Richard Hall, head of Newcastle-based packager Best Advice Mortgage Centre, has come out with a rather controversial statement ‘ that lenders and packagers should be paying for brokers to sit their exams.
Recently we have seen a spate of new initiatives from lenders, packagers, clubs and networks offering access to CeMap and MAQ training. But according to Hall, this is not enough ‘ they should be stumping up cash too.
Bearing in mind there are 40,000 brokers in the UK, this proposition does seem somewhat unfeasible ‘ however helpful it would be to the intermediary community. But cost issues aside, is it really the lenders’ and packagers’ responsibility to do this? It was the Government, not the mortgage industry, that imposed regulation on brokers.
Many brokers have responded quite negatively to compulsory qualifications ‘ with factors such as age and years spent giving advice put forward as reasons why they don’t need to pass an exam to prove they can do their job. But any broker who is so confident in their skills should not have too much of a problem passing the exam.
The Institute of Financial Services recommends around 40 hours study per paper ‘ so there is no question this will prove quite a bind for brokers trying to get qualified, particularly for those working alone, or for very small firms. It will be difficult and any support from lenders, packagers, clubs, or networks will go along way in helping brokers meet the deadline.
But time is running out ‘ there are less than 230 days left for brokers to register (if they have not already done so), study and pass the exams ‘ or risk finding themselves unable to provide mortgage advice next year.
This may not pose a big problem for an IFA who does not do a great deal of mortgage business, however, specialist mortgage brokers could find themselves out of a job.
There is no point debating whether compulsory examinations are necessary, or indeed fair ‘ your time is better spent preparing for the exams you need to pass. Neither is it worth putting faith in lenders or packagers to help you through. Any support they can offer is always welcome, but it is each and every broker’s own responsibility to get qualified ‘ no-one else’s.