Packagers are stating that the Professional Mortgage Packagers Association (PMPA) should be headed by an independent party if it is to act as a professional body and avoid conflicts of interest.
The association is currently chaired by Ian Nelson, managing director of BDS Mortgage Desk. Members are expected to transact a minimum volume of business in order to join and disclose company information such as records of accounts, to other members. But some non-members are unwilling to join as they do not wish to disclose information to competitor companies.
David Wylie, managing director of County Mortgage Services, said: ‘Collating this information as competitors of potential members does seem quite dangerous. For the long-term health of any organisation that is going to represent a sector such as packagers, it has to be one that attracts the widest possible appeal. Some of the more substantial packaging companies feel uneasy about handing over company information to competitors. They market to the same brokers as us and the more information they have about our company the less element of surprise we have in the market place.’
Because members of PMPA also benefit from exclusive deals from lenders, there is confusion among packagers about whether the association is a commercial operation or a true industry body.
David Copland, sales and marketing director at Pink Home Loans, said: ‘On one hand I applaud the fact they have set up a professional body, but I do believe it would be better all round if it were headed by an independent party, such as someone who has retired from the industry. PMPA needs to make it clear whether it is a trade body, or is working for commercial interest.’
Ian Balfour, director of marketing at Solent Mortgage Services, agreed: ‘Ideally, a professional body should be headed by someone without a vested interest who is elected by members and concentrates on promoting the image of the sector, rather than getting the best commercial deals. PMPA needs to clarify its role.’
But Nelson said sharing company information among members increased solidarity and the association’s primary role is as a professional body ‘ any commercial benefits are just an added bonus.
‘Our members do not have any qualms about sharing information about their business volumes ‘ unity is strength. Information given around the table is kept among members and we are all open and honest with each other.
‘When we first started out, there was not any commercial interest in membership, we set up as a body of professional packagers and that is how we remain. In return, lenders have seen the strength of volume we share and members have therefore been able to benefit commercially. But our main aim has and always will be to provide a professional body and give packagers a voice,’ he said.