Consumer rights group Which? is set for a huge round of jobs cuts in its financial services operation following a strategic review sparked by a near £3m loss at one of its divisions.
The organisation has confirmed that it is proposing to pull the plug on both Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Insurance Advisers, while it is also reviewing the future of Which? Financial Services, which has over 130 staff and made a loss of £2.7m in the year to June 30 2018.
The organisation has more than 780 employees but insisted it would be “impossible and inappropriate” to give a definitive number of roles which were under threat due to many entering a consultation period.
A spokeswoman said: “We have also announced proposals designed to ensure that we have an appropriate organisational structure in place to evolve our business and deliver impact for consumers. We have informed affected employees and will now enter into a period of consultation. No final decisions will be taken until [this] has taken place.”
According to the latest accounts for the year to 30 June 2018, total income for the charity was £100.5m, compared with £101.3m the previous year, so other parts of the business are obviously performing well.
One key revenue stream for the organisation are its subscriptions services. While it is quick to promote its consumer rights campaigning, including battles against nuisance calls, scams and poorly run railways, those looking for product reviews and “best buys” have to cough up nearly £250 a year.
Meanwhile chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith, who stood down last year, trousered £494,000 in his final year at the charity. In January 2017, a group of Which? members sought to impose limits to executive pay and bonuses, and called for greater transparency of contracts awarded by Vicary-Smith to trustee-owned companies.
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