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Moneysupermarket weighs up options for intermediary arm

Comparison website Moneysupermarket.com says it’s considering a number of options for its intermediary business after the division saw a 41% fall in profits in 2008.

But this was against the backdrop of the overall Moneysupermarket.com group making a £51m loss before tax for the full year.

For the six months to the end of 2007 it made a profit of £9.4m – no comparable data for the previous full year has been published.

It says the internet business generated £172.5m of revenue representing an increase of 13% on 2007 and revenue in all of its other internet divisions grew compared with last year.

By contrast, within its intermediary business, profits fell 41% from £10.6m in 2007 to £6.3m in 2008.

Moneysupermarket.com blames the fall within the division on lower lending volumes in the UK mortgage market during 2008, adding that the group is currently “considering a number of options in respect of the intermediary business”.

The comparison website’s founder Simon Nixon originally started the firm with the development of the Mortgage 2000 sourcing system.

Mortgage Strategy revealed on Monday that Mortgage 2000’s sourcing system Encore was to be integrated into rival firm Mortgage Brain.

The firm explained that while it had a lot of affection for the system on which the rest of the company had been founded, Stuart Glendinning, director of mortgages at Moneysupermarket.com, warned that “in this market there was no room for nostalgia”.

Peter Plumb takes over as chief executive at Moneysupermarket.com from today, with Nixon moving up to become executive deputy chairman.

Plumb says: “”Because of the recession, we are currently trading at levels well below last year.

“My first task is to reconfigure the business for this lower level of revenue.

“We will review the cost base, we will extract more value from lower online and offline marketing spend, we will re-engineer our systems and get closer to our providers and customers.”

A decision on Moneysupermarket.com’s intermediary arm is set to be announced in a matter of days.

The company’s remaining intermediary businesses include Paaleads.com and its mortgage club.

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