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Time to revive the industry

With the closing date for submissions to the Mortgage Market Review now passed, for those keen to influence the thinking of the Financial Services Authority the real work starts now.

As our lead story on page 4 this week explains, top of the list of things to wrest back from the regulatory rubbish pile is fast-track. When the MMR came out in October many in the industry were critical of the FSA’s decision to lump fast-track in with self-cert – one is a product, the other a service.

Sesame Bankhall Group argues that sustainable mortgage lending could be at risk if fast-track is banned, while the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries says evidence has yet to be presented that fast-track has caused significant consumer detriment. This is backed up by hard data from Santander, which maintains that the arrears performance of fast-track loans simply does not support the customer detriment argument. There are also fears that the individual regulation of brokers could result in lenders wanting to only deal with the largest distributors if the cost of individual regulation is seen as unattractive.

The proposals in the MMR, if acted on in their entirety, could result in the most radical shake-up of the market for decades. But while many ideas are well thought through – and plenty of professionals think they should have been implemented five years ago on Mortgage Day – the danger of unintended consequences from too severe a regulatory regime is real.

The market had the rug pulled from under its feet in 2009. This year it’s getting back on its feet and will hopefully start to walk again in 2011 and run in 2012. But too tight a regulatory grip runs the risk of impeding its development.

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Guide: how to change your auto-enrolment support

As we approach the two-year milestone of auto-enrolment, employers have had the opportunity to truly assess the capabilities of their chosen support. They are also now realising that getting to the staging date was the easy part, and that support is required for almost every aspect of the day to day running of their scheme. With the three-year re-enrolment window coinciding for many with the total removal of commission and Active Member Discounts from pension-related products and services, as well as the introduction of the pension charge cap in April 2015, many employers will have no choice but to review their support options. But, what is involved in transitioning your auto-enrolment scheme away from your current support options? This guide from Johnson Fleming aims to outline some of these key areas and provide information and discussion points on what you need to consider.

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