Almost 45,000 advisers are now qualified

This means that over 80% of the estimated population of mortgage advisers are now professionally qualified, having passed the exams that were introduced as part of the Mortgage Board’s Fitness and Competence Requirements in May 2001 to enhance consumer protection and raise industry standards.

Commenting on the number, Luke March, chief executive of the Mortgage Board said: “We are encouraged by the response of the mortgage industry, which has resulted in so many advisers becoming qualified to provide advice on mortgages as we enter 2003. But the 10,000 or so advisers who have yet to qualify risk losing out on business which could be potentially harmful to them in the long term, as from the New Year only qualified individuals will be allowed to give mortgage advice unsupervised.”

The Mortgage Board’s compliance team will begin the monitoring of firms’ compliance with the new requirements in January 2003. Although all other aspects of compliance with the Code and registration rules will receive their usual attention, training and competence, especially qualifications, will have a special focus in the coming few months.