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Portals in a storm on IFA user figures

A row has broken out between intermediary portals, with AssureWeb claiming to have recorded its best-ever month in terms of active users and suggesting that IFAs could be switching from The Exchange.

The Exchange has immediately hit back, saying an increase in the number of active users on AssureWeb does not mean it has experienced a decline and that it remains the “portal of choice” for IFAs.

It says it does not understand the grounds for AssureWeb&#39s claim, arguing it is the number of online quotations, not active users, that show the real level of penetration in the IFA market.

Last month, AssureWeb says it totalled 2,500 active users, up by 25 per cent from 2,000 in January and up by 160 per cent from 1,000 in September 2002. It will not disclose the level of quotations but claims the growth in active users is partly down to IFAs leaving The Exchange, attracted by its service and range of facilities.

The Exchange says its rival&#39s growth is from a relatively small start and is nowhere near the 18,270 users it achieved in December last year. It says it processed 99 million quotations during 2002, up from 89 million in 2001.

AssureWeb chief executive officer Charlie Bryant says: “Quotations are an important part of the process but not the be all and end all. Our true aim is to provide end-to-end functionality, not promote ourselves as a quotation system. A lot more people who used The Exchange are now trying us out and staying with us.”

The Exchange PR manager Charlie Musson says: “We do not take our market position for granted and, as an independent company, are committed to ensuring we remain the portal of choice for IFAs.”

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