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.