MSE News: Which? offers free mortgage advice to members

This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"The scheme, launched today, is a telephone-based service available to all 750,000 subscribers ..."
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  • GMSGMS Forumite
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    Plenty of mortgage brokers offer a free service to their customers but without the need for a monthly subscription as Which readers need to pay.

    Which will also offer the option to pay a fee if clients prefer, in exchange for a commission rebate.

    Hardly reinventing the wheel this.
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
    You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a mortgage adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
  • A good service for 'perfect' customers without complications. Plus Which? offers direct deals so it is re - inventing the wheel.

    It won't affect me at all because none of my clients fit the standard mould, and no training course will teach Which staff the stuff I've learned over 20 years lket alone the contacts I've built up.

    So for stock standard non complex cases it seems to be a good deal.
  • edited 17 November 2010 at 7:22PM
    dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    edited 17 November 2010 at 7:22PM
    It is not free advice. Which? are keeping the commission that is paid by the lenders on those that get the deals. In effect what they are doing is partly cross subsidising the member fees to pay for the fees an independent would charge for doing the same service. An interesting business model decision and good luck to them. However, calling it free is a bit like a commission adviser calling their service free despite the cost of them being factored into the product.

    The thing that will be interesting is how Which? will react when they start to get complaints, as they will, and when they start building up enough to appear on the FOS complaints stats (as they will). They have been critical of firms that appear on there in the past. By doing this they are leaving themselves open to the same criticism.

    It will be interesting to see how they get around the new FSA proposals that will force mortgage advisers to show the cost of advice even in commission deals seeing as they are using a cross subsidy model.

    Which? also have re-written the history books. Many will recall that they used to recommend endowments (such as Standard Life) and to buy them in a certain way which left people unable to complain abou them later. I also read recently that which recommended Equitable life plans at one point. Whilst they are pre-internet events, they need to be careful as such repeats would severely damage their reputation as a consumer champion.

    personally, i dont think a consumer champion should also be a retailer.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Also thier whole mentality wont gel well with the real world. I could give a thousand examples but lets just take one;

    Thier very academic nature will lead to all sorts of issues such as a client wanting 5 x income but lenders inputs into the software Which will use (such as mortgage brain) often shows a lower mulitple because thats thier nstandard 'compliance' maximum, but in reality they can do more if you know how. So cleints will get what I'd call a 'B&Q' standard of advice - you know like the 'building advice' you'd get from B&Q staff which can be very different from that of a real local experienced buildier with real world practical experience.

    As I say nthis service will suit very simple straight forward applicants only.
  • "Which? offers free mortgage advice to members"

    Here's some free mortgage advice: don't take out a mortgage - house prices are falling.

    In fact, falling so much, and so quickly, that they are widely predicted to fall by at least 20% over the next few years (which is nothing compared with the US, Ireland, Spain and other countries that have had massive, fraudulently-inflated property bubbles like us and witnessed 50% falls).

    In fact, the Bank of England is so sure the housing market is about to crash again they're even openly considering following the widely-criticised Federal Reserve with more Quantitative Easing - currency devaluation through money printing to inflate away the debt: meaning house prices "stabilise", your wages don't go up and everything else gradually becomes as expensive as houses. It's already happening following the last round of QE: food, fuel and energy have ALL gone up in price - yet house prices continue to fall! This is done for the benefit of the banks, not for the benefit of you. They will gladly repossess your house once their balance sheets are "strengthened" and they finally decide to increase interest rates to control inflation.

    Save yourself the hassle and heartache of negative equity, a lost deposit or repossession. Refuse to get on this property merry-go-round come pyramid scheme because you will lose out. It is a buyers market and will be for the next 5 years (at the very least). Credit isn't too tight: house prices are too high. I suggest that all first time buyers sit and watch the race to the bottom and let the current over-indebted, mortgaged-to-the-max "home owners" fight it out amongst themselves.

    You do not want to take on their huge debt burden. Do not gladly let distressed sellers pass their massive debt on to you. Do not let companies encourage you into buying debt. You will regret it.
  • betmunchbetmunch Forumite
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    As which will be using advisors that take a salary only, ie no bonus for working hard or pushing through a boarderline case. I cant see the quality of the advisor being very good.

    Wheres the incentive to be proactive to the advisor rather than be just a call taker?

    Why do we think getting paid for hard work is bad in this field? While I realise this forum is specifically about money saving, therefore a free service is always going to be considered, in my opinion, paying a small fee to get this done right first time will save hundreds, even thousands to a home owner over the course of the mortgage.

    It could even get to the point where an advisor realises there is a potential complaint brewing and instead of doing the right thing and helping the client they could think "I get paid the same whether I do this deal or not" and tells the client he cant help them!

    I think it is a disaster waiting to happen, and I hope for Which?'s sake they prove me wrong
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
    You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    As which will be using advisors that take a salary only, ie no bonus for working hard or pushing through a boarderline case. I cant see the quality of the advisor being very good.

    I agree. You typically find the employed advisers are more likely to be trainees or paper pushers. No experienced or better qualified individual is going to want to earn just a wage (which is typically around 10-25% of self employed/own firm/partner earnings). The best advisers I know are all owners/partners/directors. Not employees. I would love to know what wage level they have set for them. That would be a good indicator of the level of quality they are hoping to recruit.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • betmunchbetmunch Forumite
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    dunstonh wrote: »
    I would love to know what wage level they have set for them. That would be a good indicator of the level of quality they are hoping to recruit.

    I would love to know this.

    To tempt good advisers away from employed roles in EA's or Banks they would have to be offering a minimum of £25K surely. Any less than this and they will get the non motivated dregs of the industry or the completely green rookies.

    If anyone spots the advert hiring for Which? or knows the renumeration please post it up here.
    I am a Mortgage Adviser
    You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
  • Perhaps 'burgeoning' mortgage advisers should have agents who could advise them on their career paths, given the bonus structure.

    It would be fair to pay these advisers for their advice.

    If you need a bonus to be motivated, to do your best, then what do you do if you are unmotivated and without a bonus ?

    J_B. (Trying to understand the nature of economics. )
  • opinions4uopinions4u
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    I used to love Which?

    But the moment they started offering their own financial products (credit card was the first one) I ceased subscribing and have never returned.

    I cannot believe that they feel the need to enter a market where advice is regulated, complaints are inevitable and their own reputation is at stake.

    Utterly the wrong thing for a consumer champion to do.

    Hopefully Mr Lewis understands this.
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