The PMS Mortgage Club has launched a financial crime and mortgage fraud prevention service, highlighting the issue as a "deep concern" for advisers.
The launch coincides with the Financial Conduct Authority's calls yesterday (May 15) for greater focus on the prevention of such crime rather than merely reimbursing victims.
Part of the Sesame Bankhall Group, the mortgage club will update directly authorised firms on emerging threats in the market and provide support on how to combat fraudulent mortgage activity.
The service includes good practice information for working with introducers, guidance for buy-to-let business and working with portfolio landlords, and lender insights on threats in the mortgage market.
PMS has also joined its sister company Bankhall to provide support services for advisers who wish to review their anti-fraud systems and safeguards.
Jane Benjamin, director of mortgages at PMS Mortgage Club, said: "Mortgage fraud is an area of deep concern for advisers, and tackling financial crime has also been highlighted as a priority area by the FCA, including in their recently published business plan for 2019/20.
"These issues and risks are continually evolving, so our message to advisers is to be vigilant and stay safe."
Ms Benjamin said the mortgage club was working closely with its members and lender partners to share information and best practice on how to deal with the threat.
She added: "Our new hub will keep advisers informed and updated on the latest developments, with new PMS and lender content added on a regular basis as new threats emerge.
"In the event that advisers have suspicions on a case then we’re also making it easier for them to take the appropriate action."
In a Treasury select committee evidence session yesterday Megan Butler, executive director of supervision, investments, wholesale and specialist at the FCA, said the industry focus must be on the prevention of fraud and not "merely on reimbursement" to its victims.
Her comments came as the Financial Ombudsman Service released its annual report detailing a 43 per cent rise in complaints reported to the service regarding fraud and scams last year, up from 8,523 in 2017/18 to 12,195 complaints in 2018/19.
Shaun Church, director at Private Finance and who helped develop PMS' financial crime and fraud prevention service, said: "As PMS members it’s important for us to work together in order to ensure that potential fraudsters do not have free rein within the broker community to dupe unsuspecting firms and their customers.
"That’s why this latest initiative from PMS Mortgage Club is to be welcomed, by providing a focal point and easy mechanism for reporting such enquiries, so well done to PMS for listening and implementing this.
"I feel that it is a great example of how brokers can work together with their mortgage club and lenders for the benefit of all parties – long may it continue."
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