Mortgage brokers have been left reeling by an advert from a well-known industry firm claiming that rival advisers prioritise profit over securing the right deal for the customer.
The Which? Mortgage Advisers advert, spotted on a train, states: “Get the mortgage that’s best for your pocket, not the broker’s”, while the small print reads: “At Which? our brokers don’t earn a personal commission. So the mortgage deal they recommend and arrange is the one that’s best for you, not for them.”
Fellow brokers have been up in arms at the inference in the ad that they would pursue the product with the highest commission, rather than that which is most suited to their client.
John Charcol director of products and mortgage technical Walter Avrili calls it a “cheap shot”. He adds: “We are all regulated by the FCA and spend a large proportion of our turnover, rightly, on compliance departments and sourcing systems to ensure clients get the right mortgage.”
Continuum financial adviser Nathan Stacey and Lentune Mortgage Consultancy managing director Stuart Gregory agree that the comments are based on pure conjecture and call out the firm for failing to mention their own fees and commission.
Stacey says he is “surprised to see such an unfounded and misinformed attack on fellow independent advisers. What evidence do they have that brokers advise on deals that suit us best? We’ll only ever advise the right deal for the client; the commission is irrelevant. Did Which? forget to mention their £499 ‘advice’ fee in that ad, too?”
Gregory says: “Clarity is important for any promotional advert. Which?’s advert doesn’t seem to explain that, although it claims advisers aren’t incentivised, the company receives the same commission that they allude to. It also seems to allege commission bias by other advisers, which is incorrect and very derogatory.”
The ad also caused a stir on social media, with brokers taking to Twitter to express displeasure. Mortgage Advice Bureau mortgage and protection adviser Daniel Clayton tweeted: “Even for the one or two lenders that do pay slightly higher commission, what broker in their right mind would risk their entire business, livelihood and reputation for a few quid more? This just doesn’t happen and that advert is a disgrace.”
Mortgage Advice Network partner Gary Wright wrote: “This is outrageous, grossly unfair, inaccurate, misleading and frankly childish. How on earth did @WhichUK think this was okay to print?”
In response to Mortgage Strategy’s requests for comment, a spokesperson for Which? Mortgage Advisers said: “Our mortgage advisers’ pay is never linked to the mortgage that they recommend. This is not the case for some others in the market and this advert was intended to make this point of difference clear.”
We did not receive a response to requests for the locations of the advert or how long it will remain in the public domain in its current form.