Portman panel cut slammed

Portman and The Mortgage Works have been criticised for reducing their surveying panel to just five firms.

Jonathan Cornell, technical director of Hamptons International Mortgages, says by doing this they are disadvantaging everyone as well as reducing competition.

Portman has decided to reduce the panel to Colleys, Wolton, Chancellors, e.surv and Countrywide/SPS.

It has also introduced a code of practice which states that if a mortgage broker challenges the rental assessment provided by the firm of surveyors, both they and the surveying firm have to make TMW aware of the challenge. If this does not happen the broker may be prevented from instructing surveys and the surveyor may be removed form the panel.

Cornell says: “Restricting the panel reduces competition which will disadvantage everyone, and challenges over assessments seems like paranoia. What’s worse is that they have not bothered to inform the surveyors who were on their panel but aren’t anymore.

However, Portman has defended its decision and says it is now able to work more closely with its panel.

Peter Southcott, director of mortgages at Portman, says: “We recently undertook a comprehensive review of our panel of valuers and the decision was made to focus on a reduced number with whom we could work more closely.”