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Regulatory reform delays approved persons regime

The Financial Services Authority is delaying the approved persons regime by up to two years, blaming the government’s decision to introduce a new regulator.

The FSA revealed last week that it would not be introducing individual registration for mortgage sellers in Q1 2011 as planned, but says it will be brought in by the new regulator in 2012/13.

Brokers had welcomed the proposals to make every mortgage seller sit an exam and undergo criminal record checks because it would push costs up for lenders and make them reconsider their distribution.

A spokeswoman for the FSA says: “The change is due to our ongoing prioritisation of work and particularly the regulatory reform agenda.

“As we move towards the reorganisation, there are additional demands on management time which will mean the FSA has had to reprioritise its workload in the short term.”

But Robert Sinclair, director of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says: “We’re not talking about a delay of a few months but years. Our concern is that this was part of initial proposals that had industry consensus but it has defer-red this without explanation.

“It could be one of two things – either the FSA’s computer system isn’t working properly or it is worried about European regulation.”

There were also industry rumours that a backlog at the Criminal Records Bureau could be behind the delay. But the CRB denies that it has any backlog and the FSA spokeswoman says there is no problem with its IT system.

However, Michael Coogan, director-general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, welcomed the move.

He says: “Bearing in mind that firms would prefer to be able to budget and plan for change, we are pleased to see the FSA taking a sensible approach on this issue.”

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