Having read the contents of the letter from Dr Eleanor Linton of the Financial Services Authority to the Council of Mortgage Lenders' senior policy adviser Kate Main in the last issue of Mortgage Strategy, I have come to the following conclusion.
As long as a packager has no direct contact with customers and only provides information to intermediaries on the best product fit they will not fall into the advising or arranging regulated activities.
Perimeter guidance from CP186 clarified this position in AUTH app 4.5 to 4.8 and again in AUTH app 4.15. The FSA's view is that although packagers provide information to intermediaries, they are likely to be too remote to bring about a mortgage transaction.
The FSA's website provides further information on this subject in its FAQ section on mortgage and general insurance.
Whilst ICMG is a pure business-to-business packager – and we have systems and controls in place that prove this – it would be a cause for concern if, at the last minute, the FSA concluded that somehow we were performing a regulated activity.
That said, I have no doubt that once Mortgage Day passes this area will be reviewed – and if so, I trust that review will also look into the role of sourcing systems.
Dominic Payne de Cramilly