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Survey shows increase in ARs

Analysis by Which Network reveals Pink Home Loans saw the biggest net loss of appointed representatives during the first quarter of this year.

Analysis by Which Network reveals Pink Home Loans saw the biggest net loss of appointed representatives during the first quarter of this year while Julian Harris Financial Consultants and Julian Harris Mortgages together saw the biggest gain.

Pink Home Loans had a net loss of 19 ARs while Julian Harris had a net gain of 42. Which Network says the reason for the gain was predominantly that some former Mortgage Times advisers joined the network.

Financial Limited, whose director Charles Palmer was fined £49,000 in March over pension switching failings, actually had the biggest net gain of 190 ARs but Which Network says this was mainly the result of advisers being transferred from Investments Ltd, which is part of the same group and so it has discounted these figures.

Across all the networks it looked at, there was a net increase of 285 ARs.

Which Network Director Paul Day says: “At last, we see an increase in appointed representative numbers, with a net increase of 285 firms.

Unlike some other commentators, I do not think advisers are leaving the industry in their droves. I still believe many of the former sole-trader AR firms opted for life as registered individuals instead.

“Mint and Homeloan Partnership continue with their steady increase in numbers. The networks losing AR firms seem to be clustered at the top of the table, with 68 per cent of firms leaving networks being attributed to the top five companies.”

Day says networks are reporting the FSA is being more stringent in the application process, in many instances requesting further information, causing delays to transfers. He says this is likely to get worse under the FSA’s proposals to create a controlled function for anyone advising on mortgages, as well as one for those with a compliance oversight functions.

He adds: “FSA resources will be stretched further, unless, of course, they outsource to a cheaper country.

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