Editor’s note: Points of contention

You may be tired of talking/thinking about the FCA’s interim report into mortgage market competition nearly a month after it was released but the paper was nearly two years in the making so it’s no surprise really that it will continue to be picked over with a fine-toothed comb for some time to come.

On the whole, the report was positive, highlighting the benefit advice offers to mortgage borrowers and how brokers reduce the initial average cost of borrowing by an estimated £600 per annum in the introductory period.

However, there were some points of contention that brokers were less pleased with, such as the inference that brokers are failing to secure the cheapest deals for a third of customers. Commentary on the paper rightly calls the FCA out for contradicting itself by suggesting that the cheapest deal is always the best, while the regulator itself has guidelines in place to restrict some borrowers from securing the cheapest deals on the market due to income circumstances and other criteria.

The suggestion that a broker comparison tool may be introduced for consumers was also met with a mostly negative reaction. You can read the arguments for and against such a facility in this month’s Head 2 Head column on page 16.

Bear in mind that last month’s paper was just the interim report; the full report is still to come so we are far from done with discussing the findings!

Speaking of bones of contention, an ad from Which? Mortgage Advisers got brokers’ backs up in a big way in May. To be frank, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I spotted the ad on the train on my way home and knew that it would not go down well in the market.

One of the great things about this industry is that, while of course there is competition for clients, the approach taken is generally very healthy and brokers don’t feel the need to put down rivals to build successful businesses and win a share of the market. It really is in bad taste and it would be sad to others follow this approach; though I highly doubt it.

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