A deal between IFA technology providers Synaptic Systems and The Exchange will leave just three major players in the quotations and new business services market.
Synaptic will bow out of the quotations and new business sector to concentrate on developing research software.
The move will leave The Exchange with 18,500 users, Assureweb with 16,000 and Webline with 9,000.
The deal gives Synaptic's 10,000 users desktop access to the Exweb service and The Exchange's advisers access to research software Synaptic Manager.
A similar agreement between The Exchange and Bank-hall-owned IFA Engine last year already lessened competition in the IFA quotation market.
Webline managing director Paul Holland says the move could benefit his firm as a previous contract that it signed with Synaptic means that Exchange IFAs researching protection products could be redirected to the Webline site for information.
The Exchange chief operating officer David Child says: “Joining forces ensures that both sets of customers have access to integrated e-commerce services which match their business processes.
“Intermediaries will be able to research quotes and buy financial products electronically, using market-leading services from one access point.”
Financial Technology Research director Ian McKenna says: “I would see them both as market leaders in their respective fields. It makes excellent sense for them to use each other's products. However, it is important that we have a vibrant and competitive market among quote portals. Three is probably the right number.”
Roberts Clarke Independent Financial Solutions adviser Jo Roberts says: “We seem to have come full circle but I do not think that the move will have much impact in terms of getting a quote. I would ask if Synaptic intend to lower their prices as a result of this.”