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AMI blasts FCA disregard for consultation concern

  • 26/06/2015
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AMI blasts FCA disregard for consultation concern
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has failed to listen to any of the arguments offered by the industry on its fee hikes, according to the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI).

Earlier this week, the FCA raised the minimum broker fee by 8.4%, taking the lowest fee payable by a firm from £1,000 to £1,084.

The FCA said in its response that it continued to believe its fee increases were ‘proportionate’ and ensured “that firms who only pay minimum fees continue to make a fair contribution to the recovery of our costs”.

In its consultation document published in March, the FCA proposed to raise fees and levies for the firms it regulates to support its funding.

AMI chief executive Robert Sinclair (pictured), said the FCA had ‘failed’ to accept any of the trade body’s arguments offered, adding that its case had been ignored by the regulator to date.

He added that AMI had also requested more information on data underlying the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levies, under which authorised financial services firms must pay for the industry’s compensation scheme, but was unsatisfied with the level of communication it had received from the FCA on the matter.

AMI said its board members are considering what actions to take next.

Among the proposals laid out by the FCA which AMI has objected to are:

•  the overall rise in fees
•  the rise in the minimum fee
•  the increase in fees for mortgage and protection firms
•  the scale of fees for consumer credit authorisation even where no income is allocated and;
•  the addition of consumer buy-to-let fees which most firms already include in their declared income.

Sinclair said: “The failure of the FCA to accept any of the arguments offered says much about the current mentality of the organisation as it evolves into a competition authority. The industry is expected to pay for this both in terms of cost and continued damage as it will undoubtedly be found wanting as a new landscape is carved by the changing regime.

“There appears no appreciation that the fees being added combined with the surprise elements of FSCS levies are imposing costs that challenge the budget management of firms,” he added.

“AMI regrets that its case has been ignored to date. The arguments we have proffered are no less valid. It appears that they need to be taken to a wider audience in order to be heard.”

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