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Which? could widen scope of advice service

Which? says it has not ruled out offering further financial advice services following its decision to become a mortgage adviser.

The consumer body launches a new mortgage advice service, free to Which? members and their families and friends, later this month. It says its members demanded the service as they find it difficult to get “trustworthy advice”.

The phone-based service will look at all mortgage deals, including direct-only, and will be funded by Which? and any procuration fees paid by lenders. Advisers will be paid on a salary basis.

A Which? spokeswoman says: “There are no plans to diversify at the minute. This is in response to what members have said they want but we will continue to listen and re-examine if other services are needed.”

Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “I have reservations about the sustainability of their model. In terms of their brand, it is a bit like they have gone gamekeeper turned poacher.

“They have turned over to the other side of the fence under the premise that people are not getting trustworthy advice. That is less than helpful and unfortunate – there are plenty of good firms out there giving good advice.”

Affluent Financial Planning managing director Carl Melvin says Which? is wrong to move into providing advice.

He says: “Their leading proposition has always been that they are independent and impartial.

“I do not think it is a great move and the public – rightly or wrongly – will think less of Which? in terms of their credibility.”

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