At the moment, it seems as if barely a week goes by without the Financial Services Authority (FSA) launching another consultation paper which is due to impact on the way mortgage brokers do business post-October 2004.
Last week it was CP159 ‘ Appointed Representatives (AR), extending the current regime ‘ and many must have wondered what hoops the sector would have to jump through this time. The good news is that at first glance it appears to be a fairly sensible proposal¦for those who want to go down the AR route. It appears to allow those intermediaries currently operating across several categories to become an AR in the various categories under different ‘principals’ ‘ albeit with the potential for the principals to impose restrictions.
While not all mortgage brokers will choose to take the AR route, this document has important ramifications for those who are tied agents for life companies. As it stands, CP159 seems to place a great deal of power in the hands of the life companies as, with over 16% of the intermediary market, they could look to negotiate deals with intermediary networks for their distribution.
Mortgage Solutions will be undertaking a Regulatory Response Campaign on behalf of its readership and will present it to the FSA before the deadline next year.
The earlier campaign organised by Mortgage Solutions to produce a response to CP146 was a huge success and it looks as if brokers are now concerned enough about their future to make their voices heard.
It is not just brokers who are looking forward though, and December is clearly the time when lenders make their predictions for next year. It seems as if most have a fairly pessimistic outlook, suggesting slower, steadier growth and consolidation, but a look back at last year’s predictions shows a fairly similar picture, and we all know how they were proved wrong this year.
However, while the industry is hoping that its economists are again proved wrong and the growth continues apace, it is to be hoped they are more prepared next year and service standards do not slip. It is one thing to court growth, but it is the brokers who have to face the borrowers when standards slip.
On a final note the Mortgage Solutions team wishes all its readers a very happy Christmas and prosperous new year.