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Update: Experian eases brokers’ fears over London and Country ‘conflict of interest’

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  • 08/12/2017
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Update: Experian eases brokers’ fears over London and Country ‘conflict of interest’
Experian has stated that London and Country will not have access to its credit reports as part of the deal between the two firms announced today.

The credit reference agency also sought to ease concerns that other brokers with agreements to work with it would be left behind.

Earlier today Mortgage Solutions revealed that Experian had bought a 25% stake in the Bath-based fee-free broker firm.

This led brokers to question whether the deal created a conflict of interest between the two parties. However, Experian strongly denied this.

In a statement given to Mortgage Solutions, Experian said: “The data held on credit reports is subject to very strict industry rules on who can see it, when and why. London and Country (L&C) will not have access to this information.”

With regard to conflicts of interest, it added: “Our focus as a business is about using our data to deliver better consumer experiences and the associated benefits for all of our clients and partners.

“That’s why we’ve entered into this strategic partnership with L&C, who are one of the country’s leading mortgage brokers. It does not prevent us from working with other brokers across the market.”

 

Customer contact

One point raised was whether London and Country would be allowed to contact Experian customers applying for a mortgage, while others noted that Experian has partnerships with other mortgage brokers and wondered if L&C may be given preferential treatment.

London Money director Martin Stewart told Mortgage Solutions: “If you’ve got a shareholder that does the credit searches you’re going to know a lot more information a lot sooner than the person further down the food chain.

“I’m not saying L&C and Experian would do that, but it does warrant further debate for the wider industry. It’s akin to a bank buying into an IFA brokerage.”

He added: “For a lot of it we are just going to have to assume an element of good faith, that there would be no advantages or disadvantages for the rest of the industry from this tie-up. But it’s healthy to raise awareness of this – I’m sure there’s nothing untoward going on, but it’s better to talk about it now than later on.”

Bespoke Finance director Adam Hosker was also concerned, adding: “I ponder what conflicts of interest this raises with Experian being a partner with many other mortgage brokers.”

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