The Mortgage Code Compliance Board has expressed concern that some mortgage intermediary firms seem still to be unaware of the significance of the regulatory changes occurring later this year and of the actions that are required if a firm wishes to remain in the industry.
It is vital that firms realise the importance of submitting completed applications for FSA authorisation by April 30 as the FSA cannot guarantee processing applications received after that date in time for Mortgage Day.
If a firm is not authorised or an appointed representative of an FSA authorised principal firm on Mortgage Day it will be unable to conduct any regulated mortgage activities – effectively it must cease trading. After Mortgage Day it will be a criminal offence to conduct a regulated activity relating to mortgage selling or administration without authorisation.
The FSA opened its doors to applications for authorisation from mortgage and general insurance firms on January 19 and the deadline of March 31 for discounted early application fees has passed.
If firms remain at all unsure of their chosen route – and many networks and other firms seeking principal status have yet to clarify their offerings to firms considering becoming ARs – they should apply for direct authorisation to keep their options open. Remember though that the FSA will only process an application for authorisation if it is 'complete' – i.e. does not require supplementary return or follow-up.
All the application forms are available on the FSA's website at www.fsa.gov.uk/mgi and can be submitted electronically. Guidance on how to complete the application is available from the FSA's telephone contact centre on 0845 605 55 25.
Luke March, chief executive of MCCB, says: “I make no apology for spelling out this message on every possible occasion given its significance to our industry.
I do hope firms will take the steps necessary to ensure they secure their future in this industry.”