IIB stops charging brokers to appear on wholesalers' site following a barrage of criticism

Andrew Paddick, director general of the IIB, has been forced to climb down on charging brokers to appear on its wholesaler database following a backlash from brokers.

The IIB site, findawholesaler.co.uk, gives "status reports" of wholesalers together with details of their products. Brokers were charged £1,500 to appear on the site. Those that did not are listed on the site as either "no response to our mailing" or "declined to participate".

But wholesale brokers complained that they felt railroaded into giving company details. Some accused Paddick of using bullying tactics in his correspondence to make them supply details.

There were also criticisms that the database was not comprehensive, with many of the larger brokers missing.

Graham Coates, group operations director for Stuart Alexander, said: "A lot of the big names have not supplied details, including Towergate and Bland Bankart."

And David Ingham managing director Ingham Insurance said: "It could be seen as a form of blackmail - if we did not reply we would be listed as ‘declining to particpate'."

Paddick refuted the allegations. He said: "There was resistance to us charging but we are now allowing them to register free."

But Paddick could not rule out levying a charge at a later date. He said he will now raise funds "to pay for investment and running costs" of the site through banner advertising. He added the site was getting around 8,000 hits a day.