The industry’s leading roadshow for mortgage inter-mediaries, The Mortgage Event, has again proved a resounding success, and it was encouraging to see the brokers who attended clearly demonstrate just how serious they are about maintaining and developing this vital sector of the market.
Now in its second year, the series of seven regional roadshows has seen a high quality of debates, with leading industry figures put on the spot by delegates. The overall feeling at the events seems to indicate that concerns over broker apathy surrounding statutory regulation can be laid to rest as the representatives from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Mortgage Code Compliance Board (MCCB) were grilled extensively by delegates at every venue. Advisers seized the opport-unity to question the regulators directly and demons-trated a knowledge of the consultation papers that belied many commentators’ claims.
Indeed, the concerns that many small firms would choose to join one of the proposed mortgage networks out of convenience, rather than because it was the best option, were quashed when straw polls conducted among delegates found that 60% are now proposing to become directly authorised – a huge change from the previous figure of 70%-80% of firms predicted to become appointed representatives. And it is good news too for the future of independent advice, coming as it does shortly after the FSA’s decision to revise the applic-ation fee bands in a bid to encourage firms to become directly authorised. It is to be hoped, therefore, that following its success in getting the FSA to change this, the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries does not become embroiled in a war of words with new company, The Mortgage Advisers Association, and tarnish its hard-won reputation as the champion of the intermediary.
For those planning to remain in the industry after next year and who are looking at expanding their income streams, it is of concern to learn of reports that senior figures from the protection sector believe critical illness cover is becoming untenable. This is a serious issue for mortgage intermediaries who also sell general insurance policies, as it is a key product and can be a significant additional income stream. Providers know they will have to come up with another product to replace it, however, unlike the mortgage industry, there is little chance of collaboration and developments here could take years.
l For brokers looking to add to their income stream, equity release has been earmarked as a major growth sector. A Mortgage Solutions supplement distributed with this issue examines the pros and cons of this complex sale.
Ben Marquand, editor