He says Nationwide is offering cheaper rates through its branches because of funding constraints but says when these ease, it will change its policy. Wyles says: “To be honest, we are not doing that much business direct. It is all a bit of a storm in a teacup.”
The FSA has clarified that brokers can charge a fee for advising a client to go direct as long as they produce their own key facts illustration and Wyles says he does not have a problem with this.
He says: “Providing that consumers understand what they are paying for, then of course brokers can charge for advice. I have certainly said that advisers are able to do that for our direct products. I think that all the adviser will be doing is advising them on a presence of a product. I think it would be a bit odd to advise on the suitability of a product. If I were an adviser, I probably would not do that. For finding a product, that’s fine.”
He says Nationwide’s policy is to be transparent so intermediaries can easily get hold of the KFIs for direct products.
Wyles concedes that intermediaries are in a very tough environment. “It is quite natural there will be emotions flying around. We understand their anxieties and we have been prepared to let them have their own say. I do think it is a phase and it will not last indefinitely.”
But he warns it is still going to be a very slow uphill process before normal conditions return to the mortgage market. “The wholesale mortgage market is marginally more benign than two months ago but it could all still flip-flop.”