CP146 may lead to further &#39top-up&#39 exams

Mortgage advisers who meet MCCB fitness and competence requirements may face top-up exams to gain FSA accreditation when mortgage regulation starts in 2004.

The MCCB has welcomed the FSA&#39s commitment to &#39grandfathering&#39 advisers into its new regime by recognising their CeMAP or MAQ qualifications.

The FSA has yet to choose between straightforward grandfathering, requiring no extra qualification, or a top-up system in the form of an exam or “other relevant assessment”.

Brad Baker, spokesman for the MCCB, admits: “We&#39re not sure how it will pan out.”

Advisers in equity release seem certain to face additional exams, which the FSA says are warranted by the “risks and particular characteristics” of lifetime mortgages.

CP146 gives little detail of the syllabus under FSA regulation and brokers are worried about facing the effort – and cost – of further exams so soon after the MCCB&#39s December qualification deadline.

The regulator plans to establish a single modular exam system across the financial services industry. It will consult on the competencies each mortgage adviser should possess and only then will exam providers be invited to design suitable papers. As a result, the new syllabus is unlikely to be in place before N4. The FSA says: “We recognise that we may not be able to confirm the precise exam requirement much before mortgage regulation starts.”

Paul Banfield, partner in Sutton-based Best Advice, says: “I get concerned when the goalposts keep moving. I don&#39t think making new exams is the way forward.”

And John Stewart, director of Basildon-based PMI IFA, says: “I don&#39t think it&#39s right for qualified advisers to have to go through another exam process purely because another regulator is taking over.”