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Jewel pricing

There has been considerable emotion shown over the last 12 months over the subject of dual-pricing and while some in their naivety suggest it is no longer a concern, it remains one of the biggest threats to advisers’ ability to give best advice.

A number of lenders have highlighted that brokers have short memories and that often dual-pricing has worked in their favour and they are right. But why? It was at the time when lenders, who after all priced the products, wanted volume business which they simply could not drive through their retail networks. Often, it is not dual-pricing that is the issue but the extent of the differential.

It is easy to get on your soapbox as an intermediary about this subject but that is not my intention. I want to recognise the lenders who are supporting the intermediary by not dual-pricing. Some lenders have recognised that reducing margin via the branch channel not only alienates the broker but it also becomes more expensive to win that business back when volume becomes important again.

Who are the lenders who have shown absolute support of intermediaries by not finding it necessary to favour the retail channel on pricing and recognising the support that intermediaries have given them when intermediary volume was more important?

I apologise in advance for any that I do not mention but the lenders who currently stand out are Nationwide, Coventry (Godiva), Northern Rock and Woolwich (despite the restricted funds managed through their phone booking service).

If I was going to criticise my colleagues in the intermediary sector, it would be for the lack of recognition that these guys are given in not pricing in favour of their retail channels, especially when we know they will be under pressure from their colleagues internally to do exactly that.

So if I can talk on behalf of the intermediary community, I would like to say thank you to these lenders for their support. I would also like to ask the intermediary community to be proactive in recognising these players and reassure their sales teams that it will not be forgotten. We are often quick to shout when we feel aggrieved with lender actions, I urge you now to shout in support of the business partners who are showing commitment to you.

Ultimately, as intermediaries, we have to give best advice to our clients so cannot ignore product pricing but this is an opportunity to show the lending world that we are a powerful unit that can influence UK lending distribution, in particular, when volumes become more important again we will show support for those who have defended the intermediary position.

From the lender’s perspective, they must remember that those who remain after the economic culling has finished will carry significant distribution strength and we will not forget that support.

Dev Malle is group sales director at Personal Touch Financial Services

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