The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries is urging the Financial Conduct Authority to reconsider plans for a searchable directory of advisers.
The trade body accused the FCA of “working in siloes” after the regulator put forward plans for a tool for consumers to find advisers. A similar tool is already provided by the Money Advice Service.
The new FCA directory will continue to show appointed representatives after the senior managers and certification regime has been extended. This meets the requirements set out under the Mortgage Credit Directive.
AMI supports the addition of mortgage advisers to this list to enhance transparency for firms and consumers, but it has identified a lack of co-ordination between related consultations and the duplication of remit.
The work and pensions select committee asked the FCA to improve its register, specifically to ensure that consumers could check if a firm or individual has had their permissions restricted or suspended. However, the FCA plans to go further than these recommendations by creating a tool for consumers to find advisers – a facility is already provided by the Money Advice Service.
AMI chief executive Robert Sinclair (pictured) says he’s concerned the FCA is wasting resources. “AMI perceives that there is a regulatory view that MAS is a third party on par with a commercial firm, whereas MAS is a statutory body funded by industry in the same way as the FCA. The memorandum of understanding between MAS and the FCA commits to ‘minimise inconsistency and duplication and to promote coordination’ by ‘working together on information aimed at consumers’.
“We would have expected the FCA to consider MAS’s existing retirement adviser directory rather than the duplication set out in these proposals. The FCA should have also consulted more widely before adding this function to the current register.”
AMI says the proposals directly cut across the Mortgages Market Study work on broker choice published in May 2018, and it is asking the FCA’s competition team to reconsider its plans.
“The new directory will show a list of all advisers, including mortgage advisers, and the information that will be displayed addresses most of the issues raised in the market study. Firms shouldn’t be asked to pay for two pieces of similar work running side by side,” says Sinclair, “Our view is that the new directory should stop at the point of outlining firms’ permissions and any search facility to find an appropriate adviser should sit within the adviser directory held by MAS and its successor.”