Mortgage brokers group to meet FCA over rules

Mortgage brokers group to meet FCA over rules

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries will be meeting with the Financial Conduct Authority to discuss new rules that could govern homelending advice, Robert Sinclair has said.

Last week, the FCA published the results of its consultation into the new regulatory framework for individuals in banking, which Mr Sinclair, chief executive of Ami, said he was looking forward to discussing with the City watchdog.

In the 94-page document, Strengthening Accountability in Banking: a New Regulatory Framework for Individuals, the FCA acknowledged that previous consultations into the rules had thrown up concerns over the regulator’s decision to certify mortgage advisers.

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The FCA said there had been claims this introduced an inconsistency between mortgage advisers in banks and mortgage brokers or lenders that are outside the new regime.

Addressing these concerns, the FCA document said it acknowledged there could be an inconsistency in this area, adding: “After preparations for the new regime are complete, we will return to this issue and look at whether such inconsistencies should be addressed, as well as considering whether changes are needed to our Approved Persons Regime more generally.”

But Mr Sinclair said he was confident that brokers would not be at risk of further regulation because parliament has agreed there is a different level of risk.

He said: “We are looking forward to discussing this in due course with the FCA and I think there will be some realistic discussion and debate about what’s possible and what will be required.”

The rules are being introduced following recommendations made by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.

The certification regime applies to staff who could pose a risk of significant harm to the firm or any of its customers.

It is because the FCA believes they could pose such harm that it wants to include mortgage and investment advisers in this regime.

Firms themselves will be required to assess the fitness and propriety of certain employees, without regulatory pre-approval.

But Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury select committee and of the commission, raised concerns about the FCA regulating too many people in the banking sector.

He said: “Regulators should focus their efforts on those who can seriously harm a firm, its customers or the financial system.

“The scope of the conduct rules proposed by the FCA appears far too wide given that it extends to everyone but ancillary staff. In other words, the rules would cover almost everyone but the cleaners.”

Adviser view

Ian Gwinnell, director of Staffordshire-based All Counties Financial, said it was “imperative” that regulatory rules be applied “across all areas of advice, whether you’re working for a bank or not.

“There should be standardisation across all areas. If you are a decent adviser you’ve got nothing to worry about.”