Mortgages  

SMP confident brokers can offer ‘holistic expertise’ to customers

SMP confident brokers can offer ‘holistic expertise’ to customers

The Society of Mortgage Professionals said it was confident the industry could 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 who are looking to take out 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 a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.

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But the society’s head of professional development Lee Travis stated it could be possible through a combination of qualifications, ongoing CPD and the ability to refer to an appropriate adviser.

Mr Travis did admit qualifications alone were not the way forward. “However, twinning them with continued professional development could be an effective solution,” added Mr Travis.

“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, which enables advisers to keep abreast of the latest market changes, as representing a practical, workable solution.

Last month, TenetLime’s managing director Gemma Harle agreed that 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 that holistic advice does not need to be just from one adviser.

peter.walker@ft.com