Mortgages  

Mystery Shopper: Reading mortgages

Each week the mystery shopper seeks advice from independent and tied advisers in the UK. The aim is to find out whether advisers are delivering the goods when it comes to the all-important initial telephone contact between client and adviser. It is only intended to evaluate this first interview, and it is understood that further meetings would be necessary before final decisions could be made. The purpose is not to expose poor and selling practices, but to show constructively any weaknesses in the advice process.

Adviser (Independent):
Macbeth Financial Services, Commerce Park, Brunel Road, Theale, RG7 4AB

Time of call: 3.46pm. Call answered after three rings. 5/5

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Telephone manner:
Polite and professional. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:
Level four diploma. 5/5

Payment method:
One-off assessment charge of £250. 5/5

Guidance given:
The adviser said that it would be difficult to give guidance without knowing more about the shopper’s full circumstances. However, he said that when it came to deposits, the bigger the better, because lenders would offer a better rate of interest. 3/5

Knowledge:
The adviser displayed a clear knowledge on the marketplace, particularly on how changes in base rates would affect different mortgage propositions. 4/5

Email/web presence:
simon.claxton@macbeths.co.uk
www.macbeths.co.uk/financial-services 5/5

Verdict:
Very good overall. The adviser was clear and concise in his responses to the shopper’s questions and did not beat around the bush when it came to disclosure of charges. 32/35

Adviser (Independent):
Assist Mortgages via Bluesky Independent Financial Advisers, 4 Chalfont Court, Lower Earley, Reading, RG6 5SY

Time of call: 11.08am. Call answered after two rings. 5/5

Telephone manner:
Friendly but qualified. 3/5

Relevant qualifications:
CeMAP qualification. 5/5

Payment method:
One-off assessment charge of £250. 5/5

Guidance given:
The adviser explained that he would not be able to give advice until the shopper agreed to the company’s terms and conditions, to be sent via email. However, the adviser said that saving for a bigger deposit might not be the best option because house prices are likely to keep rising. 2/5

Knowledge:
The adviser did not demonstrate a great deal of knowledge of the mortgage market, but the shopper felt that this was because he had restricted what he’d said pending the shopper’s agreeing to the terms and conditions. 3/5

Email/web presence:
dene@assistmortgages.eu
www.assistmortgages.eu/about-us 5/5

Verdict: The shopper found the conversation odd. The adviser was very friendly albeit very reluctant to divulge guidance until the shopper accepted the conditions of his service.

28/35

Adviser (Independent):
Beaufort Asset Management Limited, Beaufort House, 85/87 Basingstoke Road, Reading, RG2 0HA

Time of call: 11.26am. Call answered after one ring. 5/5

Telephone manner:
Polite and engaging. 5/5

Relevant qualifications:
CeMAP qualification. 5/5

Payment method:
One-off assessment charge of £500. 5/5

Guidance given:
The adviser said that lenders will offer better rates for those with a large deposit. Given that the couple were viewing homes costing up to £250,000, the adviser said that they would be better off saving that little more to accumulate a 10 per cent deposit to get a better rate.

With the rise in house prices showing no signs of slowing down, waiting to build a 20 per cent deposit might not be the best option, he added, unless the shopper could secure funds in a relatively short period of time. 5/5

Knowledge:
The adviser displayed comprehensive knowledge of the mortgage market, and was able to give up to date rates on different mortgage products offered by a range of lenders. 4/5