Openwork restructures mortgage panel

Amanda Jarvis

March 6, 2006

The company believes that it can improve product competitiveness and also administrative efficiency, by working more closely in partnership with a smaller number of major lenders.

The new structure divides the panel into Premier Partners, Preferred Partners and Panel Lenders. The Premier Partners and Preferred Partners, of whom there are 4 and 14 respectively, will be the players Openwork seeks to work most closely with and who are expected to deliver the majority of Openwork’s production.

Membership of the different tiers in the panel has been based on range of different criteria, against which each lender has been assessed. These criteria include:

– ability to deliver some form of uniqueness in the service proposition for Openwork advisers
– ability to provide market winning exclusive products available ‘Only from Openwork’
– achievement of strong performance in Openwork’s ongoing Mortage Advisory Panel surveys, which benchmarks lenders performance in the eyes of our advisers
– provision of top of the market procuration fees
– ability to demonstrate an intermediary friendly strategy, working with our advisers to grow their businesses
– willingness to commit not to undertake any unauthorised cross-selling to our advisers’ clients
– willingness to develop tailored sales and marketing plans to pro-actively build their business through Openwork

Paul Shearman, mortgage proposition director for Openwork, said: “We will focus our efforts on building relationships with lenders who deliver a top quality proposition and who have the appetite to work with us to drive significant growth over the coming years. We also want to promote more competitiveness between our panel lenders, encouraging them to strive ever harder to gain a greater proportion of our business.

“Consequently, we will be regularly reviewing the membership of the different tiers, so expect some promotions and relegations later in the year.”

Openwork regards its 18 Premier and Preferred Partners as the strongest players on the panel with leading propositions, who are willing to work in partnership with the company.

The remaining 19 Panel Lenders are still regarded as playing a significant role, but they tend to be niche players or have not been able to meet some of the requirements for membership of the Preferred or Premier Partner tiers.

Paul Shearman said: “Openwork’s mortgage business has gone from strength to strength since our launch in June last year, a lot of which has been down to the quality of the working relationships we have with our lenders. The changes to the panel structure are crucial as we seek to take these relationships to a new level.”

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