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If the industry is not broken, why bother fixing it?

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  • 10/08/2001
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Thank goodness that's all over. Four weeks of what may well go down in history as one of the least ...

Thank goodness that’s all over. Four weeks of what may well go down in history as one of the least interesting election campaigns and we are left with business as usual, according to Mr Blair.

Most voters were left cold by the campaign, and I am left wondering what is in store for us over the next five years?

More specifically, what has Labour got planned for the financial services sector? For instance, will those much-heralded home sellers’ packs make a dramatic comeback, or will they fade away like William Hague?

My view of home sellers’ packs is, that even if the idea is revived, they will not have a great impact on the housing market. They amount to little more than fiddling around at the edges.

One thing is for sure, both borrowers and providers will be better served by the Government leaving us well alone. I for one do not see the need for additional legislation for the mortgage market.

They have tinkered an awful lot in the last few years, but not a lot has happened as a result. After all, who has actually benefited from Government ministers meddling in the mortgage market?

When you consider the size of the margins that UK lenders operate on compared to lenders in Europe or even the US, it is clear that we have by far the most efficient mortgage industry in the world.

I am sure we can look forward to, or expect, progressive development of regulation of the mortgage industry. The timetable is already in place for that to happen, but there is a real need for the further consultation with experts working within the field.

As we know, mortgage regulation is in a state of transition while the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) draft rules are keenly awaited. It seems certain that its new regulations will cover lenders and financial promotion, but not the direct regulation of intermediaries. The Mortgage Code’s form of non-statutory regulation is fast and flexible and complements statutory regulation.

Let us hope Mr Brown and the Treasury work closely with the Mortgage Code Compliance Board, the FSA and other agencies to ensure that consumers get the protection they deserve while recognising the tremendous work already being done throughout the mortgage industry, and particularly by the majority of mortgage intermediaries.

My message to the Prime Minister and his colleagues in Government is this: please leave the mortgage industry alone ‘ it works very well as it is. In other words, if it is not broken, why fix it?

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