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Secured loans industry loses its standards body after 30 years

After 30 years as a self-regulatory and standards body in the secured loans market, the Finance Industry Standards Association is to close.

FISA blames unprecedented conditions in the credit market for its decision and says a lack of members hit its finances severely.

The board considered a range of options to rescue the association such as increasing members’ fees, but ultimately none of these were found to be practical. FISA will close on April 14.

The activities previously undertaken by FISA will be split between the Finance and Leasing Association, representing lenders, and the Association of Finance Brokers, representing brokers.

The AFB will offer all former FISA brokers who are not already members free membership for six months and will enhance the advice it provides about Consumer Credit Act regulation and compliance.

In the past Robert Sinclair, director of AFB, has made no secret of his desire to see FISA become a len-der trade body.

Sinclair says brokers can be reassured that AFB will protect their interests.

He says: “AFB members are fortunate to come under the umbrella of our distinguished sister organisation, the Association of Indepen-dent Financial Advisers. This link provides us with essential support and influence.

“We will continue to lobby for more respect as an industry. “

FISA says its decision has nothing to do with the announcement that the Financial Services Authority is to consider regulating secured loans, something AFB has been campaigning for.

Phil Nunnerley, chairman of FISA, says: “The regulatory landscape is changing but the arrangements we have come to mean brokers and lenders will continue to get the advice and support they need.”

Matt Tristram, director of Loans Warehouse, says he will be sorry to see FISA go.

He says: “It’s a sign of the times that the industry can no longer financially sustain its standards body.”

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