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Regulate branch staff like brokers, says AMI

The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries has called on the Finan-cial Services Authority to apply the same regulatory standards to in-branch advisers that mortgage brokers are subject to.

In its response to the regulator’s Mortgage Market Review discus-sion paper AMI says it is critical for the FSA to level the playing field between brokers and branch staff when it comes to the regulation of sales processes.

The trade body cites product sales data published by the FSA last August which revealed that 90% of all mortgages sold by brokers were on an advised basis compared with 38% of those sold direct.

AMI then compares this with research by the Financial Ombudsman Service for 2008/09 which shows that brokers accounted for just 24% of mortgage complaints compared with 58% of complaints generated by banks.

AMI argues that on this basis direct branch sales should be subject to the same affordability and suitability requirements as brokers.

Robert Sinclair, director at AMI, says: “HSBC and First Direct are both in the non-advised space and I am not convinced that non-advised sales are the way to go for first-time buyers.

“This begs the question whether mortgage rates available via the direct channel are cheaper because sales are non-advised.”

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  • ANON 20th February 2010 at 10:49 am

    Robert Sinclair should have mentioned that the reason for HSBC and other banks alike processing large quantities of non-advised cases is down to their telephone based Mortgage Centres. These centres, although arguably wrong, favor the fast, non-advised process. If you walk into a high street branch however, you are far more likely to get an advised service. Regulation has nothing to do with it. If anything, the Banks just need to stop being so money hungry and promote a good, advised service across their whole business and not just with the professional in branch advisers.

  • Andy Valvona 17th February 2010 at 3:36 pm

    What planet is Robert Sinclair on? There are not 2 levels of regulation – one for brokers, and one for Banks/Building Societies. I think he will find that there is just one!!!

    In fact, if anything, working for a Bank/Building Society can be far more stringent. My partner has been a Mortgage Adviser with a High Street Bank for the past year, having previously held the same role with an IFA firm. She has far more stringent requirements placed on her now, both by way of procedures, and observations, than she ever endured at the IFA firm.

  • I Bartholomew 15th February 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Robert Sinclair needs to check his facts – HSBC do offer an advised service through it’s branch network. All it’s mortgage managers can provide both advised and non-advised sales.