The Society of Mortgage Professionals has stated it is confident the industry can achieve the regulator’s proposal for consumers to receive ‘holistic expertise’ from brokers.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s recent occasional paper on access to financial services contained a suggestion that consumers looking to get a mortgage should have access to “holistic advice and guidance” to help them consider borrowing in the context of other circumstances and goals, such as pensions, possible future care needs and inheritance.
Mortgage advisers and networks reacted by pointing out how unrealistic this would be in practice, arguing it could lead to intermediaries becoming ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.
However, the society’s head of professional development Lee Travis stated it could be possible through a combination of qualifications, on-going CPD and the ability to refer to an appropriate adviser.
He did go on to admit that qualifications alone were not the way forward. “However, twinning them with continued professional development could be an effective solution,” added Mr Travis.
“We strongly agree that a borrower’s whole financial situation should be considered when taking out a mortgage.
“The new pension freedoms, record low interest rates, ever-lengthening mortgage terms and the consistent rise in the average age of a first time buyer are just some of the things that must be taken into account when assessing a customer’s ability to afford the repayments,” he stated.
The society backed a balanced programme of CPD, enabling advisers to keep abreast of the latest market changes, as representing a practical, workable solution.
“Currently there is no annual regulatory requirement for mortgage and protection advisers to complete CPD, whereas their IFA counterparts have to, in order to gain a statement of professional standing,” Mr Travis noted.
“Our members already carry out CPD and if structured accordingly across the sector, the FCA could be assured that mortgage advisers could provide the holistic expertise and guidance they are seeking.”
Last month TenetLime’s managing director Gemma Harle agreed consumers need to consider their retirement strategy if they are taking their mortgage out in later life or for a longer term, but pointed out holistic advice does not need to be from one adviser.
She said: “They (borrowers) just need access to advice that covers all of their needs.”