At last, a reason for brokers to be happy


The proposal from the Financial Services Authority to make every mortgage seller hold the Level 3 mortgage qualification should have been music to the ears of brokers.

The aim is to improve the professional standards of all those involved in the mortgage sale, not just advisers. But the increased cost for lenders in getting their staff up to this level may be a bridge too far.

Many are already speculating that having to ensure staff in call centres and branches hold this qualification could mean the pendulum is moved in favour of what many argue is the more cost-effective intermediary distribution channel.

Add in the other costs for lenders that the Mortgage Market Review may bring and perhaps brokers have reason to feel more confident that their position in the mortgage chain is strengthened.

We will have to wait to see whether this scenario plays itself out but given that the regulatory reasons to be cheerful have been so few, we can perhaps allow ourselves a moment of confidence.

But the MMR is a far-reaching beast and for every victory there is a larger unintended consequence or downright threat to be warded off.
Some proposals will impact lenders’ ability and appetite to lend so we should not forget the damage that could be done.

While remaining a viable distribution channel is vital, it becomes less important if clients find it harder to get credit and we lose significant rafts of product to distribute. This is the big picture and no-one should lose sight of it.