Peter Beaumont is deputy chief executiveof Mortgages PLC
A big mistake when it comes to analysing the packaging industry is to assume it is a homogenous group of companies. It is anything but.
It is astonishing to me that Michael Bolton continues to voice an opinion on the market which shows his grasp of mortgage distribution is tenuous at best. I don’t know why he finds it necessary to attack a distribution sector that handles 30% of the industry’s turnover. Now, having run out of sensible things to say he is resorting to nonsense. His first misconception is that packagers give advice. Packagers do not give advice and most have systems in place to make sure that everyone they deal with is clear that they are not advising but setting out a selection of choices that fit applicants’ criteria. Second, the vast majority of packagers are authorised by the Financial Services Authority for the parts of their trading activities that are regulated, and they run their businesses in compliance with the FSA’s principles and rules. They have nothing to fear from regulation and are trading happily within the regulated regime. Third, if there are any networks whose members are seeking advice from packagers, those networks need to get a training and competence regime organised that puts a stop to this immediately. Principals are responsible for the compliance of their appointed representatives and nobody else. With regard to Bolton mentioning Personal Touch Insurance being concerned and asking for the audited accounts of its packagers, this is normal business practice when entering into business alliances such as the network/packager relationship. At the Professional Mortgage Packagers Alliance we vet the accounts of prospective members, so any networks looking for packagers know where to come. If Bolton’s predictions had any weight packagers would have disappeared by now, but the sector is alive, well and prospering. It’s time he moved on to a more credible topic.