"It seems to be a bit of back-tracking on the Mortgage Market Review in terms of its view on price."
A number of lender representatives have questioned whether the contents of the FCA's Mortgages Market Study Interim Report mean the regulator is pulling back from the measures it introduced as part of the Mortgage Market Review.
Speaking at yesterday’s Financial Services Expo Manchester, the lender panel discussed the Interim Report and a host of mortgage market topics.
Dave Rogers, intermediary partnership director at Barclays, was first to question whether the Report signalled a different approach from the regulator. “In terms of the overall report, I don’t think there’s anything for the industry to worry about,” he said. “But it seems to be a bit of back-tracking on the Mortgage Market Review in terms of its view on price.”
The comments followed a heated session with the FCA when a stream of delegates questioned representatives from the regulator on whether its research on the potential cost-savings for borrowers not on the ‘cheapest rate’ was valid.
Ian Andrews, managing director of intermediary sales at Nationwide, welcomed the report, in particular its view that intermediaries are not biased towards products that pay a higher procuration fee, but also questioned what the report meant in terms of the MMR, asking: “Has the FCA softened on the MMR idea that everyone needs advice?”
Richard Tugwell, group intermediary relationship director at Together, also suggested that the “cheapest [mortgage] isn’t always the best” and “price isn’t necessarily the only driver”, citing the personal circumstances of clients as determining the recommendation provided.
Andrews also said he “couldn’t get his head around” the potential “Trip Advisor for clients” idea the FCA is positing which would allow individuals to compare different brokers/intermediaries. The regulator earlier said that it would like to work with the industry to establish what type of metrics it could use in a broker-comparison tool
Overall however, the lender representatives did welcome the Interim Report. Charles McDowell, commercial director at Aldermore, said it was a “fairly strong ringing endorsement” and that it “could have been much, much worse” for the industry. He did however question how the theoretical measures outlined would be put into practice.