Broker urges care over FSA mortgage tables

Mortgage Talk director Andy Frankish has issued a cautious welcome to the new Financial Services Authority mortgage tables, launched last week, that enable prospective homebuyers to shop around and compare up to 100 mortgage providers online.

However, he warns that mortgage hunters must not simply rely on the information that the tables provide as they cannot be sure that they are receiving best advice for their individual circumstances.

Frankish believes the FSA scheme will be applauded among reputable brokers, advisers and mortgagees because it offers the general public a valuable source of reliable, unbiased information.

He says: “Because the information offered by the FSA site includes data such as early redemption penalties, interest rates chargeable and valuation fees, it represents an ideal resource for consumers to narrow down their preliminary requirements. This means that by the time they contact a broker, prospective buyers will have a more exact idea of the type of mortgage product they need.”

But Frankish says consumers should be aware that the FSA tables do not purport to replace the role of the mortgage broker. He adds: “It would be of huge concern to the industry if potential borrowers simply made their choice from the products shown in these tables. Because there are so many factors to consider when choosing a mortgage product, it is vitally important that even well-informed consumers take professional advice.

“Professional brokers should be happy to discuss the suitability of any type of mortgage product with their clients. If the prospective borrower has already done his or her research, then all the better, because it means that the adviser can help the client narrow down what they need from their mortgage, rather than establishing what to look for from first principles.”