban?
We do not think that cold calling should be banned. However, if you did ban it you would need constant advertising to warn the general public as the general public have a very short memory and so with no constant advertising it would ironically be easier for the scam companies as they would now be operating in a vacuum and they are certainly not concerned about the £500,000 fine as they are breaking the law anyway. Money would be better spent on educating the general public of the benefits of seeing a financial advisor post RDR and educating persons to make sure that person is on the financial services register. Lots of legitimate companies use cold calling and by peddling the current view as published in the Daily Mail or the Express that “if someone contacts you out of the blue about your pension they are criminals and are breaking the law” means that legitimate companies have to make more calls.
Do you have any views on enforcement mechanism set out in paragraphs 3.10 above?
£500,000 fine is more than enough for our firm to quit this market. But a scam company will not be deterred as its already committing fraud or partaking in it so what will the fine do when they already run the risk of going to prison? It certainly won’t stop them. But it will cripple companies like our own and create a larger space for the scam companies to operate in.
Is there any reason why legitimate firms’ business models should be affected as a result of the ban?
Yes, a ban on cold calling would mean a greater reliance on online lead generation. Online lead generation has a ceiling on the number of leads generated determined by the number of searches made for financial advice. This would not be able to satisfy the demand of 20,000 financial advisors and their requirements for new prospects.
This would further reduce the number of financial advisors operating in the UK as they would struggle to generate new prospects.
We supply appointments to around 25 regulated financial advice firms who rely on appointment setting to bring in new business.
Over the past 4 years it has been more and more difficult to generate appointments due to the negative image portrayed by the media that cold calling is a scam. The price of our appointments has steadily increased from £225 to £390 due to the increased degree of difficulty. We could generate 10 times the volume and still have no problem placing or selling the appointments.
Do you have any other views or information the government should consider in relation to the proposed ban on cold calling in relation to pensions?
97% of pension scams started as a cold call. But what is the percentage of scam pension calls v legitimate pension calls. I think this has declined already over the past 18 months due to tightening of the SIPP companies on what they accept as an investment. This could be completely irradiated if the regulators simply made it impossible to transfer a pension into an illegitimate investment. We used to get 3 or 4 a month and now it’s very rare. I think a lot of the scam companies have already stopped trading. The next step is to prevent transfers into rogue occupational schemes to finish it once and for all. The answer is not to stop cold calls.
Would it not be better to fine the pension companies £500,000 for allowing a transfer of a pension into a illegitimate scheme, after all they are the custodians of the persons pension.
Our firm is #1 on Google for the word pension lead and as a result we receive around 3-400 enquiries per year from financial advisors. Around 60% of the enquiries are for appointments and not online leads. This is because they are superior in quality and performance and this enables the financial advisor to focus on giving advice.
Do you agree with the proposal to limit the statutory right to transfer in this way, or should this be further limited? If so, in what way and why?
No, everyone should have the right, after all it’s their money. What about placing the responsibility on the pension company to be liable for transferring into a rogue scheme.
Would a requirement to evidence a regular earnings link act as a major deterrent to prevent fraud? How could the requirements be circumvented?
Yes almost certainly.
How might an earnings and employment link be implemented? Should the onus be on the scheme member to provide proof of earnings?
Not sure of the Data Protection problems but a list of employees and contributions should be made available to the pension company transferring from. Yes.
What would be the impact and cost to trustees / managers / firms?
Statutory obligation should be introduced that would be required by law, that the scheme trustees / managers / firms had a duty of care to ensure that the pension rights of the individual are protected from fraudulent activity.
Under the proposals, how would the process for ‘non-statutory’ transfers change for trustees or managers? What would they need to do differently from the current situation?
What are the pros and cons of introducing a statutory discharge form for insistent clients? How effective would this be as a means of combating scams?
But if the liability is with the pension company to not transfer (as they would effectively be the custodian of the pension scheme) then it cannot be transferred however insistent.
How could it be ensured that a statutory discharge of responsibility did not reduce the requirement on firms and trustees to undertake due diligence?
A £500,000 fine?
What are your views on a ‘cooling-off period’ for pension transfers? Do you have any evidence of how this could help to combat pension scams?
Probably would not work as the scam company would return the funds within the cooling period to avoid be flagged as suspect scheme.
What additional measures or safeguards could be put in place to ensure that trustees or managers appropriately handle transfers that do not meet the new proposed statutory requirements?
That the funds are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the event of fraudulent transfers.
Are there other potential risks that this proposal might present? Do you have any suggestions as to how these risks might be mitigated?
The responsibility of the transfer of pensions should be with the pension companies and scheme trustees.
Do you agree that new pension scheme registrations should be required to be made through an active company? If no, what are the legitimate circumstances in which a dormant company might want to register a new pension scheme?
Yes and none.
Are there any further actions that the government should consider to prevent SSASs being used as vehicles for pension scams?
A blanket ban on SSASs would result in no need to transfer into an OPS. The only monies that pass into a OPS should be monthly pension contributions.
IFA Direct Home Financial Advisor Appointments: Below is our average monthly size pension funds generated over the past 15 months, together with numbers booked and the actual ‘sat’ rate. Our overall average pension pot size is £45,022. (a slight slight drop from £47,001 between 2013 and 2015) We have booked 2007 appointments during this period. Our overall ‘sat rate’ average is 58% or 6 out of 10 appointments.
In October 2015, we enlarged our call centre operations and the volumes of booked appointments since then have increased by 47%.
|Month||Size of Pension Fund||No. of Booked Appointments||Sat Rate|
I think the UK market is interesting for two main reasons. The first reason is that our brand RMT Group and RMT Direct Leads is well recognized in the UK by Independent Financial Advisors and Restricted Advisors alike because of its great reputation for high quality appointments offered, which has helped us achieve steady growth over the past 4 years.
Large financial advice networks and its advisors rely on our customer acquisition solutions, such as True Potential, SJPP and Charles Derby. We work in total with 35 financial advisor firms who have a constant demand of our appointments. We have now completed a large number of appointments and positive testimonials over the past 4 years that we now use to strengthen the positive image of our brand. We are also #1 on Google UK for many related financial services lead search terms.
The second reason is our role in the UK market. We have recently registered a Gibraltar that applies no VAT to the sale of services to the UK means we have a unique 20% advantage over our UK competition. Gibraltar itself is dominated by financial services and online gambling. It represents a big opportunity to take RMT Group to another level and expand volumes considerably.
How are financial services lead generation doing at the moment?
Since the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review in 2012 we have seen strong demand for financial services leads. To put it simply, it is now very feasible for a financial advisor to buy in leads and turn these into fees with relative ease as you now giving the consumer a service that should improve their financial situation. We have almost unlimited demand for our appointment service but the difficulty lies in generating the actual appointments which is becoming increasingly challenging. Through data profiling we have stemmed the natural decline in call rate conversions which has happened over the past 2 years due to PPI and Charity telephone campaigns which have impacted negatively in the consumers mind. Added to the recent clampdown by the Information Commissioners Office – the ICO on opted in data, resulting in Call Credit Group pulling out of the market for the supply of consumer data in February this year has made data acquisition very much more difficult. We have discovered that a appointment setting is still our strongest sector. It represents 60% of everything we do. We moved into the online financial services lead generation earlier this year which is growing steadily.
What strategy have you put in place?
There are three clear strategy points that I’ve been focusing on. We’ve been focusing on upholding the great brand that RMT Group represents. We must always be aware of perception in the market, our customer service, so that our brand stays strong. Our second strategy is to do business with both clients and end-users in both the online financial services sector and financial advisor appointment setting, which is our strongest area. Thirdly, to be the number one choice for high quality financial advisor appointments covering the UK.
Are there any activities or current projects you could talk to us about?
This year we have rebranded IFA Direct to IFA Direct Home and launched a brand new website and brand Local Professional Direct. This will enable RMT Group to expand into other verticals such as Mortgages, Insurance, Accountants and even Architects leads.
Could you tell us a bit more about your call centre, its structure and the people
We have colleagues who have spent a long time at RMT Group, such as Ann Causer and Peter Buckley. They know the product and our people very well. We’ve been working together for a long time. It is important to have trustworthy and reliable RMT Group colleagues.
Three years ago, we had the possibility to move to larger premises, which we did and more recently we added a second office for the online activities. We like to have a good atmosphere between our colleagues. We always do a summer event, this year being in Malaga and we also get together every year for the Christmas party in our favourite restaurant Ponchos. There are 15 of us all together in the office. There are a Operations Manager, two administration assistants ten co-ordinators, Charlotte Till who is the Operations Director and myself.
Could you tell us about your background?
After my university degree, I began my career as a trainee architect for the architectural firm Lawrence Tring Architect’s. I then had the opportunity to work as a technical coordinator for a social housing developer company in London, Lovell’s before moving on to Taylor Woodrow. After relocating to Spain 11 years ago, I started a new career in marketing overseas property and investments before setting up my own company. In 2012, I set up, with Charlotte Till, RMT Group (UK) Ltd a company providing financial services leads to the new restructured financial services sector before setting up RMT Group Limited in Gibraltar in 2015. We own the brands IFA Direct Home and Local Professional Direct. I live in Spain with my partner Charlotte Till and we have one son.
We get our fair share of rejected IFA appointments each month by our IFA clients. This was not one of our best IFA appointments!
I went to see Mr XXX at his home at 2:00 today. Mr XXX has 23 cats in his house, 4 turtles, 3 dragon lizards, chinchillas, and many other animals all over his house.
It was not very pleasant in the slightest.
Mr XXX said he was not sure of what I was coming to discuss with him. (In all fairness, he didn’t really let me get a word in for almost 30 minutes).
He said he has been contacted many times by yourselves to arrange an appointment, and he said that you have booked appointments with other advisory firms in the past and he has received txt messages from another advisor who was meant to come and see him but didn’t.
It turns out that he has a company pension with Jauguar that is still active. He has a small pension with Equitable Life with £5000 it. He also said he has another pension that he took out through work back in the late 80’s. He said he could not remember how much was in there, who it was with of what he had done with the statement. When I asked him howe much he thought was in there, he said ghe believes around the same amount as his Equitable Life pension (£5000). Based on the state of his house and how he lives, I don’t expect he will find it any time soon.
I told him that I would not be able to help him and that you may be in touch with him again.
When we asked for proof that the pension funds was below £12,500 – we was swiftly told by the IFA that even if he had a statement, it would no doubt be covered in cats urine! – We swiftly rejected the IFA appointment!
If you can identify your existing clients you can easily locate your future clients. RMT Direct Leads looked at 2,500 clients to find out the very DNA of its clients. Only 1 in 5 persons we currently contact matches a past client profile, but by employing client profiling – this goes up to almost 9 in 10 persons.
Although we won’t publish our full client makeup here we can reveal the TV Regions they reside in, the clients age and their household income.
STV North (Grampian) 0.3%
STV Central 2.4%
Tyne Tees 3.0%
Wales (HTV) 8%
West Country 0.4%
£60K + 4.8%
The Client Profiling has been created using the latest statistical methods to provide a detailed view of your customers and their key characteristics using actual volunteered consumer information, including demographic, lifestyle and financial information.
The RMT Direct Leads profile identifies the marketing DNA of its customers to improve efficiency and its brand appeal.
Key benefits of Client Profiling
- A greater understanding of our customers
- Better targeting of our products
- Better defined advertising messages
- Insight into potential markets
- Improved ROI and internal efficency
Meet long term client of RMT Direct Leads – Imran Ashraf, Chartered Financial Planner at Aspire Financial Management Ltd.
Imran Ashraf joined RMT Direct Leads as a former SJP Partner in August 2013. In 2015, Imran spent £18,000 on Pension Appointments. These were sucessfully converted into £70-80,000 worth of fees, giving a ROI of 344%. Todate, Imran has sat 99 appointments and is only one away from his first century with RMT Direct Leads!
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I have been in the financial advisory industry as an advisor for 10 years. At first honing my advisor skills and technical knowledge at HSBC bank, obtaining the prestigious Chartered Financial Planner status in 2012 and Fellowship status in 2015. In 2013 I decided to setup my own IFA practice and have not looked back since.
What areas do you cover?
I mainly cover the following areas:
How did you hear about RMT Direct Leads?
Through a google search a number of years ago
What do you like about our service?
Low rate of no shows
Majority of appointments are high quality
Pay after successful appointment payment terms
The appointments go direct into my diary and you have live access to my diary. This prevents double bookings and a more streamlined service.
How much revenue on average do you generate per 10 appointments?
What is your conversion rate for pension business?
What is your conversion rate for other business?
25% on the back of these generated appointments
How do we compare to the competition?
I have tried a lot of lead generation companies and have wasted literally thousands of pounds. All of these other lead generation firms have come and gone, but I remain a loyal customer to RMT as they deliver the best and most consistent results.
How can we improve?
Reduce cancellation/re-scheduled appointments
Book more high value clients