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On what criteria has BM based its seal of approval?

Shock, horror, BM is encouraging brokers to go direct rather than via packagers. I would have never guessed it.

BM clearly has an issue with packagers. This is its prerogative but who is it basing its judgement on? It certainly isn’t us. Maybe, just maybe, it is more indicative of the fact that it has been less than thorough about its selection of packagers in the past. Am I being controversial now?

The BM seal of approval implies that this glorious list of leading packagers are the only ones capable of doing a job. I would be interested to hear how it came to its decision.I would bet my annual bonus that the vetting was not as in depth as the due diligence process we endured to be approved to certain network panels. Now, in my opinion, that really is a feather in the cap because it tells me that what I am doing is right.

The strange thing is I do not remember getting a letter saying we were not approved by BM, let alone the reason why or what we needed to do to reach the required standards. In fact, it never visited our offices, nor spoke to me on the phone – not that I wanted it to.

If the purpose of the FSA is, among other things, to make the industry more transparent, then it hardly seems appropriate to use scaremongering tactics to corner brokers into going direct to lenders, as I read in Money Marketing. Thank the Lord the comment was run alongside a contribution from a more sober Peter Beaumont, who is happy to set his stall out and let the brokers be the judge as to their value.

Packagers still have an important role to play. I am bound to believe that, of course, because here I remain. Selling spuds can wait.

The question in my mind is how should brokers find the best deal for their client – through sourcing systems alone? Don’t make me laugh. I am also sure that submitting online to one lender alone does not qualify as good research, either. It is my strong belief that sourcing systems will never, ever replace welltrained, highly-experienced human beings who can apply intelligence outside the box when it comes to more complicated deals.

No one in our organisation discusses an enquiry until they have been with the company for at least six months and been on a rigorous training programme.

Ask any broker who uses sourcing systems and they will give you examples of incorrect sourcing – that the system is clearly showing them, for example, that Alliance & Leicester will do 10 county court judgments at 95 per cent for a first-time buyer but that MPLC will not allow one missed payment at 70 per cent when we all know it will.

Coincidentally, I have spoken with an intermediary today who has sourced a case which is showing a completely incorrect procuration fee.

Our real raison d’etre is that brokers can harness our intelligence alongside sourcing systems and use us to process the application because we are better at it and because, if the deal falls off the production line, we can switch to an alternative product easily and efficiently – saving the client time and money – if that is alright with everyone.

Perhaps if BM spent more time attending to the real issues at home, it would unearth more productive things to attend to. Driven by Michael Bolton and now his clone Alan Cleary, it seems to take pleasure in whipping up controversy.

My message to BM is clear – don’t go out on a limb just for the sake of free press. It is not big and it is not clever. Stop spouting drivel and check your facts.

Nobody doubts the recent success you have enjoyed. But with success, and a new regime, comes responsibility. If you wish to be a leading light, then you should act accordingly.

Shaun Vickery
Operations director,

The Select Partnership,


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VCTs are especially attractive to investors after the Chancellor enhanced the tax breaks but there are other investment opportunities to consider ahead of the tax year end.


Natixis Global Asset Management’s quarterly Portfolio Barometer offers insights into UK financial advisers’ model portfolios and the allocation decisions they are making. Natixis’s Portfolio Research & Consulting Group works with financial advisers and other intermediaries to analyse and enhance their model portfolios and help them develop investor portfolios suited to today’s complex markets. The Portfolio […]


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