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Openwork reviews member fee-charging structure – exclusive

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  • 06/01/2016
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Openwork reviews member fee-charging structure – exclusive
Openwork is reviewing its fee-charging structure for members which its CEO said would 'likely' lead to a deduction from the fee which mortgage advisers receive from clients upfront for their services.

The network currently it only deducts a charge from the proc fee paid by lenders to brokers for introducing the business.

Mark Duckworth (pictured), chief executive of Openwork, said 70% of the network’s transactions were undertaken by Openwork advisers who charged a client arrangement fee; a structure already in place for its wealth division. He said the charge would be a small percentage of the fee but because of Openwork’s scale it would equate to a meaningful sum for the network.

In the short-term Openwork plans to use the money to streamline its processes to make them simpler for advisers to give advice. Its long-term strategy is to use the cash to develop ways the consumer can interact digitally with the adviser and Openwork.

Duckworth said: “As an industry, we are hugely underdeveloped in this area compared to others. It is beholden upon Openwork and the wider industry to think about how the consumer wishes to purchase [products], be this a mortgage, a pension or an ISA.

“We need to really invest to ensure that the customer is able to purchase [products] how they wish to. Technology will be a far bigger part in Openwork’s future spend than it has been historically.”

Duckworth said the network chose not to pass on the increase in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy applied last year. “I think our members were very pleased about that decision,” he added. “The reason to increase fees now is for a very different reason, it’s to invest in the business.”

Openwork were unable to confirm a timescale for any changes but a spokesperson said it reviews its fee structure across all lines of the business every year to ensure they remain competitive and profitable.

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