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It was great to see swaps creep down for a change last week. They edged back after about four weeks of steady increases. Longer term swaps decreased sharply.

One-year money is down 0.03% at 5.42%

Two-year money is down 0.08% at 5.33%

Three-year money is down 0.11% at 5.28%

Five-year money is down 0.14% at 5.16%

Happy 10th birthday to Premier Mortgage Service. PMS has helped level the playing field so that small firms can get the same products and proc fees as brokers from large firms. Well done to John Malone, the Godfather of our industry, and his team.

I was amazed at the level of press coverage Abbey’s income multiple increase generated. To be honest, the income multiples are not that high. Some of its fellow lenders’ affordability-based offerings are so high they make Abbey look like Scrooge.

I was surprised that Abbey did not switch to affordability-based decisions like most of its competitors, as these make more sense than income multiples to me.

But it was a shame brokers had to read about these changes in the press rather than them being communicated directly to us.

Personal Touch has launched a couple of buy-to-let exclusives with Bristol & West. Landlords can have a 5.2% tracker at base plus 0.45% for three years available to 85% with a 999 fee or a 5.35% tracker at base plus 0.60% for three years with free valuation and legals with a 999 fee up to 85%. The rental coverage needs to be 100% of the mortgage at 6.5%.

Make sure you take a look at Advantage’s Flexishare product. This allows first-time buyers to get on the ladder and will let other home owners move up. It’s a great product but too complicated to explain here so check out its website where you will find an excellent explanation.

Woolwich’s decision to go direct to consumers if more information is required and the broker is unavailable seems to have been made without consultation with brokers. I can imagine for some brokers this may be suitable but for most it is not something they need or want. One of the reasons clients use brokers is to have a single point of contact. If Woolwich starts calling clients this will no longer be the case. I can see this creating terrible problems.

If a lender asks a broker for more documentation, the broker obtains this from the client and forwards it to Woolwich. If this is not acted on instantly, someone from Woolwich calls the client if they can’t speak to the broker. The client will think it’s the broker’s fault for not forwarding documents.

If Woolwich wants to persist with this system it should give brokers the choice of whether or not they want their clients contacted. My suggestion to Woolwich would be to get its own house in order before it tries to do our jobs.

It was disappointing to see The Mortgage Business send an email with the following text: “The following products are being withdrawn on Nov-ember 2 2006: TBE 593, 594, 595, 596, 597, 454, 598, 600, 629, 618, 539, 541, 542, 543, 458 TBE 553, 554, 555, 556, 568, 567, 570, 592 and TBE 540 TFP 162, 163”. But it re-deemed itself later that day by sending an email with a nice PDF showing product descriptions for these codes.

Halifax pulled its 4.59% two-year fixed rate. I am not sure how much longer its 4.79% two-year fixed rate will be available so don’t delay applications.

After saying that clients can have up to nine buy-to-let properties with it, Cheltenham & Gloucester has cut this back to three.

Royal Bank of Scotland Intermediary Partners launched some new rates including, through First Active, a two-year fix at 5.20% with a 699 fee, a two-year fix at 5.30% with a 499 fee, a three-year fix at 5.45% with a 499 fee and a two-year buy-to-let fix at 6.09% available to 80% LTV with a 499 fee. RBS has the same two and three-year fixed rates.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages


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Guide: how to… communicate with your pension members

Effective communication of your pension scheme is a large part of getting auto-enrolment right. Delivering the same message to all employees is not necessarily the way to go. To assist you with the communication of your pension scheme, we have provided some key areas to think about, such as:

  • What to consider when segmenting your workforce
  • How to communicate to pension scheme members at the right time in their member lifecycle
  • What topics you should be discussing with your pension members
  • The new pension freedoms and the importance of communicating them


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