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Bunton says individual registration a high priority

The new chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, Patrick Bunton, says implementing individual registration of mortgage advisers is a “high priority” but says any future register should apply to brokers and lenders’ staff.

Bunton, who is also the operations and compliance director of mortgage broker London & Country and has spent the last four years as Ami’s deputy chairman, was made the trade body’s chairman last week replacing Lord Deben, aka former MP John Gummer, who had been Ami’s chairman since July 2004.

He says: “We believe the FSA is the right body to deal with individual registration as it has the whole authorised persons regime for the investment world. To extend that to mortgages would be positive.

“It is difficult when you see case after case going through enforcement, typically small firms, and you think ‘give us individual registration and we can make sure any bad eggs cannot reincarnate and come back into the industry’. That needs additional work and I suspect we will end up exploring an industry-led solution in the interim.

“It is a high priority for everyone and if you talk to all of the stakeholders in the industry, lenders would want it.”

But one of the stumbling blocks he says is that if we get individual registration we are clear it should apply to the entire industry and that includes the lender community so that it is a level playing field.

He says: “It is worth it to have an industry where the individuals operating in it are held to account for what they do.”

In its first mortgage market review consultation paper in 2009, the FSA said it would create a register of brokers to provide a public record of all authorised mortgage intermediaries and limit the ability of individuals to hide from regulatory penalties.

But at the end of 2010, it delayed the plan until 2012/2013. Then in February this year, the FSA revealed it has indefinitely delayed the development of the register.

The FSA says the delay is down to “systems implications” caused by the upcoming switch to the new regulatory system in April. However, it says it is keen to work with the industry to come up with an interim solution.

Last month, Mortgage Strategy revealed Sesame Bankhall Group and other key providers are looking at building an interim system to individually register brokers.

Bunton adds: “This is not something that can be driven by Ami in isolation, or the CML or the BSA – this is something that needs all parties to agree on. But something like this will only work if everyone signs up to it – you cannot have a divided community on this one.”

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