Don&#39t forget that other registration deadline

Brokers who have not yet reregistered with the Mortgage Code Compliance Board may break out in a cold sweat when they are reminded that registration renewal forms received by the board after April 30 will not be accepted.

After this date the firm will have to apply for registration as if it were a new company – which will involve extra administration costs as well as an additional fitness and propriety checking fee.

But for those brokers who intend to become appointed representatives, their chosen network could soon wipe that sweat away. Provided the broker is committed to the AR route and their network is willing to cover compliance matters, they can use their network&#39s MCCB registration number until Mortgage Day rather than re-registering with the board themselves.

Brad Baker, head of communications at the MCCB, says it is up to individual firms to decide if using a network&#39s MCCB number is the best option for them.

“It depends on how the broker conducts their business,” he says. “If they are committed to their network and place their business through the network&#39s books they may prefer to use the network&#39s registration number as long as it takes responsibility for compliance and any complaints.”

However, Baker believes this route will be only taken by a small number of brokers – a belief underlined by the large number of renewal registrations the board has received.

“The huge majority have already re-registered with the MCCB and these numbers are well ahead of the previous year,” he says. “The indications are that there are more firms going down the directly authorised route than anticipated. The FSA expected around 7,000 advisers to go direct but the numbers are exceeding this.”

Although it might be the most hassle-free option for some brokers, the board warns that using a network&#39s MCCB number could cause problems.

“By not renewing their registration with us, brokers could lose the due credit benefits provided by the FSA if they choose later to go directly authorised,” he adds. “This means they could potentially be subject to greater scrutiny from the FSA.”

Alan Hinett, mortgage broker at Wolverhampton-based FSC Investment Services, says his firm hasn&#39t renewed its licence with the MCCB yet. “There&#39s still a lot of confusion in the market over which authorisation route to take,” he adds. “We haven&#39t decided whether we&#39ll stay with our network or go for direct authorisation and it is the same for a lot of other firms. Therefore, choosing whether to use the network&#39s MCCB number won&#39t be a clear-cut decision either.”

And Brian Humphreys, managing director of Weston-super-Mare-based 1 to 1 Mortgages, believes it is safer for brokers to renew their registrations.

“Many networks are still carrying out checks on potential ARs which could take a couple of months,” he says. “And there&#39s always the danger the network may not get authorised so the safe option is to pay the £40 renewal fee to the MCCB. Also many networks are still coming out with their propositions so brokers are playing the waiting game.”