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PFS and Ami call for fair mortgage regulation

PFS and Ami call for fair mortgage regulation

Regulation must be fair and levies on the mortgage industry must be fair, a senior figure at the Personal Finance Society has stated.

Vishal Pandya, operations manager for the Society of Mortgage Professionals, part of the Personal Finance Society, said that when it came to the twin challenges of the Financial Conduct Authority's competition review and regulatory levies, both had to be "proportionate".

He said: "The ideal solution for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy should create improved consumer protection.

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"When considering funding options, seeking a solution that eases cost pressures on firms, reduces the unpredictability of levies and reflects relative risk will ultimately make advice more affordable and accessible to consumers."

He said the charging mechanism ought to better reflect the relative risk-profiles of adviser firms, so the cost of funding the system would be borne more by those who are likely to cause compensation payouts from the scheme.

Mr Pandya added: "It is therefore our view at the PFS that all options should be considered given the once-in-a-generation opportunity that FAMR presents to the profession."

He said options could include  product levies, a prefunded system and a risk-based or pooled risk levy.

Mr Pandya's comment came as Pat Bunton, chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, warned that firms have "expended great energy" in getting the necessary documentation ready for the FCA as it carries out its mortgage market competition review.

He said it was vital that any regulations coming out as a result of the review should be "contextualised" against the positive market backdrop, and recognise there was: "No clear need for intervention in the mortgage market".

Speaking at the Ami annual dinner in London last night (15 June), Mr Bunton added: "My strong view will still be that Ami will resist any regulation which ends up stripping people of their ability to switch for a better deal."

He also pledged Ami would continue to: "lobby for a reduction in fees in general", a point iterated by Rob Sinclair, chief executive of Ami.

Mr Sinclair said: "We have to work in environment where we trust our regulators and they trust us. Without trust we have nothing.

"One bit that worries me about the FCA's competition review is that, anecdotally, members tell us the competition team 'does not get' our market. 

"This could be just based on some basic questions they are asking firms to test knowledge and assumptions, but if this is not the case then I am genuinely concerned.

"The FCA should be proportionate in [the outcomes] of the Review but until we see the detail of it, we will not know."

He added: "In respect of the compensation levies, the fact good participants are having to pay for those players who no longer operate means any levies have to be relevant and fair and work in the right way."