A shocking indictment but not as you mean it, Mr Markham

From Dermot Brannigan

A &#39shocking indictment of our industry&#39 eh? (Terry Markham, head of networkone, in Mortgage Strategy Letters to the Editor, October 20: Most brokers still in the dark about regulation).

Apparently, 250 brokers have &#39not received any meaningful support from a lender, packager or network&#39 regarding regulation.

Why don&#39t they open their eyes and ears? The only shocking indictment is that a packager surveys 500 brokers (presumably those that send in business to the company) and finds that a quarter are not only unqualified to give mortgage advice but are prepared to admit it. Then the head of the network company goes to the press to whinge about the industry rather than call the MCCB to report these brokers.

Let&#39s look at little more closely at the evidence of this survey. A packager calls 500 brokers and finds that 125 do not have CeMAP but still give mortgage advice. Is this saying that 25% of the business the packager receives is from unqualified advisers or was this just coincidence?

These brokers are also saying that they are likely to &#39move into unregulated secured loan and commercial sectors in 2004&#39.

We now start to get a really good idea of the type of individual we are talking about: someone who hasn&#39t bothered – or wasn&#39t clever enough – to pass CeMAP and is prepared to give up mortgage advice as it will be regulated but to carry on in unregulated areas, presumably so they won&#39t get caught. And then they have the cheek to blame the industry for not providing them with meaningful support.

We have to assume that &#39meaningful support&#39 means that they want a lender or network to recognise the need for unqualified advisers. After all, I&#39m sure they tell their clients that they&#39re unqualified and as a result those clients would not dream of taking advice from anyone else. I&#39m spending the last three months of 2003 going to seminars and meetings set up by lenders, packagers, networks and regulators. Every mortgage publication is filled with information and opinions on regulation. How can anyone say there is no support?

But there again, I&#39m serious about my business which is why I&#39m fully qualified and intend to take in as much information as will allow me to make a professional decision about the future of my business.

As for you, Mr Markham, I understand from previous reports that you are intending to set up a network and act as a principal after October 2004. This means that if I joined your network you would be responsible for my compliance – and yet at the moment you accept business from unqualified advisers. I think the &#39shocking indictment of this industry&#39 is that a broker&#39s future could be in your hands.

Dermot Brannigan

DB Mortgage Services

Swindon

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