You could of course just ring around a couple of networks which take your fancy and ask for a call from their BDM.  The obvious problem with using this approach to decision making however, is that you may find all of the BDM’s you see claim they work for the very best network, who pay the highest commissions, have the friendliest staff and have head offices which run like a well-oiled machine.  What they won’t tell you is how bad their compliance regime is, how long it actually takes them to make commission payments, or that the person who built up the network has become so disenfranchised with the standards of the company that he has sold up and left town.

In short, if you’re human it’s only to easy to end up with the network that isn’t best for you but does have the best salesman!

We don’t charge you anything at all for our service regardless of whether you take our advice or not and it doesn’t have any effect on the deal you would get from a network, so when we say our service is free to you, we mean free.

We are paid a standard introducer fee by any network we introduce you to, and to help make sure we are impartial we charge the same standard amount to all of the networks we work with.  This means that in financial terms we don’t care which network you join.  As long as it’s the right network for you and you’re happy there then we’re happy.

If you knew how we did business or my background, this wouldn’t even be an issue, but since for the purpose of these FAQ’s I must assume you know nothing about me personally or Which Network, I can only reiterate this business is run on a completely ethical and impartial basis.  We won’t ever just say “join this network”, our conclusions will only be offered after we have given your personal circumstances the deepest consideration, we will always explain how we reach  our opinion, present the choices, and talk it over with you……….and remember, we only offer advice, the final choice is always yours.

If I were a gambling man (which I’m not), I would put money on it.  Current economic uncertainties and recent inappropriate pension transfers are putting massive pressures on some networks.  A few will go out of business, and others will merge or be taken over.  Having said that, good solid networks who look after their AR’s core business and are financially sound are thriving, not just surviving.

In times past, frequently offered by the big insurance companies, a golden hello or as it’s more often known golden handcuffs is a sum offered to a prospective AR by a network as an inducement to join that network.  The reason for the offer is often that the particular network may be having problems recruiting or retaining AR’s.  This may not seem to be a big problem at the time (especially with the cheque in front of you), but unfortunately there are usually penalties to pay upon leaving the network, you can find that what was once your client bank, now belongs to the network and invariably you will be tied to that network for one or two years.  Basically I’m not saying this is never a good thing, and if your business is having cash flow problems then it might well be totally right for you, but you need to ask all the questions, consider the down side very carefully, think worst case scenario even as you plan for the best.  How would you cope with a loss of independence, loss of clients or loss of the golden handshake?  Hence the common industry term of golden handcuffs.

Usually I suppose it depends on whom you are joining, and who you are leaving, so use our services and let us worry about it would be one valid answer to the question.  Otherwise however points to consider include…….Some networks will just pay this to avoid unnecessary conflict and to keep the parting as simple and clean as possible, although maybe some of the more unscrupulous networks will try to hang on to it if they can, as they see it as a means of hanging on to your business.

There are however several ways to get around the problem, firstly, once you have handed your notice in I would always advocate talking to the network you are parting from.  If they are made totally aware that you are definitely leaving and nothing they can do will change your mind, most will take the sensible decision to pay up again if only to avoid an argument they can’t win and the accompanying bad publicity. In the unlikely event that the issue reaches the worst case scenario and the network just will not listen or negotiate then I would advise you to take legal advice to see if the current network is in breach of contract, in fact some networks you may be joining will actually advise you on whether it’s likely that the network you’re leaving is in contravention of its own agreement.

The most usual answer to the problem however is to novate the risk, which basically means that your new network agrees to release your old network from any risk of clawback from insurance policies you have written.  This usually appeals to networks because it means they are off loading any financial risk and they still have the margin they took from the original commission payment, so what’s not to like?

Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer, as we have known the process take as little as one week, and as long as eight weeks.   One useful bit of advice, is that if you are in a hurry, make sure the network you are applying to knows about it, and keep in regular contact with the membership department.  Don’t just sit and assume everything is going through fine, networks like all businesses rely on people and people sometimes make mistakes.  If they ask for a copy of your CeMAP certificates for example, send them over immediately but follow that up with a call in a day or so to check they have them and ask if there is anything else you can do to help your application through?  In short, keep in touch and then in the unlikely event there’s a problem you can catch it early and deal with it.