Would you get married for £1,500? Mortgage Strategy can think of few who would but that's the average pricely sum that three networks reckon prospective appointed representatives are willing to tie the knot for.
The move last week by Mortgage Intelligence, Mortgage Next and Pink Home Loans to scrap AR fees until Mortgage Day was brave. But was it necessary? There will be many who will argue that by jumping so soon they have done little more than undermine the value of their offerings.
Indeed, what are prospective ARs already signed up to the various propositions meant to make of it all – and what on earth have they been paying for all this time? The truth is that each of the proposed networks have few, if any, prospective members at all. For the few that have signed on the dotted line Mortgage Strategy is assured that all fees so far paid will be refunded.
Every prospective network has its own rationale so it remains a moot point as to whether more will follow suit.
Looking at it another way though, would you spend the next four months paying for a service that you can't use until October 31? Imagine paying a monthly fee for satellite television and not being able to watch it for another 120 days.
And that's one of the major stumbling blocks that the fee-charging networks are facing.
But another – and potentially more damaging – one is that maybe brokers have started to get smart. After all, prospective ARs are an asset. Valuable as a commodity – both commercially and financially – as a brand, and in number. The question on everyone's lips must surely be – how low will it go? Fees-free membership for all for ever?
It's worth pointing out that networks dropping their fees will ultimately result in lower proc fees as they attempt to balance their books.
Given that not one network has yet received approval to operate from the FSA, Mortgage Strategy suggests waiting just a little bit longer.