View more on these topics

On the beat

As we edge closer to Mortgage Day, I am concerned by some of the signs I am seeing.

In June I suggested there was the potential for a major loss of practitioners. However, this close to Mortgage Day I did not expect the situation to be so acute.

Last week&#39s frank admission by a network that it had failed to get close to a critical mass of appointed representatives was a chilling sign of low application numbers. Back in May the numbers looked to signal a trend. The numbers of direct applications to the FSA were low – much lower that most commentators had forecast. The assumption was that those that had not applied directly would join a network. There was always the understanding that some would leave the industry, but the numbers missing are beginning to look more like a haemorrhage than a trickle.

We have all read dozens of articles and direct mail promotions using phrases like &#39the clock is ticking&#39. But there is still time and I urge all those who have not yet made their decisions to do so now. Not to do so will have long-lasting effects on your clients and your future business success.

Those who remember the regulation of investments in 1988 will recall the rush of applications on the final day. This time there are no such dispensations. I would like to be surprised and see a deluge of applications in the next week but fear the worst.

The low level of applications also gives networks problems. They must meet their forecasts for membership to offer a viable network proposition. History might show there were too many networks on offer.

Those that leave the industry will create a vacuum that could be hard to fill. Customers could be left with a severely restricted choice in mortgage products. This might lead to an unexpected bonus for lenders with branch distribution. Such lenders could mop up customers unable to find a mortgage intermediary. But what choice is there for customers buying a mortgage via that distribution channel? Whole of market? Definitely not.

I risk sounding like one of those direct mail letters but if you have not yet made your decision, delay no longer. It will be a criminal offence to sell mortgages without the necessary regulatory clearance and if you think you can run your business on non-regulated lending, guess again.

We owe it to our customers to present a unified front


Scottish Provident gives clear regulatory direction on distance marketing

From October 9, intermediaries selling protection will have to comply with the Distance Marketing Directive as part of FSA regulation for protection and general insurance. The DMD means that for all sales that take place in any form other than face to face, intermediaries should ensure clients have a copy of all the terms and […]

Stroud & Swindon launches two-year fixed rate mortgage

Some of the features of the product include free valuation on properties valued up to £600,000, discounted legal fees package available for remortgages, no early repayment charge after November 30, 2006 and up to 25% of the loan can be repaid at any time without an early repayment charge.

RICS records first house price fall in a year

The decline follows a run of three interest rate rises in just four months over the spring and summer. RICS says prospective buyers have taken heed of rising borrowing costs and warnings from the Bank of England, though there are few signs that a significant market downturn is around the corner. With fewer people registering […]

Exclusive Connections MD resigns

O&#39Hearne says: “Patrick has done a phenomenal job taking Exclusive Connections from 20 members and completions of £300m per annum to a nationwide organisation of 35 member packagers with completions exceeding £1.5bn. “Patrick has resigned for personal reasons, however, as a shareholder and board member, he will remain active within the Exclusive Connections organisation. Exclusive […]

Naming a reward programme

Six tips to get your reward programme name right

by Debra Corey, group reward director  Choosing a name isn’t easy. Whether it’s for your new puppy, a bundle of joy or your reward programme, a name determines a first impression – and often a lasting memory. When it comes to your reward programme, the name will determine how your employees feel about it even before […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up