News that the Financial Services Authority is putting back the extension of its approved persons regime by a year or even two came as a shock last week.
The Mortgage Market Review has unified the industry like no other issue – everyone has been against it. But at any industry discussion about the MMR the one part of it that the industry has been in favour of has been the individual registration of brokers.
The idea that brokers would be given a registration number that would stay with them no matter what firm they worked at appeals to both lenders and brokers.
It’s been relatively quiet for fines and bans in November and December so far, but over the year we’ve seen a vast number of brokers fined for everything from fraud to failure to pay fees.
The last three years have done much to drive the rogues and cowboys out of the industry. But privately lenders complain that they are still finding blacklisted brokers reappearing under a different banner or trading under a different name and attempting to use their products.
Individual registration was a way of restoring trust to the intermediary sector, which some in the market feel has been lost. So the news that the FSA is putting back the regime is curious to say the least.
Effectively, individual registration under the FSA’s watch has been cancelled and it will be down to the future Consumer Protection and Markets Authority to carry the measure through.
What else is going to be cancelled or delayed now as a result of the future regulatory upheaval?
Using the same logic, it may only be a matter of time before a similar argument is applied to the rest of the MMR.