Abbey believed to be looking at networks’ books

Abbey is believed to be asking to see networks\' accounts as part of a review of its mortgage distributors.

Industry sources say the lender is reviewing its relationship with networks and clubs to ensure they cannot damage its reputation.

The news comes at a time when some networks are failing to pay their appointed representatives’ proc fees on time.

An Abbey spokesman would not comment on whether it is asking networks for their accounts but says it is asking them to disclose sensitive information.

He says: “As part of our ongoing assessment of our business posi-tion we regularly request strategic information from the mortgage distributors that we work alongside as our commercial reputations are closely aligned.”

He says that although some of the information Abbey is asking for is commercially sensitive, it has given a legally binding commitment that it will not disclose any information itreceives.

One source says: “Under the surface, some big lenders such as Abbey are looking closely at the networks they do business with and checking they are financially sound.”

Dev Malle, sales director at Personal Touch Financial Services, says: “I call on all lenders to carry out checks on their networks.

“Advisers look at the finances of networks before they join and len-ders too should look carefully at the firms they deal with.”

One top six lender recently warned networks that if they don’t start paying brokers on time it will pay them direct.

Several networks have been suffering cash flow problems as a result of a fall in business volumes. The longer networks hold onto brokers’ commission payments the more interest payments they receive from their banks. Some ARs have started legal action against the offending networks.