What more could CeMAP offer?

Brokers discuss what changes they would like to see

What more could CeMAP offer?

The Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and awarded by the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF).

However, brokers have questioned whether the qualification is fit for purpose, and if it requires some significant amendments.

Moving on from the past

Stephen Perkins (pictured), managing director at Yellow Brick Mortgages, said CeMAP currently covers so many legal elements around taxation and pension unit trusts, which have “no relevance” or benefit to budding mortgage brokers.

Perkins added that there is also a huge focus on endowments, which largely have not been sold for 20 plus years.

“So, firstly, the qualification needs updating to relevant technical and industry knowledge, which can be achieved through incorporating topics such as vulnerable clients and Consumer Duty, but it also must focus on what makes good advice principles,” he said.

These include, Perkins said, recommending the cheapest overall deal based on the total cost including fees over the tie-in period, and recommending the shortest affordable term to reduce long-term interest costs.

“I think an expanded case study module would be key, and, while mortgage-based, it needs to cover how to position, discuss and the importance of protection insurance; I believe add-on modules for specialist lending would also be a good expansion,” Perkins said.

Scott Taylor-Barr, financial adviser at Barnsdale Financial Management, said CeMAP, even back in the dim and distant past when he completed it, was behind the times.

Taylor-Barr said he had to learn and answer lots of questions about endowments and unit-linked life assurance, both classes of products that exited the mainstream market many years ago.

“When I did my DipMAP several years later, little had improved, with one case study being about a couple looking to buy a property in Spain, with lots about Spanish tax implications,” he said.

Taylor-Barr believes the question sets and case studies students are asked to work with should include queries on the role of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), as well as Mortgage Conduct of Business (MCOB) rules around stress testing and of course, Consumer Duty.

Moving forward, Taylor-Barr agreed with Perkins that knowledge on vulnerable customers is going to be much more useful to a would-be practitioner.

Learning on the road

Christian Duncan, managing director at Manchester Mortgage Centre, said CeMAP is an exam you need to pass to step into the industry - however, he said, straight after CeMAP, an adviser is by no means ready to start advising clients and writing business.

“It gives you the foundations to start building; a little bit like passing your driving test, you only really start to learn once you are on the road,” Duncan said.

Within the same vein, Duncan believes it would be a positive to see the CeMAP process change, and he added that an improvement would be adding a practical module to the process.

“Ensuring a student has worked alongside a broker and giving advice in a supervised environment would be a great way to demonstrate a higher level of competency from the start,” he said.

Chris Targett, director at Social For Brokers, said, when speaking to advisers, the majority of them refer to the CeMAP as an expensive piece of paper.

Targett agreed with Duncan that, in his experience, many brokers believe the real learning starts when they speak to their first client, or try to generate business for the very first time.

“With the new introduction of Consumer Duty, I think it would be very valuable if CeMAP contained a section on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to advertising, especially in the digital marketing sector,” he added.

What more would you like to see CeMAP offer? Let us know in the comment section below.