Whilst lamenting the fact it was not addressed in the Mortgage
Market Review (MMR), the Society of Mortgage Professionals is
confident that the regulator's proposal for consumers to receive
'holistic expertise' can still be achieved, but only through a
combination of qualifications, on-going CPD and the ability to
refer to an appropriate adviser.
In response to the FCA's occasional paper 17, the society's head
of professional development, Lee Travis, admitted that
qualifications alone were not the way forward. "However, twinning
them with continued professional development could be an effective
solution," he asserted.
"We welcome the 'Access to financial services in the UK'
document, as we do any proposals that seek to benefit consumers.
And we strongly agree that a borrower's whole financial situation
should be considered when taking out a mortgage."
"The new pension freedoms, record low interest rates,
ever-lengthening mortgage terms and the consistent rise in the
average age of a first time buyer are just some of the things that
must be taken into account when assessing a customer's ability to
afford the repayments," Travis went on.
"On-going CPD would equip mortgage advisers with the broader
skill set the FCA seem to be looking for," he said. "A balanced
programme, enabling advisers to keep abreast of the latest market
changes, would represent a practical, workable solution.
"Currently there is no annual regulatory requirement for
mortgage and protection advisers to complete CPD, whereas their IFA
counterparts have to, in order to gain a statement of professional
"The Society of Mortgage Professionals promote CPD activity to
ensure advisers have the requisite knowledge to deal with a range
of mortgage-related matters, such as the implications of mortgage
terms that extend into retirement," Travis concluded. "This is to
ensure that advisers can continue giving consumers correct advice,
whilst identifying and making appropriate referrals to a suitably
qualified adviser for any needs that go beyond mortgages.
"Our members already carry out CPD activity, and if structured
accordingly across the sector, the FCA could be assured that
mortgage advisers could provide the holistic expertise and guidance
they are seeking."