The mortgage industry is beginning to debate whether it is appropriate for brokers to be registered with the Mortgage Code Compliance Board (MCCB) more than once.
Independent brokers would have little need or desire to register twice as it would mean incurring double the required fees. However, brokers channelling business through mortgage clubs or networks that let brokers operate under an aggregate MCCB registration number may wish to register separately or sign up with another network offering aggregate MCCB membership.
There is concern that this could cause confusion for regulators and borrowers.
Ian Balfour, director at Solent Mortgage Services, said he feels uncomfortable with the concept of dual registration.
He said: ‘A positive from CP98 is that one of its main aims was to provide potential borrowers with the right information at the right time. As an industry, we should be striving to increase the quality of information and advice provided to clients. But the question is does multi-registration under the MCCB make this harder to achieve?’
Brad Baker, head of communications at the MCCB, said: ‘It is not a problem for a broker to have more than one registration. However, the firm must make it clear which guise they are operating under at the start of the discussion. This is not subject to review at the moment.’
But according to industry sources, one of the chief concerns is that brokers may push different cases through different networks in order to maximise on commission, and with the MCCB not demanding the name of each individual on aggregate memberships, it becomes impossible to make compliance checks.
David Copland, sales and marketing director at Pink, said: ‘Advisers should be registered through one company only. The regulator will have a real problem when they visit brokers ‘ how do they know which registration advice is given under and if there is a problem which license do they revoke?’
Rob Clifford, managing director at mortgageforce, said a network using aggregate memberships may be worried about issues of brand protection arising from members operating both inside and outside of the network.
He said: ‘I can understand why the networks would not be happy about this as it leaves real room for consumer confusion. Where does the advice under one network stop and another begin?’
Pam Hawkins, general manager of mortgage network IMA, said she did not expect IMA members to have two registration numbers as members have whole-of-market access, but said where it was occurring problems could arise.
‘The question is which hat will the broker be wearing when they meet the client. They can not walk in and then decide which number to operate under.’