The advent of price comparison websites evoked a strong reaction from brokers - while most will attest there is no competition, is this ignoring the opportunity for collaboration? This week on Broker News TV we speak to Alex Parsons of RateCity.com.au for his insights.
Video transcript below:
Stephanie Zillman, Australian Broker TV
Stephanie Zillman: The advent of price comparison sites evokes a range of reactions from brokers. While most will attest there is no competition, that may be ignoring the opportunity for collaboration. Alex Parsons, CEO of RateCity.com.au says they don’t see price comparison sites as a replacement for brokers.
Alex Parsons, CEO, RateCity.com.au
Alex Parsons: I think price comparison websites can quite quickly enable consumers to understand their certain set of circumstances, their certain set of variables and what’s available for them as individuals, whereas you know brokers can take that one step further and have a much deeper more valuable relationship with that consumer and help them get to that point of decision making. And I can’t see, you know I think for a lot of brokers that should be, that should hopefully be a win-win situation for both them and the price comparison sites.
Stephanie Zillman: While Parsons says brokers will by no means become redundant, the role may need changing to tap into shifting demands of the market.
Alex Parsons: I don’t think the role of the brokers is becoming redundant, but it certainly is changing. I think that, you know with data at people’s and consumers fingertips really 24/7 and their ability to get a deeper understanding, the value that a broker delivers to a consumer is definitely changing and I think that’s one where it’s a much deeper relationship at a point in time where the consumer has some knowledge, but that broker will help that consumer really convert at the end of the day.
Stephanie Zillman: When it comes to the sheer 24 hour availability of data though, price comparison sites may have the edge.
Alex Parsons: I think price comparison websites can provide a vast array of different information in a timely manner for consumers, so really any time of any day and on any device for that matter as well. And so you know somebody could be at an auction for example on their mobile phone, comparing rates, somebody could be at their home at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night comparing rates, two instances or two scenarios whereby it might be difficult to get in touch with a broker.
Stephanie Zillman: Parsons says the sites rank search results based on price, because that is the consumer preference and research done online may well be the starting point between a consumer and their broker.
Alex Parsons: Yes certainly, certainly we don’t display every product in the market and we make no bones about that and we do have relationships with certain providers, I think as most broker networks do as well interestingly. There are some lenders who really don’t want, who don’t want to appear on our service and if that’s the case they won’t appear on our service. What we do find though is the most competitive lenders are the ones that typically go that extra mile and want to appear and want to have their products in comparison websites.
Stephanie Zillman: This is Stephanie Zillman reporting for Australian Broker TV.