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Editor’s note: Credit where it’s due

Despite the seemingly never-ending and fruitless shenanigans going on at the top levels of government, the year got off to a better start in the broker world. The FSCS unveiled its fees for the financial year 2019 to 2020, which included a considerably lower levy for brokers than the year prior – £18m less to be precise.

Brokers no longer have to pay towards pensions and investment claims, so the new fee is £4m for the year, topped up by £1m to be contributed by providers after the FCA last year ruled they should pay 25 per cent of adviser fees.

Fair credit must be given to the Association for Mortgage Intermediaries in its relentless lobbying for the reduction in levies. The persistence paid off.

The MPC held the base rate at 0.75 per cent last week, which will have surprised few, but means that mortgage rates should remain at historically low levels for the foreseeable.

Given the rates now available, it was further good news to hear that the FCA plans to help mortgage prisoners lumbered with products they can’t afford. But there is no need to wait for the regulator if there’s something you can do to help clients stuck with products they are struggling to pay for.

The start of February saw the broker interviews take place for the final round of the Mortgage Strategy awards, and while the general mood music around the property market may be one of uncertainty and hesitation, given the current economic climate, these interviews proved that brokers and distributors are not wasting any time innovating and moving the market forward.

The passion and commitment of advisers is always refreshing and the presentations proved that whatever happens this year, brokers will adapt. There may be far fewer brokers in the market than 10 years ago, but the quality of those who remain is exceptional.

This will be my final editor’s note for a while as I am taking a break to have a baby! From 22 February I’ll be leaving Mortgage Strategy in the capable hands of the existing editorial team and a couple of other familiar faces. I am sure I’ll be back in touch with the industry when I get the chance, but for now it’s ‘slán go fóill’!


Editor’s note: Many questions left unanswered

Last month’s autumn Budget proved slightly more fruitful for the mortgage and housing industries than spring’s ‘damp squib’ but despite Philip Hammond declaring that “we can’t resolve the productivity challenge or deliver the high standard of living the British people deserve without fixing our housing market”, there was still plenty left to be desired. While […]

Editor’s note: The true spirit of the season

Have we really reached the end of another year already? It seems like no time since we were ringing in 2018, anticipating a challenging 12 months ahead but expecting to be much more in the know about the trajectory the country would be taking, both politically and economically by year-end. Yet, three months before the […]

Editor’s note: Hopes for answers in Budget box

As you read this note, Philip Hammond should be putting the finishing touches to what will be concealed within that famous red briefcase, given he has a tighter deadline than many expected. The Autumn Budget will be unveiled on a Monday in late October this year, a non-traditional day and month, and something of a […]


Talk of interest rate cut heats up

The inflation rate coming it at 1.8 per cent, a two-year low, has fuelled talk in some quarters of the Bank of England potentially reversing its recent direction and cutting interest rates. Adding fuel to this is the fact that, despite the Monetary Policy Committee minutes that covered the last interest rate decision saying that […]

The savvy consumer

In last year’s FCA thematic review of the mortgage market, one of the key things highlighted was the “savvy consumer”. That’s the client who comes in the door with a very clear idea of what they need and expect you to get them it. They don’t think they need advice, they have after all consulted […]


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