Unbiased increases adviser matching fees

Unbiased increases adviser matching fees

Unbiased has increased the price paid by advisers for enquires through the online directory, citing it could not longer absorb the "steadily increasing" cost of delivering the service itself. 

In an email sent to advisers today (May 20) Unbiased confirmed the cost of enquires and tokens on its site will rise to £45+VAT each from June 1, 2019. 

Currently advisers pay £30 + VAT if they successfully accept an enquiry on the site from a prospective client using the "find me an expert" function. 

According to Unbiased the changes will not apply to enquiries made directly via an adviser's profile and the monthly subscription will remain unchanged. 

Unbiased said the cost of delivering the service had "steadily increased" over time and it was "regrettably" unable to continue absorbing "all of it" itself, but stated it was confident the new price still represented "outstanding" value in the current market.

Advisers will still be able to purchase enquiry tokens at the existing price prior to June 1, which can then be used as normal to accept enquiries after that date. 

A spokesperson from Unbiased said: "Since we introduced our unique matching service four years ago, we’ve maintained the same price point by absorbing all the additional development and marketing costs ourselves.

"In that time, we have successfully increased the number of quality enquiries available through Unbiased, while keeping pace with fast-changing consumer demands.

"Our subscription package pricing remains the same as when we launched it four years ago. We’re confident that the Unbiased service represents far stronger value than it did four years ago."

The spokesperson said raising Unbiased's enquiry price allowed the service to invest in marketing and bring "even more quality enquiries to our customers". 

The spokesperson added: "We’re working constantly to inform and educate consumers on the value of advice and so steer more people towards advice.

"We also continue to improve our unique matching algorithm, which maximises professionals' connections with the most suitable clients and vice versa." 

However, the price increase has not been received well by some advisers who feel Unbiased's matching service favours those who are quickest to respond to enquiries, rather than those best suited to the client's needs. 

Ben Baldwin, financial planner at Myers Davison Ginger, said: "I guess in short, I’m not a fan of the paying for enquiries model that Unbiased set up.  

"Personally I don’t feel that clients get ‘unbiased’ advice, they just get a fastest finger to click for the lead."

Martin Stewart, founder and director at London Money, said: "The cost of delivering my service to clients has risen over four years but I haven’t put my fees up by 50 per cent as a result.

"It is sometimes hard to judge value in financial services. I cant deny that we haven’t had some great clients from Unbiased which have been very profitable.

"Conversely we have suffered a large volume of enquiries that don’t even come back to our emails and voicemails. To now have to pay over £50 just to be ignored is something I do not think I am prepared to accept."