When will it be our turn?

We are doing a brilliant job and we should be bigging ourselves up!

“What?” I hear you say. “And why?”

This is the season of Awards. Actually, every year seems to bring more and more awards for ever more examples of good practice. There are awards for everyone from debt collectors to IT and communications professionals.

Brokers take time out of their already overworked lives to nominate, recommend and vote for lenders from all corners of the industry – bridging, commercial, residential, Asset Finance, Invoice Finance. Why is it, then, that nobody takes time to recognise our own hard work and our contribution to the industry? Without us bringing together different elements in the lending equation much of it would not happen.

Why is this? Why don’t we get accolades? When did we become so invisible and so self-effacing?

I have constantly written in the last few months about regulatory creep wrecking our industry because those in charge don’t really understand how it works. Isn’t it time we stood up and blew our own trumpet? We have such a story to tell them and the rest of the industry about the proactive work we do and the impact it has on the economy, the job market and the wellbeing of countless thousands of people!

The so-called luminaries of the UK finance industry, domestic and commercial lenders, bleat on self-righteously about their contribution to the economy whilst collecting their monthly corporate salary cheques. Many brokers, on the other hand, get no salary other than what they conjure out of fresh air by their own efforts, and they make a huge contribution to keeping the wheels of industry turning.

This is a call to arms as I believe that things need to change and the votes need to start going in both directions. Who gets to read about the broker who saved the business from collapse or who saved the family from being repossessed? Who reads about the broker who saved the family business where four generations currently work? Who hears about all the life-changing work that goes on day in and day out around the country, carried out by brokers who are probably too busy to publicise their own achievements or to bang their own drum?

These days society is obsessed with celebrity and it seems that celebrities can get an award for just turning up. On the other hand we do things that have a real and immediate benefit to society. Maybe we should be voting for our own champions who deliver best practice or best service. We have our own trade associations, the AOBP, the NACFB and AMI, to name but a few. Maybe they could follow the lead that has already been taken by the insurance industry which this year holds its prestigious awards in Sept at the Brewery in London.

Just think about the multitude of benefits of winning an industry award presented to an individual or company based on votes from peers, clients and an independent judging panel! Think of the marketing opportunities, both local, regional and national. Think about the benefits to the sector as a whole as awareness is raised and recognition is expressed.

The excellent work that Adam Tyler, chairman of the NACFB, has been doing in talking with the government could be strengthened by the existence of recognised industry champions. He would then be able to present the government with a standard bearer for the broking community, a known quotient, someone who exemplifies brokers and the benefits that the sector brings.

I will flesh out my ideas for this in a future article but meanwhile I would like to open this idea up to debate.

I think it is time for us all to start banging the drum, blowing the horn and getting off our backsides and telling the world that we are here, that we count and that we make a difference to society. An award would be a fitting symbol of that difference.