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Abbey could pay brokers to sell current accounts

Abbey is considering paying advisers for selling current accounts and other non-advised products alongside mortgages.

At the Abbey Key Accounts Conference in Ascot on Tuesday, Abbey and Alliance & Leicester head of intermediaries Ricky Okey said the firm might offer fees to advisers that sell its bank accounts.

He said: “We are going to push Abbey non-core IFA products, like bank accounts, savings and the like. We can use the accounts in a bundled way with a mortgage. But nothing has been confirmed about remuneration, it is too early to call right now. It is a very important opportunity for us and hopefully it will be for customers and brokers too.”

Abbey says it has been running pilots over the last 12 months and plans further testing this summer. So far, advisers have not been paid for selling the extra products.

Okey hit back at recent criticism of the company’s reten- tion strategy where it wrote to some customers offering a dir- ect remortgage without an early redemption charge.

He said this will continue for the next two months but the bank would also be developing a retention strategy through intermediaries with new exclusives on offer, although he ruled out paying a retention fee. He said the letters to customers would be adding a paragraph suggesting they may want to seek financial advice before remortgaging.

Okey said: “We should be applauded for this. It is not a symbolic token.”

Savills director Melanie Bien says brokers are looking for additional income and may welcome remuneration for new product areas. But she adds: “It is important to put clients first and there is a danger in recommending something like a current account if you have not looked at the alternative options available.”

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