AMI celebrates third birthday
Since its establishment in April 2003 AMI has grown significantly and membership now stands at approximately 18,000 advisers.
AMI has worked hard in establishing itself as the voice of mortgage intermediary firms. AMI uses its collective membership strength to lobby the Treasury, FSA, government, EU policymakers and other opinion makers effectively, to ensure a positive regulatory and business environment for its members.
Rob Griffiths, associate director of AMI, commented: “Our members’ drive and support for AMI has been fundamental in achieving key results. AMI will continue to play a critical but constructive role within the mortgage regulation process – offering insights from the ‘front line’ of the intermediary mortgage market. It will also continue with its role as a market commentator, working with the trade and consumer press to promote the industry and highlight the need for professional advice.”
Key achievements for AMI since its inception include:
– Significant involvement in establishing final mortgage, and general insurance, rules.
– Successfully negotiating a lower level of regulatory fees for members in the FSA’s first year of supervision than applied to other intermediary firms.
– Persuading FSA to set up simplified application process to allow firms a swifter direct authorisation approach than usual.
– Won concession from FSA that firms involved in multiple lines of business (e.g. mortgages and general insurance) should get a 50 per cent reduction in regulatory costs on second business line.
– A 50 per cent reduction in FSA fees for firms who carry out general insurance mediation in addition to mortgage business.
– Gained FSA support for an instalment scheme for FSA fees – with an exclusive discount for AMI members. Approximately 4,000 firms now use this system, and recently AMI secured improved payment terms for all members using the scheme.
– Lobbied successfully for a concession on holding client money. The FSA will not apply the full rigour of its client money rules where firms hold procuration fee monies they rebate to clients.
– Won concession for mortgage intermediary firms so they do not need to be audited – the FSA recently outlined proposals to remove statutory audit requirements for small firms and appointed representatives.
– Established principle of ‘reliance on others’, so that a mortgage intermediary firm could rely on information proved by a third party business.
– Won concession on self-cert that a mortgage intermediary firm can use their own judgement when assessing a case and do not need to demand client bank statements, etc.
– Lobbied FOS to ensure lowest possible level of firm fee.
– Lobbied FOS to bring about ‘two free cases’ for mortgage intermediaries.
– Lobbied for review of funding of FOS, to challenge the current system, which levies a fee even where a firm is found to have done nothing wrong. A consultation paper on the way FOS is funded is due this month.
– Lobbied for a full-scale funding review of FSCS – the discussion paper on this was published last month.
– Lobbied FSCS to create new lower charges for mortgage intermediary firms.
Griffiths added: “AMI represents its member’s interests on various FSA working groups and has an open dialogue with the regulator. It is also a member of the FOS liaison group and is involved in HM Treasury mortgage summits, key dialogues with senior civil servants and ministerial briefings. AMI also works at the European level making sure the voice of mortgage intermediaries is heard.”