We were very interested to read the article headlined, Portals in a
storm, in last week's issue of Money Marketing, describing the “row”
which has broken out between The Exchange and Misys' AssureWeb portal.
Everybody knows that The Exchange has been the dominant portal in the
industry for many years but the vast majority of IFAs and providers
are enthusiastic at the fact that alternative providers are now
successfully breaking this virtual monopoly.
For many years, adviser firms have been restricted by the lack of
choice and coerced into paying for services with little or no option
of any alternative. Similarly, for providers, the monopolistic
situation has effectively been a stranglehold on their distribution
plans, with hardly any room for sensible price negotiations.
When we started Webline in 1995, we did so in response to the needs
of advisers who wanted this element of choice and just needed a
simple online quotes facility at low cost.
Our quotation volume is currently running at close to a million
quotes a month, about 13.5 per cent of that quoted by The Exchange in
your article and probably 400 per cent more than both AssureWeb and
IFA Engine combined. Current growth patterns indicate this should
reach 20 per cent of The Exchange's volume by the end of the year.
We welcome more competition and more choice for all advisers. It is
a shame that the two companies most known in the quotation arena
choose to spend so much time publicly criticising each other. But it
does give those of us beavering away in the background the
opportunity to develop better alternatives, faster and at a more