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Which? report shows divide between sales and advice

Which? research which highlighted major shortcomings in the mortgage advice given to consumers has been welcomed by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries for showing that independent brokers give the best service.

Which? conducted mystery shopping among 50 advisers, including 24 bank advisers, 13 estate agents and 13 independent advisers. Only four were judged to have done their job properly and, of those, three were independent.

AMI director general Chris Cummings says: “We are grateful that the report highlighted for consumers the difference between sales and advice. Consumers must be made aware what they are receiving. Independent mortgage advisers provide advice that is focused wholly on the individual consumer’s needs.

“In contrast, banks and build- ing societies may offer only generic information. Our recent research showed 8 in 10 consumers chose to use an intermediary precisely because of the value of advice. During difficult periods in the market, consumers need advice more than ever.”

However, Cummings adds that the report could have done more to distinguish its findings between the actions of independent advisers and those who sell products.

To pass the test set by Which?, advisers needed to provide and explain all required documentation, ensure that the individual could afford to repay the mortgage, explain available deals and repayment methods and advise on the most suitable option. Forty-one advisers failed to give one or more pieces of important information and 35 did not properly check that the individual could repay the mortgage.

The Mortgage Practitioner sole trader Danny Lovey says: “Most small independent mortgage consultants not only treat customers fairly but realise that the client is paramount. If you go to the high street, do not expect advice, expect selling.”


Verdin quits Direct Life in switch to join NU

Direct Life and Pensions Services sales and marketing director Richard Verdin is leaving the firm after six years to join Norwich Union Life in September as director of marketing, protection.

Historic events

In this last in the series on the taxation of investment life insurance policies effected by companies, I would like to look specifically at how the new loan relationship rules are applied when the investing company adopts an historic cost basis of accounting in respect of the investment. I looked last week at how the fair value basis operates. The Finance Act anticipates both bases.

In Focus image

In Focus — May 2015: private medical insurance market in Germany

Welcome to the latest edition of In Focus. In this issue, Jelf examines the private medical insurance market for employers with expatriate workforces in Germany. This includes the common challenges faced in sourcing appropriate coverage, along with a selection of available solutions. This will be of particular interest to HR/reward decision makers with employees based in Germany. It will assess the cultural norms, risks and backdrop that are relevant to organisations with expatriate staff in this location.


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