CML decries micro-management by regulators

CML decries micro-management by regulators

Regulators must avoid micro-managing the mortgage market in the name of competition, the director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders has said.

Giving his keynote address at the CML Scotland annual lunch, Paul Smee said: “I appreciate why the FCA feels the need to look at how distribution is working and would rather they did it now when things look benign than in five years when they had concluded that things were going wrong.

"Lenders always knew there would be an onerous request for data, but even we are surprised at how much is being sought. In our view, the FCA is asking for far too much information from lenders, far too quickly."

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Mr Smee told attendees he hoped the FCA would "reflect and refine this to a slightly more proportionate approach", and said: "I also hope that they do not get all granular with their report.

"Micro-management of markets even in the name of competition doesn’t usually work. Let’s stick to big themes and where there is palpable detriment."

David Hollingworth, associate director, communications at L&C Mortgages, commented: "We seem to move from one review into another and any steps forward we take to putting advice at the heart of the mortgage process keep being outpaced by additional regulation.

"Once we achieve something for the benefit of consumers, there seems to be another review. The Mortgage Market Review was crucial but we need time now to let the market get on with it."

"It is good to look at the market and conduct reviews from time to time but I think lenders need room to breathe, and advisers want to be able to focus on the customer."

Although the CML is set to merge with the British Bankers Association later this year, Mr Smee commented: "The quality of mortgage representation, data, and voice will not be compromised by the change, and the new product council will offer the same sort of home for all types of mortgage lender which CML does today."

Carol Anderson, chairman of CML Scotland, also told delegates at the lunch that increasing housing stock as a top priority if the industry is to meet the aspirations of would-be home-owners.

She said: "Scotland will need more homes built to continue to fulfil people's aspirations. It is reassuring to see house building being placed firmly as a priority by Scottish and UK governments.

"The CML in Scotland will work with government in finding ways to make existing avenues to build more streamlined while also exploring new pathways to house building.

"We hope the government remains open-minded to all forms of tenure in future housing policies to accommodate different needs and preferences of consumers."