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Dual prices just a phase, says Wyles

Nationwide non-retail executive director Matthew Wyles says the strategy of lenders undercutting brokers is only a phase and will not last.

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.”

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