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News Review

New brands ramp up ambitions By Sarah Davidson

Virgin Money, Tesco Bank and Asda Money have start- ed the new year with strong ambitions for the mortgage market. Virgin Money,


completed its takeover of Northern Rock in January, announced it is committed to working with mortgage intermediaries and prom- ised not to dual-price any of its products, giving inter- mediaries access to all rates offered to direct customers. Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief

executive officer of Virgin Money, said: “By combining Northern Rock’s expertise and experience in the in-

termediary market with the Virgin brand and our track- record of innovation and service, we will build even stronger partnerships with intermediaries going forward.” Meanwhile Tesco Bank,

which has been ready to launch pending authorisa- tion from the Financial Ser- vices Authority, has been tipped for an April debut in the mortgage market. Benny Higgins, chief ex-

ecutive of Tesco Bank, told The Times: “We would expect to launch in the next couple of months.” Tesco has not yet con-

firmed whether the bank will offer its product through

brokers. And supermarket gi-

ant Asda joined the foray when it registered the “Asda Money” trademark covering banking, credit and debit cards, mortgage lending and consultancy,

advisory and

information services. Speculation is reportedly mounting of a rebrand fol- lowing the trademark by Asda Financial Services. Asda Financial Services currently covers products including an Asda Reward credit card, personal loans, insurance cover, child trust funds, travel money and a gas and electricity compari- son service.

FSA increases broker fees in 2012/13 By Yuan Phoon

The Financial Services Au- thority will increase the fee it charges advisers for being regulated by 2% in 2012/13, it said in its latest Annual Fund- ing Requirement.


will pay the FSA £13.43 per £1,000 of annual income, up from £13.12 which brokers

paid during the 2011/12 period. The AFR also revealed the FSA had projected a 6% drop in the amount of revenue the mortgage advising sector would generate. This was de- spite the FSA predicting that there would be 5,732 fee-pay- ing firms in 2012/13 fee, three more than the 5,729 firms in

2011/12. Robert Sinclair, director of

the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “Over the past few years there has been a steady decline in the number of adviser firms in the industry. These figures indi- cate that that figure has begun to stabilise.”

NIGEL PAYNE JOINS MI AS CHAIRMAN Nigel Payne has joined Mortgage Introducer as non- executive chairman of the company.

Payne has a wealth of

experience and began his mortgage career with Leeds Permanent Building Society in 1987 where he led the legal and regulatory project to merge with Halifax. His most recent post was managing director of Assurant Intermediary where he was appointed to develop a new general insurance business aimed at servicing the needs of the IFA and mortgage broker community. In his new role Payne will be responsible for chairing all board meetings; advising on and developing strategy and commercial opportunities, both for Mortgage Introducer and also its readers. Ramesh Sharma, managing director of Mortgage Introducer, said: “Nigel Payne is an invaluable addition to our Board as we strive to expand the Mortgage Introducer brand. The depth of his experience and knowledge of the sector will further strengthen our position within the mortgage industry.”

Variable. Fixed. Discount. BTL products.


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