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Planned FCA broker tool working group “struggling”

Plans put forward by the FCA in its Mortgages Market Study Interim Report to develop a broker comparison tool could be “anti-competitive,” said trade body representatives at the Financial Services Expo today.

Speaking at a session called “A meeting of trade body minds,” representatives from AMI, the Building Societies Association, the Equity Release Council, IMLA, PIMFA, and UK Finance broadly spoke out against the idea, arguing that the proposed tool could be unwieldy and lead to confusing outcomes.

Imla executive director Kate Davies said: “This could be over-engineered horribly. You could simply throw too much information at a consumer, which they might not understand. Our view is that you should leave it to brokers to sell themselves. There is a danger of ‘sledgehammers’ and ‘nuts’ with this one.”

BSA head of mortgage policy Paul Broadhead added that the way a tool might measure and rate firms could lead to it being “anti-competitive,” and UK finance director Jackie Bennett questioned how brokers could be measured in a way that was independent and analytical.

AMI chief executive Robert Sinclair, who is involved with the FCA’s working party on developing the tool, meanwhile, reported that the working party was ‘struggling’.

“If you’re comparing based on the number of complaints that a firm receives then this is just too obtuse,” he said. “For instance, only five advisory firms ever appear in the Ombudsman complaints data because they are the only ones that get enough complaints to make that list.”

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