Don’t turn a blind eye

The idea that this is recent is wrong. Prior to ‘Mortgage Day’, my company operated a 50 seat call centre which produced hundreds of appointments each week and kept over 30 advisers busy. We made changes to our system and introduced a new script to include all the disclosure requirements, but following a Financial Services Authority (FSA) compliance visit in early 2005, it was clear that continuing to make outbound calls was not sustainable, so the whole operation had to be closed down shortly afterwards, resulting in substantial job losses and a huge erosion in company profits.

I’m not bleating – the law is the law, and it’s important that we all play by the rules whether we like it or not. But what really angers me is the amount of cold-calling which has continued since ‘Mortgage Day’ and the lack of action taken by the regulator to stop this. All I want is a level playing field, yet it is clear that some of our competitors have continued to prosper as ‘non-compliant’ companies while others have suffered because they are doing the right thing.

I would like to see our regulator clamp down hard on those who breach the rules and thus create a fairer situation. It is ridiculous that the FSA says it is ‘unable to take further action without further details’. All it has to do is get inside these companies itself and it will soon discover what is going on – then it can shut them down. We either allow cold-calling or we don’t. It’s just not acceptable for the FSA to turn a blind eye.

Laurence Hughston
Mortgage UK