Spitzer's empowered UK clients, says Andy Cook

Commission disclosure is back on the agenda and brokers are groaning at the prospect. It seems a long time since brokers, seemingly, won the battle against compulsory commission disclosure with the FSA. Brokers argued that Asda wasn't required to show how much it was making from every can of beans it sold. The FSA sensing it had other, bigger issues to deal with withdrew gracefully, winning plaudits from brokers.

Well, it seems that issue back on the agenda, this time driven by clients.

They have seen Spitzer's allegations and want to know how much brokers have really been making.

One insurer told me this week that they had retained expensive lawyers to crawl all over their emails and other communications looking for commissions, volume over-riders and placement service arrangements. The idea being that come 1 January renewals, insurers will have a document to hand proving their position unequivocally.

And everyone's doing it. It is a pre-requisite of getting to the table for this year's round of renewals. The other big renewals issue is how to charge clients. How do you replace PSA income? Do you transfer the charge to the fee? Increase commission rate? If so, by how much.

A whole new price structure is beginning to emerge. Although this mostly affects the big risks now, there will be trickle down - how far nobody knows? But it is certainly worth thinking about how you would justify profit shares back to your bigger clients.