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CII launches body to boost brokers&#39 professionalism

Richard Fox, currently compliance director at the MCCB, is to become SMP&#39s chief executive from November 1 when it will be up and running.

The CII is looking to invest £2m in SMP which will work to increase the professionalism of mortgage brokers and help them become better qualified.

Although the cost of membership has not yet been agreed it is expected to be around £100 per year.

SMP is developing a qualification, as yet unnamed, covering a number of areas including mortgage advice and equity release. Once the examination has been given the all-clear by the Department of Education and Skills&#39 Qualifications and Curriculum Authority it will be available to all brokers.

The qualification is intended to be portable and recognised outside the industry – including by consumers. SMP is also in talks with firms to offer a white label qualification using their own brand names.

Fox says: “We have a bank of knowledge to help people develop their own qualifications. My feeling is that if people take the trouble to become a member of something it indicates that they are trying to get it right.”

AMI director Chris Cummings has agreed to join SMP&#39s advisory board. Rob Clifford, managing director of mortgageforce, and Nick Baxter, partner in Baxter&#39s Business Consultants, have so far verbally agreed to join.

Cummings says: “The Association of IFAs has worked closely with the Society of Financial Advisers and we hope to replicate that relationship with SMP.”

But industry pundit Monty Burn says: “Will another trade organisation not just add to the fragmentation the consumer sees when dealing with brokers? After all they already have to get their head around FSA, FOS, AMI, CML and BSA. And now SMP.”

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