It has been a dismal World Cup for the average England supporter, but whilst the Scots rejoice in our misfortune, we can reflect on the fact that with every negative there is a positive and lessons to be learnt for all of us.

So what can a bunch of overpaid, oversexed and overinflated egotists teach us all? The answer is simple. In order to deal with adversity and to move forward it is the team that is more important than any one individual, no matter how talented they may feel they are.

In our industry we have been to hell and back with, if the latest rumblings are to be believed, a possibility that more challenging times await us just around the corner.

Fears that a second credit crunch may be approaching are gaining momentum with the end date of support schemes both in the UK and Europe designed to assist banks and encourage lending coming firmly into view.

The fears of brokers and the public alike that we will see a return to more serious dual pricing, more expensive mortgage rates and more dramatic criteria tightening could lead to many businesses and individuals being exposed yet again.

What we as an industry do not want is for the number of brokers to drop past a serious figure of, as AMI have mentioned, around the 10,000 mark. If adviser numbers drop too far then there is an argument that we lose a critical mass that has the power to fight our cause with lenders and take care of the uplift when things eventually do start to return to normality.

For individual firms and the industry as a whole to see this through there has to be a large amount of teamwork.
There may have been some smug grins around when bigger brokers like Cobalt and Charcol went down, as well as several networks, and whilst there is no complaint from me to a clearing of the culture of arrogance and indulgence that blinded much of our industry for a while, these are now very different times and we need to support each other.

It starts from within the company. A recognition that we are all in this together and a dictatorial I am better than you approach will not help matters. The same goes for individual firms or spokespeople openly criticising other brokers. Healthy competition and cheeky banter is one thing, but for now co-operation is what is needed.

This also follows on to the relationship between lenders and brokers. We need to build bridges not burn them. The intermediary sales guys and girls I regularly see people moan to or about are under just as much pressure as brokers are. Their jobs are also on the line and they need our support and understanding to fight their internal battles, whether this be with the risk departments who now rule the roost, a Chief Exec who fails to see the benefit of brokers, or ultimately a regulatory body, Government or European Parliament who struggles to understand our industry.

We all have a simple choice. We can act like the England players and argue amongst ourselves about who is the best, or we can work together as a team towards ultimate success.

Whoever lifts the World Cup on July 11th will know one thing for certain, that they are the captain of the best team and that every member of the squad and training staff contributed to that success.

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