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Society of Mortgage Professionals proposes solution to ‘holistic’ debate

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 standing. 

"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."