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FSA-ready packagers face easy ride

Although there is concern that many packagers have left it too late to be authorised in time for Mortgage Day, some say they already have procedures up and running to ensure they do not unwittingly stray into regulated territory.

National packager The Finance Centre issued instructions two years ago to staff not to speak directly to customers so they are not drawn into offering advice.

The business to business operation also records and files all telephone calls to protect itself and to ensure a comprehensive record of all dealings.

The Finance Centre has developed an online management information system which enables advisers, branch managers and network managers to track not only individual cases but also to monitor overall sales trends and highlight areas of potential growth or concern.

The program has been in development for two years and would allow the regulator access to cross-reference all transactions carried out by the packager.

Wayne Smethurst, partner at The Finance Centre, says: “When regulation began occupying our thoughts at TFC a couple of years ago we assumed all parts of the mortgage chain would be covered including packagers, mortgages clubs and even sourcing systems. We began building our proposition around that assumption and even in the recent period of uncertainty, have continued to do so.”

TFC says it has decided to apply for FSA authorisation in light of recent communications from the regulator.

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