IFA ‘forced’ to use estate agent’s broker

Tim Johnson, independent mortgage broker with Liverpool-based advisers Smith Law & Shepherds, claimed he was forced to use an internal mortgage adviser at a Chester-based branch of Beresford Adams Estate Agents despite being qualified himself as a broker and having already found a deal.

He claimed: “The frontline staff at the branch told me I had no choice and that my offer would not be accepted if I refused. So I sat down and wasted 25 minutes with the broker.

“I believe these in-house brokers have targets and staff are put under pressure to secure as many appointments as possible. The broker I saw was very embarrassed about this situation.”

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Mr Johnson said the in-house broker appeared to be drawing on a limited panel of lenders rather than surveying the whole market, meaning clients could end up “worse off” than consulting an independent adviser.

Mr Johnson is the latest adviser to come forward since Financial Adviser launched its campaign to bring estate agents within the scope of the City regulator.

Beresford Adams is an estate agency network under the Countrywide banner.


A spokesperson for Countrywide Financial Services said: “Our customer policy is clear and we treat all our buyers the same irrespective which lender their mortgage comes from and if their mortgage is not through our brokerage, it does not change or impact how we treat offers to our vendors.”


Mark Garnier MP, a member of the influential Treasury select committee, recently backed the campaign to toughen up regulation.

However, Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, has rejected calls to extend the regulator’s remit to cover the market, arguing that its resources were “too stretched”.