PTI questions viability of networks

Personal Touch Insurance is calling on intermediaries who have opted to join other networks to consider whether they have made the right decision for the future
of their business.

Mike Allison, managing director of Personal Touch Insurance, says: “On Mortgage Day 2004, PTI emerged as the financial services network with the largest number of mortgage appointed representatives registered on the FSA website, with no less than 600 intermediary firms listed.

However, it is clear that many networks have fallen considerably short of their recruitment targets.

Since M-Day, a further 150 firms have registered as ARs with PTI bringing the total to 750.

He warns: “This can only cast a serious doubt over their future viability as networks and their ability to deliver to their members the range and quality of services expected.

“I would urge these intermediaries to review their decisions in the light of these changed circumstances.”

Allison points to four main reasons why intermediaries might consider changing their network.

If networks which fall short of target business volumes may not be able to sustain free services to their ARs, e.g. free PI cover, free sourcing systems, and may have to implement a fee.

Providers may withdraw the commission and procuration fee terms they have offered networks if the recruitment of ARs by those networks falls below expectations.

Smaller networks may lack the capital requirements to
remain in business.

Some networks may lack an adequate compliance infrastructure to cope with business.

PTI is authorised by the FSA as a total financial services network and, subject to their qualifications, ARs can conduct pensions and investment, protection, mortgage and general Insurance business.

The company says that as part of the PTI Financial Services Network model ARs unauthorised in certain areas will able to use specialists within the network to distribute health care and other core financial services products.

Another advantage it says it has over competing networks is its financial strength.

The share issue taken up by the giant Aegon Group has enabled PTI to invest substantially in its future.

PTI says this has been a key factor in the network’s rapid growth and ability to implement state of the art business management technology for its members.

Allison adds: “By offering a wider product range, we offer a great way for businesses to increase bottom line income and reduce dependency on one product area.

“Clearly, our strategy of devoting considerable effort and resources into building an infrastructure able to meet the genuine business needs of intermediaries is paying big dividends.

“Listening to and understanding our customers needs has also been a significant factor in the success of our proposition.

“PTI anticipates it will be one the UK’ s top three financial services networks within the next two years. Its AR proposition is fees free and includes PI cover.

“Other key features include, independent access to the full marketplace with no restrictive panels of product providers.

“Top commissions and procuration fees. ARs retain client ownership and renewals for life. Access to
research facilities and sourcing systems.

“Full back office support via the revolutionary new PTI dashboard business administration system.

“ARs build a capital asset they own and control.
PTI also offers intermediaries further opportunities to develop a one stop shop or financial services supermarket for their clients, by providing ways of building additional income streams for their business.”