Christopher Hall, (pictured) a mortgage and protection adviser at 1st Call 4 Mortgages (UK), told Mortgage Solutions that several advisers at the firm had been called out of the blue by SimplyBiz.
The firm had been a member of the SimplyBiz club, but shortly after it left to join another adviser group, brokers reported receiving calls trying to recruit them back as individuals.
When called himself, Hall questioned the ethics behind the move and said it left him feeling his trust in SimplyBiz had been broken.
“I was invited to switch back on an individual basis and ditch my firm in what can only be described as the most brazen act of recruitment possible,” he said.
“The call consisted of reasons why the firm had not considered its advisers when making the decision to leave as well as providing full support to become directly authorised (DA) myself. The new adviser group, which is also a major player, was simply undercutting in the recruiter’s opinion.
“Above all I was shocked that after several years of profitable business with our firm, this former partner decided to try and pick the company apart one adviser at a time without shame now that they have left.
“A firm should be able to leave a club or network and not have to worry about the integrity of the place they leave behind,” he added.
Approached by adviser
SimplyBiz told Mortgage Solutions that it was initially contacted by an adviser from the firm which then prompted it to call others.
David Golder, head of client proposition at the SimplyBiz Group said: “While we would never, under any circumstances, consciously approach the registered individuals or appointed representatives of existing members or clients of the SimplyBiz Group, as firms move on, we are a natural contact point for those interested in support services.
“In this specific instance, we were initially approached by an individual who was interested to know how membership of SimplyBiz would benefit them as a directly authorised firm.
“As the most popular choice in the market for firms and individuals becoming directly authorised with the Financial Conduct Authority, we are in constant dialogue with hundreds of advisers every month,” he added.
However, Hall was not swayed about this justification to call other advisers.
“There is nothing wrong if an adviser calls them, that is fine, but what is not ethical is when they decide to be greedy and call the other advisers,” he said.
“From the angle that they chose to persuade me, they disrespected the company for making the move and accused them of not putting advisers first when they did not have the facts.
“Mortgage brokers and firms have to work with people and organisations that they trust so that they can correctly serve their clients.
“I think that SimplyBiz has ignored its moral compass and may have opened Pandora’s box,” he added.