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Is there any need for another trade body?

The Chartered Insurance Institute this month launched the Society of Mortgage Professionals and is looking to invest £2m in it to help brokers become better qualified and increase their professionalism.

Richard Fox, currently compliance director at the MCCB, is to be SMP&#39s chief executive from November 1, the date it will be up and running.

The trade body will work alongside the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries rather than in competition with it and AMI director Chris Cummings has agreed to join SMP&#39s advisory board. Membership cost is expected to be in the region of £100 a year. With many brokers already paying fees to AMI, CML and other organisations, this week&#39s vox pop looks at whether the trade body market is becoming overcrowded.

So, Mortgage Strategy asks: “Is there a need for another industry body – the Society of Mortgage Professionals was launched last week – or are there already enough?” Mike Fitzgerald, Brentchase Financial Services It&#39s a good move, but the timing could have been given a little more thought. Though SMP won&#39t launch until November many brokers are still unsure about their position and probably won&#39t even open the envelope until after Mortgage Day. Launching anything in the next six weeks is not a great idea as brokers are preoccupied.

Dev Malle, Pink Home Loans It&#39s unclear what position SMP will fill. AMI has done considerable work in representing the mortgage intermediary and a cynic may say SMP is setting itself up when the hard work on regulation has nearly been done. Until we know more about the substance behind yet another industry acronym it is difficult to judge.

Mike Fry, Halton Insurance Service There is no need for another trade body. It&#39s just copying the template of AMI, something the FSA should have a handle on. Why reinvent the wheel? The fact it has been launched by the CII may be advantageous to London-based brokers as they move in those circles but it&#39s not particularly relevant for the rest of the country. If it is to work alongside AMI it could be useful. It&#39s a case of disseminating all the important information from a variety of sources. Providing qualifications is a selling point but if brokers took all the courses available to them, everyone&#39s business cards would be about 15 feet long.

David Dodsworth, Professional Mortgage Partnership I welcome anything that can assist brokers get qualified and will ultimately benefit the consumer.

Roy New, sole broker I think the SMP is jumping on the bandwagon after the success of AMI. There&#39s no sense in brokers being members of AMI and SMP and paying fees to both. The IFS already caters for the needs of certified mortgage specialists.

Andy Valvona, Mortgage Next Although AMI is doing a good job, particularly in the attention it is paying to general insurance at the moment, there is always room for more trade bodies. Brokers pay membership fees and can choose which organisation to join. If SMP is planning to develop a qualification it will have to work closely with the FSA. There is no real way of judging competency levels among brokers so trade bodies and examinations that achieve this should be welcomed.

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