Threat of price rise on non-Crest deals

LawShare is planning to increase its charges for members who do not make use of the electronic share-dealing service, Crest.

The company is currently looking at how it can balance out charges for those using Crest and those who prefer to use share certificates.

Spokesman Chris Bishop said: "The costs of not being in Crest are higher than being in it. The charges we will make will reflect those variable costs."

No final decision has been taken on what charges will be made. However Bishop said that those making use of Crest would most likely end up paying less.

He predicted that the decision would be made in the next two or three months and said that other brokers would be taking a similar attitude.

David Lough, head of Cripps Harries Hall's investment department, welcomed the move. He said it was good to see the cost structure of the market reflected in charges.

He added that his firm had "made an investment in time and money to equip ourselves for Crest" by making some technology changes and drafting in extra staff to effect the changeover.

Lough said that Crest had simplified a lot of office procedures which helped improve productivity.

Derek Scrivener, compliance director at stockbroker Branston & Gothard, said his firm had not yet taken steps to institute new charges because it could cope with the cost "at the moment". But he said the level of charges was under review.

"Crest is principally designed for institutional business and has had to be designed for private business at a lot of cost," he explained. "The important thing with private clients is to educate them on nominee business. That is where the savings are going to be made."