Positive picture for networks in Q1

The Q1 network table is based on the Financial Services Authority\'s figures as of April 10. The data shows that the top 18 networks had a positive net growth of just three appointed representative firms in the quarter.

But if we take out the three networks that show the biggest net losses and are classed as slowing – Sesame, Legal & General and Mortgage Broking Services – the positive result would be more like 154 ARs.

Despite the difficulties facing the industry, a number of networks continue to strengthen including Openwork, Personal Touch Financial Services, Vision Network, Home of Choice and Pink Home Loans. The remainder appear in the static category.

Regulation and rising costs are fast becoming the most important factors for brokers to take into account when considering their future and the networks see big opportunities here.

Consolidation has continued with Pink taking on BDS. Rumours abound that further mergers, takeovers or even rescue moves will take place as the year progresses.

Firms that offer a diverse range of products, not least IFA offerings, could be more resilient particularly as pressure continues to grow on mortgage volumes.

Based on lender feedback, quality of business is becoming a major influencing factor on relationships and networks will undoubtedly welcome this. The picture for networks is strong and appears to be improving – a positive trend that looks likely to continue.