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Pact to the future

By Guy Anker

Concordia was formed last week with the aim of using the power of five of the UK’s biggest individual mortgage brokers to negotiate improved terms with lenders. Money Marketing spoke to the chiefs at each of the five brokers that make up the high-net-worth broker consortium.

Alexander Hall chief operating officer Andy Pratt says: “My role as chairman is about co-ordination and it is a shared responsibility between the five of us. The aim is partly to establish ourselves as a group that has a certain volume as we potentially do not get what we may deserve in service as individuals. There has not been a similar group of directly authorised mortgage brokers before. Concordia only applies to the trade aspect of our business so there will be no change to branding as far as the customer can see.”

Chase de Vere Mortgage Management managing director Simon Tyler says: “We are speaking to our most popular lenders in the coming weeks and if and when they want us to sign as a contractual relationship, we will do that but that will be with the individual brokers as Concordia is not an entity – it is only a name.

“At a time when the market is at its least busiest, we can speak to lenders and many will be at functions in London, where we are all based. When we negotiate with lenders, we will have joint meetings with all Concordia members for the bigger ones but on smaller accounts we will be represented by one member.”

Cobalt Capital managing partner Julian Ingall says: “We are getting together on a trust basis to look at where we can go forward as a group. There were discrepancies in our pricing and the service levels we received from lenders. Having one voice is very powerful but getting exclusives is the main priority. A lot of people wonder why we have not done this before but in the past people have not given things away so as not to lose our competitive advantage over each other.

“We will sit down with len-ders and by January or February, we can take a look at the model for the second stage of our development. We will not run before we can walk and we are open-minded about new members and there are four or five brokerages that should be at the table.”

Hamptons International Mortgages managing director Kevin Duffy says: “This is the coming together of five large brokerages. We will work as a collaborative like Ramp or the PMPA in the packager market but this is not a club or a network. One of the main reasons why we have done this is to allow us to negotiate over products, including pricing, availability and flexibility or underwriting. Those factors will be common to all five of the group and we are stronger together. This has the potential to deliver significant savings to the lender fraternity as they can deal with one national account rather than five.

“Consumers will still buy a Hamptons mortgage from HBOS, for example, but the product will not differ from broker to broker other than the fee charged. It is a closed group at the moment and the intention is to stay that way for the next six to 12 months and then review it.

Savills Private Finance managing director Mark Harris says: “It is not just about better rates and proc fees but it is about distribution. Distribution is critical and we are looking to invest in common IT platforms. It is one voice and one negotiating table. It is a common agreement that we will not solicit staff between the five firms. The businesses are separate but there is a common objective that we will sign up for.

“The combined distribution should hit 10bn so within the mortgage industry we are one of the top five distributors now. People might ask why Savills is involved as we are the biggest of the five but we think this is a positive move. We will review the chair every 12 months and no one is employed by Concordia but it could come to that eventually.”

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