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Which? defends adviser remuneration model

Which? has defended its remuneration model of paying its mortgage advisers a salary rather than commission, as it officially launches its mortgage advice service today.

It says any procuration fees will not be taken by advisers and instead donated to campaigning work for Which?.

Last week the Association of Mortgages Intermediaries questioned the reliability of the salary model and compared it to that used by Equitable Life.

Speaking at last week’s Mortgage Expo Robert Sinclair, director of AMI, told delegates that it will be interesting when the consumer champion gets its first complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

He said: “It is being brave because it is trying to promote something  good for consumers, but it is also a commercial move.”

But Which? says commission will in no way influence the mortgage recommendation that its advisers provide and on many occasions, it will receive no commission at all.

It adds that it won’t charge a fee for its advice but if a customer would feel more comfortable paying it a fee, it offers that option.

Chris Gardner, commercial director at Which?, says: “People are faced with many sources of information and advice when it comes to buying a house or looking to remortgage.

“We’ve listened to our member requests and have launched an impartial advice service that will ensure they get the mortgage that is right for them, whichever lender it comes from.

“Our advice will be tailored to each customer and take into account their individual circumstances, borrowing needs and their plans for the future.

“Choosing the right mortgage can be a difficult decision so we’re offering advice from someone people can trust and who gives them the full picture.”

The firm says that its customers told it that they want it to go one step further from information and give personal mortgage advice.



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  • steve 18th November 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I cant get my head round the fact Which will not charge an advice fee but clients can pay one if they want?? Is this new venture to be a registered charity? Also given so many comparison sites etc available, the public can easily find best buy information. It is the service leading to and during application my clients appreciate and given Which? will likely just put clients onto the best Direct deal I cant see how they intend to offer a comprehensive service. What do they do when a client is declined by a direct deal? Offer another option, then another? or will Which get Credit Files for appeals etc??
    This venture is ill thought out, doing half a job is often worse than doing nothing so why get involved? For every complaint they receive many more will just feel let down but as no fee paid just think, Ah well! What Which? will succeed in doing is assisting some clients to obtain free advice and service their own applications, making no income for Which? My subscription will be cancelled, I’m not sponsoring my own demise and the model suggested will not stand up in it’s own right.

  • dave lamb 18th November 2010 at 10:24 am

    Both the AA and RAC made a successful transition from a member services to full commercial ops. I see no reason why which cant do the same. At the end of the day the consumer will decide.

  • anon 18th November 2010 at 10:21 am

    This thread is full of whinging brokers who think they are owed a living. The fact is that the winds of change are blowing and small brokers are doomed – lenders and FSA think small brokers are fraud portals and customers just dont trust you.

  • anon 18th November 2010 at 10:21 am

    This thread is full of whinging brokers who think they are owed a living. The fact is that the winds of change are blowing and small brokers are doomed – lenders and FSA think small brokers are fraud portals and customers just dont trust you.

  • mark wilkins 17th November 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Oh dear this has disaster written all over it. I hope they know what they are doing…….watch this space!

  • Payam Azadi 17th November 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Which need to figure out what they stand for now days.

    Take a look at this website. It seems they have done this with within the legal sector also….

  • robert clayton 17th November 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Lots of wishes of good luck for Which? in the forum – they’ll need it, given their record on past financial recommendations. Don’t forget the Fire Auto & Marine debacle, in which their ‘Best Buy’ motor insurance provider crashed leaving thousands of trusting Which? readers with no cover and the owner of the company in prison for fraud. Caveat emptor!

  • John Cena 17th November 2010 at 11:41 am

    I don’t see how it can be claimed that they are deceiving clients into thinking they aren’t receiving commission.

    This will be obviously disclosed in the KFI where received. Simple as that.

  • Julian Thornhill 17th November 2010 at 11:15 am

    Which are deceiving clients into thinking they won’t receive commission. Any commission received will be going to Which under the guise of supporting a consumer watchdog. Oh, that would be Which. Which need to pay their bills like the rest of us, including salaried advisers. This begs the question – if Which aren’t going to charge a fee for advice then they must only be recommending commission paying products. This is hardly in the consumers interest as most of the best deals are direct. If this isn’t the case – then their business model is flawed as they have just added some very expensive overheads, but won’t get any income i return. I will give 6 months.another marketing gimmic – what a load of c**p

  • Chris Simpson 17th November 2010 at 10:59 am

    With no incentive to really get stuck in to the difficult cases will the advisers at Which? say to clients that there is nothing available when potentially, a hungry and tenacious adviser will leave no stone unturned and come up with a solution? The vast majority of advisers have integrity in how they deal with clients – what is wrong with someone earning a bonus for helping solve a client’s financial/mortgage problems correctly?

  • Paul Tilley 17th November 2010 at 10:42 am

    So if you are not happy with the outcome of the Which? transaction and you tell them will they do a double page article in their magazine slagging themselves off?

    What next, the FSA setting up a team of their staff to ‘arrange’ mortgages?

  • Neil Bellamy 17th November 2010 at 10:36 am

    ggod to see a new independent service for consumers – but a big big step for Which, I wish them luck. Perhaps they will help all independent advisers by heavily premoting independent rather than restrictive advice. I do think they should have instead set up a lead generation service to independent brokers though! They could simply then drop any Brokers were qualified complaints are received – they could even having a service rating tags online….

  • pstoney 17th November 2010 at 10:21 am

    lenders now all pay the same procuration fees anyway apart from a few more specialist lenders. the industry has sorted itself out .it is a different world to that which existed 2 years ago

  • Mike Galvin 17th November 2010 at 10:11 am

    So Which’s customers have told them that they want an Advice and recommendation service rather than information on the products and providers available in the market place.

    Funny how if you ask certain questions, you get to the answer you wanted to hear !!!!

  • A Has Been 17th November 2010 at 9:57 am

    No matter how good your service, you will always get complaints. Anonymous is right, this could go horribly wrong!!

  • Nick 17th November 2010 at 9:52 am

    this could go horribly wrong for Which, remember it was changing the model that destroyed so many building societies

  • Leslie Squires 17th November 2010 at 9:48 am

    Which? says any procuration fees will not be taken by advisers and instead donated to campaigning work for Which?.

    This sounds to me like Which? moving funds around to be politically correct?

    Which? I wish you every success in offering mortgage advice particularly if you are transparent in your dealings.

  • Sean 17th November 2010 at 9:22 am

    Wow… Which? are offering something that brokers do already… “Our advice will be tailored to each customer and take into account their individual circumstances, borrowing needs and their plans for the future”

    It’s amazing that they are offering something that the FSA says we have to do anyway!!!

    I can’t wait for their first complaint… Don’t forget… This is the “consumer champion” that used to show best buy tables for Low Cost Endowments and we all know how that ended… Oh!

  • vp73 17th November 2010 at 9:16 am

    Which? seem to be insinuating that advisors that do not work for Which? make their recommendations based upon the amount of potential commission earned. That is certainly not the case and never has been for the vast majority of advisors. I think Which? needs to step down from their ivory tower and apologise for making such sweeping remarks.

    Even for advisors that would potentially arrange business based on commission earned, I find that all lenders pay almost exactly the same amount of commission now so I cannot see where this argument of theirs even comes from.

    This is a new venture for Which? and they are already saying they can provide someone customers can trust, which insinuates that all the advisors that have been doing this job for years either do not know what they are doing or they cant be trusted.

    I feel for Which? to provide mortgage advice goes against what it stands for and creates a huge conflict of interest between the Consumer group business and making enough money to pay their newly appointed advisors.

    I used to be a great supporter of Which? but my feeling have changed dramatically now.

  • Tom Moloney 17th November 2010 at 8:51 am

    Best of luck to Which? on the launch of their new service. I have no doubt it will be a success.

    At CCCS Equity Release we opertate a very similar model, no advice fee and salaried advisers. My advisers are experienced and highly motivated individuals who are fairly remunerated and rewarded for their excellent work.

    At such a difficult time and with more clients going direct to lender, I do not understand why our industry does not view this launch as positive confirmation of the importance of independent advice!

    Maybe it will encourage more firms to think beyond the traditional model which is obviously not working as well as it should.