Trying to offer a little bit of extra service

Q: How is MX Financial Solutions structured?

A: MX Financial Solutions is a provider of financial advisory services that was originally created by Bristol & West, part of the Bank of Ireland group. It was launched in November 2001, following the merger of IFA Willis National with financial website Moneyextra. However, Bristol & West does not influence the way MX Financial Solutions operates in any way.

Q: What services does MX Financial Solutions offer?

A: We help all segments of the consumer and corporate markets to make the most of their money by offering a multi-channel, multi-product service. We act as an interpreter; guiding individuals through the world of financial information to help them to find the most appropriate solution for their financial needs. We recognise that you don&#39t always need a full face-to-face meeting to arrange the solution for every financial need. For example, tax planning may call for detailed advice, whereas choosing a new credit card or home insurance policy may not.

Q: What about corporate services?

A: We provide professional advice to employers via advisers throughout the UK on how to implement affordable employee-benefit schemes. In addition to traditional packages, we offer tailor-made schemes by designing and implementing innovative benefits to motivate staff.

A strength of the business is the research that is conducted via our specialist pension, administration and investment analysts. Corporate services include: strategic employee-benefits reviews; employee-benefits due diligence, including actuarial support during acquisitions, mergers and scheme wind-ups; professional introducers; retirement and redundancy; occupational pensions, group personal pensions and stakeholder pensions; retirement arrangements for high earners; group death in service, including group disability, group medical, multinational pooling of risk benefits; key person cover, shareholder and partner protection; benefits packages for overseas secondees and foreign nationals in the UK and investment consulting.

Q: How does MX Moneyextra fit in?

A: It is the online consumer service for MX Financial Solutions, offering a comprehensive source of up-to-date financial information through a single channel. The website has more than 350,000 registered users and over 400,000 visitors per month.

The site offers step-by-step guidance and help on a full range of financial services to help individuals develop personal portfolios and manage their money more effectively. Online tools compare rates and features to find the best deals on a wide range of products including ISAs, credit cards, current accounts, deposit accounts and personal loans, as well as 6,822 mortgage products from 149 providers. Online guides offer an in-depth summary and guidance on a range of financial products and services. A glossary is available to help cut through the financial jargon to gain a better understanding of financial products and services. There is news and editorial comment on important financial issues, and registered users can opt to receive daily closing stockmarket reports, weekly investors&#39 diaries and a monthly newsletter highlighting new features on the website. It also offers a range of consumer product segments, including an investors centre which incorporates online share trading, portfolio tracking services and stockmarket tools.

Q: And MX Moneyextra Mortgages?

A: This is a web-based mortgage comparison service which offers access to over 6,822 mortgage products from 149 providers. The comparison service is supported by the mortgage contact centre, where specialist staff provide product advice and guidance from start to completion on mortgaging and remortgaging. It takes just 15 minutes to find the right mortgage deal. MX Moneyextra Mortgages can be accessed from www.mxmoneyextra.com.

MX Moneyextra Mortgages has created an independent service that offers consumers a swift and simple way to compare mortgage products either online or over the telephone. The service is free and impartial. An online conveyancing service is also available.

The mortgage comparison service enables consumers to view the whole picture of the products they are assessing. They can compare monthly premiums or lowest initial cost with the actual cost in interest charges over the whole life of the mortgage. This gives them the ability to compare mortgages on criteria they themselves choose rather than getting a stock comparison simply based upon repayment costs.

The one-stop mortgage facility is available to all consumers who decide to arrange a mortgage through MX Moneyextra Mortgages. Users can also compare and purchase a whole range of personal and home-related insurance products and, through a link to Conti Financial Services, it is even possible for customers to arrange a mortgage on properties overseas.

Q: Who do you consider to be your rivals in the marketplace?

A: The fact that we offer a wide range of financial products and services makes it difficult to define a rival that offers a similar proposition.

Q: How do you see the mortgage industry in two years&#39 time?

A: There will be further consolidation. This may mean fewer lenders in the marketplace, as some of the smaller brokers will not have the resources to comply with new legislation. The big brokers will get even bigger.

More diverse products for niche markets will be offered to the consumer. There has already been a proliferation in buy-to-let, let-to-buy, graduate mortgages, divorcee mortgages, new build mortgages and current account mortgages, all of which have been especially designed to suit changing consumer lifestyles. Growth in equity release is predicted to continue and some lenders believe this could eventually be bigger than the mortgage market. There is likely to be growth in the light to medium adverse credit market because, as a nation, we are much more used to having debt.

Q: What was your reaction to the Treasury&#39s decision to regulate mortgage advice?

A: Regulation of mortgage advice will be good for the consumer, which has to be good for the industry. As the mortgage industry has grown rapidly over the last few years, so has the level of confusion for the average consumer.

Within our current marketplace there are still a large number of people who are paying too much for their mortgage, because they do not understand the principles of remortgaging. The Treasury&#39s decision should make it easier for people to understand how they can save money in this way.

MX financial solutions

MX Financial Solutions is one of the UK&#39s leading financial advisory services. It was created by Bristol & West, and was launched in November 2001, following the merger of IFA Willis National with financial website Moneyextra. It employs 336 staff. The company includes MX Moneyextra Mortgages, a web-based mortgage comparison service, based in Bristol (pictured above). This one-stop mortgage facility allows users to compare and purchase 6,822 mortgage products from 149 providers, as well as a range of personal and home related insurance products.