Richard Griffiths responds to Ward’s letter

Amanda Jarvis

December 6, 2004

The full transcript of the letter is below. The original story, along with Michael Wards letter can be viewed at http://mortgageintro.wpengine.com/news/newsarticles.asp?unqueid=10412

In response;

I would like to thank Michael for my 15 minutes of fame, as he puts it, which is about the length of time it took me to read and digest the rambling contents of his letter.

To reply, in a hopefully more succinct manner, I would first of all wholeheartedly agree that this is just the start of the build-up of Network Data’s proposition for smaller brokers to join its network. The many benefits on offer, and the transparency of our charges, convinced 738 brokers to sign up prior to Mortgage Day.

The low number of ARs signed up by the virtually all of the other networks must inevitably put a question mark over their commercial viability. I don’t think for a minute that Enable would admit to having such a sub-critical mass, but then they have the comfort of being cushioned by the financial strength of their majority shareholder, the Skipton Building Society.

Michael talks extensively about Legal & General, presumably in the hope of earning a few brownie points from one of Enable’s major life providers. However, I don’t think a venerable institution such as L&G would welcome such negative publicity and the raking up of events earlier this year.

L&G had been on our life panel for some considerable time, and in meetings between the relationship managers earlier this year there had been enthusiastic talks about growing the business, a move into e-commerce, marketing initiatives so on.

Then L&G took the sudden and unilateral decision to terminate the relationship with Network Data in July. This was a few weeks after the launch of our “L&g it” campaign targeted at the smaller tied agents that L&G was discarding. These are the simple facts of the matter, and the readers can draw your own conclusions as to the motivations behind L&G’s action.

The success of the L&G it campaign has been one of the contributory factors as to why Network Data is by far the biggest of the new mortgage networks.

Our ARs are self-evidently happy with our range of insurers and products. Unlike Enable which offers a single product provider for household insurance, we offer a choice of insurers in all product ranges. Our life company panel will shortly be extended to include BUPA, Friends Provident, Liverpool Victoria, Prudential, and Royal Liver, making it one of the more extensive life panels on offer to brokers.

It is difficult to know what to say to Michael’s obtuse references to other issues, and I must say I cannot fathom why he penned his letter in the first place.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Griffiths
Managing Director
Network Data

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