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Conflict of interest?

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 05-Nov-07 03:44:22 PM

One of the worst-kept secrets was officially acknowledged yesterday: The Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors (IDEA) is to launch a white labeled HIP service to its members.

The HIP will cost £175 plus VAT. Marketing materials are also expected to be available should DEAs require them - Estimated cost £25.

Additional costs for leasehold properties have yet to be finalised.


I'm personally not sure if I'm comfortable about an institute purporting to represent the interests of DEAs - to both Govt and the wider industry - effectively competing with not only its own members, but also the company's some of its members work for.

One illustration is NRG Experts: Neil Kurz (Director) is on the Steering Group of IDEA. The company launched its own white-label HIPs for DEAs last month, starting at £299 for freehold.

Neil has always been vocal about maintaining "realistic" fees up and down the transaction chain, he has priced it accordingly and makes no bones about why.

Whilst I'm not privy to how many DEAs utilise NRG Experts' HIP package, it stands to reason that several on its books are IDEA members too.

Confused Identity

For me, IDEA's latest move sends out the wrong signal to the market. If it is to be a force to be recognised, it can't be seen to have any other vested interests than those of the DEAs it represents... and DEAs are in the business of EPCs.

Not all DEAs are self-employed, nor do they wish to be. Whilst some will have successful enterprises offering a full HIP service to clients, many will end up employed by company's in competition with the IDEA offering.

If IDEA wishes to exhort the voice of DEAs to industry and Govt, it should reflect on the need to embrace industry in open talks, not give them reason for suspicion.

Let me put it like this: If you were the Managing Director of a company providing HIPs and employing x number of DEAs, would you open your office door to an IDEA representative to discuss fees or other business matters, now?


Many HIP providers are members of AHIPP. Apparently, IDEA are in communication with AHIPP, seeing a common interest.

Now, there is currently a battle of fees taking place in the market with many providers of all guises slashing the price paid to DEAs. Is it not more effective for a representative body of DEAs to engage in talks with the representative body of HIP Providers, to express its concerns?

AHIPP (and its members) may well now ponder on whether they are talking to a representative body of HIP Providers, a HIP business, or an institute representing the voice of DEAs.


Whilst I appreciate that the finer details of their HIP package have yet to be released, I do have concerns over both who, and how, the business will be administrated.

My concern would be three-fold:

  1. If the HIP is to be compiled in-house, how can IDEA ensure the interests of all DEAs will still have priority over the day-to-day workload of HIPs, given that there appears to be only one full-time man at the helm?
  2. If IDEA is merely acting as an introducer to another third-party HIP Provider, then shouldn't the business be setup as a separate entity so as to protect IDEA and minimise exposure to risk (In fact, shouldn't it be anyway)?
  3. Given the various uncertainties surrounding HIPs, is it even prudent to enter such a volatile market at the moment?

Is the IDEA firing arrows at too many targets, losing focus in the process?

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Posts: 5
Reply #1 on : Mon November 05, 2007, 20:36:29
This is a very valid point Mike. I am one of those registered with NRG to use their HIP offering, and I am a member of IDEA. I think IDEA should concentrate on the business in hand of representing DEA's, lobbying government on important matters, and providing their training academy, and leave the provision of HIPS to the experts.

Posts: 5
Re: Conflict of interest?
Reply #2 on : Thu November 08, 2007, 20:07:10
I agree with Ray. IDEA risks, rightly or wrongly, being seen as both poacher and gamekeeper here...

Posts: 5
Conflict of interest
Reply #3 on : Mon November 12, 2007, 22:16:55
Spot on. I believe Jim Gillespie is also a principle at Independent Financial Services, so perhaps the plan is to get the IDEA members to flog mortgages and other financial services too.

Posts: 5
Re: Conflict of interest?
Reply #4 on : Sat November 24, 2007, 09:15:38
Well said Mike

If IDEA's true aim was to help it's members provide HIPs, should they decide that that's what they want to do, then they could have simply provided a balanced opinion on the existing services available, stating the features/pros & cons of each option. By becoming a HIP provider they have compromised their ability to support their members.

Posts: 5
Re: Conflict of interest?
Reply #5 on : Sat November 24, 2007, 12:48:08
"Spot on. I believe Jim Gillespie is also a principle at Independent Financial Services, so perhaps the plan is to get the IDEA members to flog mortgages and other financial services too."

I also hear that he sells cat insurance. Is there anything Jim Gillespie won't do for a quick buck?

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