FSE Cardiff: Brexit could benefit advisers – Robert Sinclair

Ryan Bembridge

June 29, 2016

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Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair reckons the Brexit vote could benefit advisers by allowing them to get rid of the “awful” ESIS and foreign currency mortgage rules.

Brokers have long since blasted the ESIS [European Standardised Information Sheet] document for being overlong and confusing, while the EU’s rules on foreign currency lending prompted a host of lenders including Lloyds, Nationwide and Aldermore to pull out of lending in a foreign currency.

Sinclair, who was speaking at FSE Cardiff today, said: “The ESIS is awful – it’s not a good document and we may well be able to get rid of it in the future, but not just yet.

Consumer confidence still lower than before Brexit

“The same goes for the new rules that were introduced in the Mortgage Credit Directive for foreign currency mortgages.”

The foreign currency rules mean lenders are required to disclose when there is a fluctuation in exchange rates of more than 20%, triggering an obligation to offer borrowers the option of switching a loan denominated in a foreign currency into sterling.

Sinclair reckoned advisers are in a strong position.

He added: “Lenders can’t do any more [business] beyond what they’re currently able to do.

“It was said that ‘MMR was a gift for advisers’ but MMR is not a gift; advisers benefit because they are the flexible resource who are able to take on the extra work and service more customers at any time.

“When it comes to mortgages, banks are still not good at what they do, when they try to do it themselves.”

Sinclair played down the supposed threat of robo advice, saying “consumers want to see the whites of an adviser’s eyes”.

But he did report a lack of housing transactions.

He said: “There have been a declining number of properties on estate agents’ books for some time.

“Some London agents have less than five properties on their books. I put this down to what I call the ‘Rightmove effect’ where previously people would walk down their high street and register with say five agents, and one of them would get that person to put their home on the market.”