MCCB clarifies rules following challenge by IFA

The Mortgage Code Compliance Board is reminding mortgage intermediaries that unqualified advisers acting without supervision will be prosecuted.

The Mortgage Code enforcer clarified its stance after receiving an open letter (also sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair, outgoing FSA chairman Sir Howard Davies, and Mortgage Strategy) in which Surrey-based IFA Michael Lawrence vowed to continue offering mortgage advice, despite having failed the CeMAP twice and MAQ on nine occasions.

Lawrence, who says his failed attempts to pass 14 exams have in-volved over 500 hours of study and “enormous personal expense”, does not believe he can pass the exam but will continue regardless.

He says: “I have been giving mortgage advice for 20 years and work exclusively off referrals. Regulators should realise that people deal with people and will pay for good advice.”

Lawrence adds that he would be willing to take his case to the High Court if the MCCB takes any steps to prevent him from offering advice.

He adds: “I will stand by a judge&#39s decision. I cannot be expected to tolerate you or any other person attempting to destroy an exemplary career in financial services.”

MCCB spokesman Brad Baker says: “The rules are clear – if someone is not authorised or qualified, they can only give advice if they are under supervision by someone who is qualified. If they continue to give advice without the qualification, they will be in breach of our requirements and we will take appropriate action. We will respond to individual complaints on an individual basis but our requirements are clear.”

•See letters to the editor, page 8