All systems go as mortgage regulation begins
This information enables lenders and customers to check whether the firms with which they are dealing have the appropriate authorisation. This can be done using the Firmcheck service on the FSA web site (www.fsa.gov.uk) or, for consumers without internet access, by calling the FSA's help line on 0845 606 1234.
The FSA received 7,676 applications from the mortgage sector for authorisation for the first time or variation of permission (where a firm was already authorised to conduct other regulated activities). In a rigorous authorisation process every application was subject to checking. As at M-Day (31 October), the total number of directly authorised firms able to conduct mortgage business was 7,119 — 4,226 new authorisations and 2,893 variations of permission. In addition, authorised firms with a mortgage permission had a total of 11,767 appointed representatives.
As result of its scrutiny the FSA found that 75% of the new applications raised regulatory issues requiring further enquiries and half required substantial investigation. Wherever applicable the firms were required to take remedial action before permission was granted. In addition, nearly 300 mortgage firm new applications were investigated on a thematic basis, and — where there was evidence that the firms would not be compliant with FSA rules by M-Day — the FSA required remedial action. 210 firms so far have either withdrawn from the authorisation / variation of permission process or received a final notice of refusal.