Michael Bolton, the controversial former head of mortgages at BM Solutions, con- tinued his vitriolic attack on the packager market last week stating that it was the “clear loser of mortgage regulation”.Bolton, fresh from a two-week break in Barbados, says: “Since Mortgage Day, the clear losers have been mortgage packagers. Their position remains as grey today as before M-Day. If you are a principle with large appointed representative distribution, you are in the firing line more than ever if you have packagers on your lending panel.” Bolton says that if one of the principle’s ARs were to take advice from the packager to place a client and the deal turned sour, the packager would merely “crawl back under the stone from which it crawled out from, leaving the principle to pick up the pieces”. Bolton cites Personal Touch Insurance as one example of a network that has taken the threat seriously. PTI, ranked the fifth biggest distributor in the UK, recently asked all packagers on its panel for their last three years’ audited accounts. Bolton adds: “If PTI is so concerned you have to wonder about the health of that market. Packagers are, in most cases, banking the lending fee and, if you are a principle, you have to be prepared to be liable to pay a six-figure compensation sum if a packager goes belly-up.” Bolton’s sustained attack comes just months before he is expected to launch an as yet unnamed lender for The Oakwood Group. That lender, expected to launch in mid-September, is heavily rumoured to have three shareholders – Oakwood, Michael Bolton and investment bank Merrill Lynch, owner of Mortgages PLC. Bolton declined to comment on market speculation but it is widely believed that any new lender from The Oakwood Group would use limited distribution across all sectors of the market, including prime, self-cert, buy-to-let and sub-prime.