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CML urges FCA to consider regulation impact on competition

  • 21/12/2015
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CML urges FCA to consider regulation impact on competition
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has urged the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to consider whether newly imposed regulation might be hindering competition in the mortgage market.

The CML is also questioning whether some targeted deregulation might help the competitive landscape.

The response follows an FCA call for input into a review on how competition in the market may not be working well in the interest of consumers and how it could be improved.

There have been significant changes made to the UK mortgage market in the past few years. Many lenders have had to focus their resources on delivering changes, which the CML believes may have come at the expense of customer-focused innovation.

For this reason, the trade body wants regulators to ease up on further reform and for the time being focus on areas where regulation could be causing competitive distortion or suppression of legitimate business.

Specifically, the CML believes there is potential for a focus on how the regulatory environment can better support a digital mortgage market.

It said it might be possible to improve competition by ensuring that online channels are able to effectively compete with the face-to-face environment with consumers keen to research and transact online.

Earlier this month, Mortgage Solutions revealed that half of Aldemore’s mortgage traffic was driven by devices like mobiles and tablets.

The CML also believes in delivering a more holistic approach to advice to ensure that borrowers benefit from good access to suitable advice across the whole range of potential products and solutions.

This entails recognising that advisers have different specialisms and different qualifications which regulate what products they can advise on.

Paul Smee, the CML’s director general (pictured), said that the thousands of available mortgage products from well over a hundred lenders testify to a very competitive UK mortgage market.

“That said, there are some areas where modest deregulation – or, at least, permissive clarity from regulators on areas where taking a liberal interpretation currently feels like a risk to lenders – might help. Examples include the rules on assessing affordability when lending to borrowers whose loans will extend into retirement, as well as ensuring that the rules on mortgage sales and advice are fit for purpose in a digital age.”

In October, Mortgage Solutions revealed industry spokespersons welcomed the FCA’s review, but were negative to the timing with the Mortgage Credit Directive imminent and the Mortgage Market Review only recently bedded into history.

Earlier this fall, the FCA has also encouraged a debate into the viability in expanding the equity release market and the products it provides to customers.

The deadline to provide input into the FCA mortgage market review was 18 December, and a Feedback Statement will be published in the first quarter of 2016 summarising the FCA’s analysis of the answers and setting out any further action

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