Why Are Price Comparison Sites Bad Businesses & Consumers

When it comes to mortgages, price comparison sites are a poor choice for the consumer.

Mortgages are a complex product and the largest financial decision most people will make. Choosing the wrong option can be catastrophic to a person’s long-term financial wellbeing and the rate at the top of a table is seldom the most suitable product for the person viewing it.

A comparison table will not show the consumer:

  • The mortgage type which best suits their current situation
  • Products that are not available direct
  • Solutions for distressed or hard to place scenarios
  • Other options such as second charge lending

A comparison table can only send the consumer direct to a bank and sadly bank advice can be considered no advice at all, in my opinion. It is impossible to advise a client on the most suitable option for their particular circumstances when you are unable to provide that option.

It comes then as disappointing news to learn that PAA Leads who are owned and operated by MoneySupermarket will no longer be providing leads to mortgage advisers. This is a blow both for the intermediary market, some of whom have used PAA Leads for more than 14 years and also the consumer.

I can only speculate but I expect the move to close PAA Leads is based on there being a higher earning potential by sending the consumer direct to a lender, rather than via an independent adviser. I do expect the MoneySupermarket site to retain an option to speak to an adviser but this is likely to be an exclusive deal between MoneySupermarket and a large brokerage. This would arguably be a further slap in the face to PAA Leads long term customers.

This decision appears to come at an odd time given the market share for mortgage intermediaries has been increasing rapidly since MMR. I expect that 80% of mortgage business will be placed via intermediaries by the end of 2019.

It is an exciting time to be a mortgage adviser. The need for advice has never been higher and the lenders appetite and ability to provide this service is low. This can only be a positive for the intermediary market.

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