Premium finance providers say FSA shut them out of broker fees tender

Premium finance providers have slammed the FSA for not including them in the new tender process to provide an instalment plan for brokers' regulatory fees.

The development will reignite last year's controversial decision to nominate Premium Credit as the provider, which prompted criticism from rivals over the tender process.

The FSA is retendering for an instalment scheme provider, but Insurance Times has learned that many premium finance companies have been unable to compete because they were not informed of the FSA's move.

As such it appears likely that Premium Credit will be reappointed.

It is understood that the deadline for bids was the end of February, with the FSA making its decision in April.

Bob Darling, managing director of Singer & Friedlander, said the company had received "no formal approach" from the FSA.

Edward Ferell, Aascent's sales and operation director, also said he was also unaware of the re-tender.

Ferrell added: "We felt the FSA, by its charter, should not favour one company over another.

"We raised the issue and suggested a general tender."

Tim Wilson, sales and marketing director of Close Premium Finance, said the tendering offer was "haphazard".

He said he looked forward to "when the FSA requested a formal tender arrangement, publishing a proper pack, ideally within the next two to three years."

He added: "In any case, our brokers have a more attractive deal - they can pay their fees with us for around half of the cost of Premium Credit's scheme."

An FSA spokesman said: "We need an external provider because we don't have a credit licence.

"Premium Credit won the tender last year and we are pleased with the way this has operated.

"A re-tender is taking place and we'll let people know if we change supplier."

Premium Credit was unavailable for comment as Insurance Times went to press.