Where are the FCA when you need them?

Gemma Harle is managing director of TenetLime


At the time of writing, lenders are making very conspicuous efforts to demonstrate their compliance with the FCA’s ‘Know your broker’ initiative.

However, as always, there is a chasm of inconsistency in terms of approach and interpretation across the lending community.

The general increase in competitiveness and the overall variety of products on offer is highly encouraging, but when one digs deeper it appears that each is working to a different set of KYB criteria.

In many cases, if a broker does not re-register every three months, they can end up being de-listed, often without any notification. They then face a long delay in order to re-regsiter

Some lenders want to visit brokers before doing business with them… some rely on the networks carrying out checks… some ask for a list of details including the option of credit-searching the broker… and some just check their permissions on the FCA register (but given that different business models have different permissions, it is unclear as to what they are checking it against).

Given the amount of lenders that brokers deal with, it is impossible for them to know the detailed workings of each one, especially when many even apply different criteria across their own brands.

Sadly, anomalies such as the above are the rule rather than the exception and highlight the ever-increasing tendency for everyone to pull in different directions.

This has serious implications for the consumer, especially with MMR looming increasingly large on the horizon. So as ever, we don’t do ourselves any favours as an industry…

Isn’t it time therefore that there was some form of central register for mortgage brokers and advisers, instead of the random, disparate situation that exists at present and benefits no-one?

Trade bodies do an almost incalculable amount of very good work, but without any authoritative co-ordination or powers of enforcement. To ensure compliance and consistency of delivery to consumers, is it time for certain industry-wide benchmarks to be adopted?

Much maligned as they are, I believe the FCA is the only organisation that can make the mandatory changes necessary.