Network Review: Embroidery of AR numbers

A quarterly round-up of appointed representative networks  

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Brokers are telling us that, in the main, the second quarter was a good one, with the housing market continuing to rise along with the number of mortgages. 

Remortgages still faced problems, with affordability (or lack of it) continuing to block many potential borrowers. This is unlikely to radically improve in the near future so we will just have to wait until it sorts itself out.

In terms of recruitment, other than changes caused through major acquisitions or problems, movement within the sector was fairly subdued. This is typical when business is good. 

To illustrate this, Q2 saw 195 authorised representatives join a network, whereas the same period of the dark days of 2010 saw 645 (see table below). And this is not just symptomatic of a shrinking industry. In the same timespan, 172 ARs left networks this year, compared to 718 doing so back in 2010.

A major issue in Q2, however, was some huge exaggerations of business-writing AR numbers. To spare blushes I will not mention any names but here are a couple of examples: one network said it had more than 100 ARs when the FCA register clearly showed just seven, while another trumpeted the fact it had over 1,000 ARs when the FCA register actually showed under 500. 

Nothing wrong with a bit of salesmanship, you may think, but I believe there is a dark side to this. “Pull the wool over their eyes” and “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” spring to mind.

Drilling down to the numbers now, Intrinsic gets number one spot again with an overall increase of 39 ARs. This was at least partially fuelled by its status as one of Sesame’s preferred exit options, which meant Sesame would pay any professional indemnity excess for moving to the network. 

In second place was First Complete, doing well with an increase of 13 ARs. Meanwhile, Stonebridge took third place numerically with an increase of nine ARs, or first in percentage terms, showing growth in its AR base of 5 per cent.

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