Brokers’ petition on dual pricing gets brush-off from government

Kevin Duffy

Brokers were last week pleased that their voice had at least been heard despite the government rejecting their petition calling for a ban on dual pricing.

The petition was signed by 2,046 brokers and had been submitted two months ago by Ronnie B Financial.

In its response the government says pricing, terms and conditions of loans and mortgages are com-mercial decisions for banks and building societies.

Danny Lovey, proprietor of The Mortgage Practitioner, says the government’s response was predic-table but at least the authorities are now aware of brokers’ views.

He says: “One positive outcome is that the petition has had to go through due process and has been considered by the relevant minis-ters. This means they are aware of the strength of feeling among bro-kers and the prob-lems they face.”

David Holling-worth, head of com-munications at London & Country, says: “It is disappointing but the petition does help raise the issue of dual pricing and reminds the government that it has not gone away.”

The government says it is committed to promoting financial understanding across the UK.

It adds: “We believe that private intermediaries also have an impor-tant role to play and that a free national financial advice service will be beneficial to both consumers and the financial services industry as a whole. Better informed and financially capable consumers are better able to engage with the industry and are motivated to take greater responsibility for their financial affairs.

“In addition, the national finan-cial advice service will be able to help individuals to identify when they need regulated advice.”

The petition claimed lenders are creating unfair price discrimi-nation that limits independent ad-vice and affects small businesses.

But Kevin Duffy, managing director of Mortgageforce, says the government cannot intervene in commercial transactions.

He adds: “I expect dual pricing to be around for another 12 months. And while it is frustrating for bro-kers, we need to soldier on and have our day in the sun later because lenders know that growth in the mortgage market is reliant on intermediaries.”