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MS Leader: Plaudits for Sesame idea

When the Mortgage Market Review first hit in 2009 the one bright spot was its plan to individually register brokers.

The idea that brokers would have an individual number that followed them no matter where they went was considered by many as a key step in further professionalising the industry and also ensuring that anyone dodgy had no place to hide.

Networks and lenders frequently complain that they kick out advisers only to find that they’ve reappeared at another brokerage or appointed representative elsewhere.

So it was frankly bizarre when the FSA, having actually come up with a good idea, delayed and then shelved the plans.

The fact that Sesame Bankhall Group’s George Higginson is looking to build a system to individually register brokers as an interim measure is fantastic news then.

Higginson spoke passionately at the network’s annual dinner last week about the matter and how important he felt it was for the industry to get something going sooner rather than later.

However on a practical and financial basis other firms need to also get involved and help out. Many questions remain about how an individual register created by the industry would actually work practically. Who would Police it for a start. What role would the FSA play? And if the industry and operate a register would that lead to any discount in the rising fees the regulator charges to the firms involved?

Meanwhile, the speech by the chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders at the trade body’s annual conference last week continued its rich history of provoking the eire of mortgage brokers.

It still seems unclear what the CML’s chairman Martijn Van Der Heijden, who is also head of lending at direct-only lender HSBC, was actually going on about by “hidden proc fee differentials” other than as a deliberate provocation to a sector of the market he competes against.

But was the CML speech really the appropriate platform to indulge in this type of turf rivalry?

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