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FLS is no lump of coal

This time last year, with the much-delayed third consultation paper for the Mortgage Market Review only just out, Mortgage Strategy was wondering whether the FSA’s latest regulatory opus was a lump of coal or Christmas gift for the intermediary industry.

A year on, it’s still difficult to see what the true impact of the MMR will be long term.

Its final rules, published in October this year, have permanently embedded in the market the conservative lending environment of the last five years since the downturn first struck.

The true test of how much a hindrance the regulations are to growth will be when the next boom hits.

What has unquestionably been a gift this year to both brokers and lenders has been the Funding for Lending Scheme which the Government set up over the summer.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders are already starting to show positive signs as a result – its October figures last week showed a total of 20,000 loans were advanced to first-time buyers in October, a rise of 14 per cent compared to September and up by 19 per cent compared to this time last year, with an additional uptick in remortgaging as well.

So what for 2013? In Countrywide financial services director Nigel Stockton’s column this week on page 14 he argues that by contrast to 2012, when many lenders retrenched and favoured their branch networks, increases in lending next year will be predominantly via the intermediary market and if you manage to keep your cost base flat in 2013, you will make an extra 10 per cent profit on what you are currently earning. Let’s hope he’s right and Merry Christmas from everyone at Mortgage Strategy.

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MS 17Dec CC Index

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A bull case for US equities?

Neptune video: a bull case for US equities?

Watch Felix Wintle, head of US equities at Neptune, discuss why he believes US equities are in a structural bull market and the key factors that can drive the S&P 500 higher.

In the video, Wintle addresses the following:

• The US market and why — despite equities rising from 2009 — he believes the structural bull market only started in 2013
• Key economic and corporate factors that can drive the S&P 500 higher
• Investment themes and sectors offering exposure to the domestic recovery