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Ownership move by Brain sparks competition fears

Mortgage Brain&#39s move to hand its ownership to a limited number of lenders has stoked fears that it could restrict competition in the market.

The platform, which is also set to announce its new chief executive in “days or weeks rather than months”, says in two years the consortium of lenders will own 100 per cent of the business from its current level of 51 per cent.

But Financial Technology Research Centre Director Ian McKenna warns that this will limit competition if Mortgage Brain achieves its ambition of becoming the single common trading platform while only having a selection of lenders on board.

Currently, Woolwich, Nor-thern Rock, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, HBoS, Nationwide and Alliance & Leicester hold equal shares and the platform is intending to add more equity members.

It is also in negotiation with around another four lenders to become non-equity members, including Coventry Building Society.

A number of people, including Jim Gaskin, who quit as chief executive of The Exch-ange last November following its takeover by Marlborough Stirling, have been muted as possibilities to take the helm at the platform but Mortgage Brain refuses to confirm any names.

Founding director Mike Green says he is withdrawing from the business and will leave when his contract ends in the second quarter of next year.

Green says: “We have shortlisted names for the new chief executive officer and the board will decide. A new chief technical officer will also be appointed and I guess the CEO will want to appoint a new sales director.”

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