AMI: More regulation in store

Nia Williams

May 20, 2015

The chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries said he expected the number of rules governing the mortgage industry to rise given the propensity for the Financial Conduct Authority employees to want to “make a name for themselves”.

Speaking at today’s Financial Services Expo in Manchester, Sinclair outlined a future where the FCA remained a pro-active and interventionist regulator.

He said: “Regulation is not slowing down; it is picking up the pace, with regulators of a number of types and colours regulating our market.

“We are seeing lots of interference on what should be a pretty straightforward supply and demand market.”

Sinclair suggested that much of the reason for more regulation came from the type of individuals employed by the regulator.

He said: “All this is against a backdrop of 3,000, what I call, ‘bright young things’ in the FCA all wanting to make a name for themselves.”

He also outlined a number of key issues for the intermediary market which will need to be addressed in the months ahead, particularly the low level of remortgaging and how this part of the market might be given a boost.

“The remortgage market is one of the great mysteries of man,” said Sinclair.

“Why is remortgaging not taking off? Why aren’t borrowers knocking on our doors asking us to save them £200-£300 per month? Is it because they are frightened of the lender saying no?”

Sinclair also suggested that potential remortgage borrowers may be putting off looking at their options because of the length of time it takes to go through a mortgage interview and application.

He argued that the three hours required to do this was perceived as a “drain on my life” by some borrowers and that the industry needed to move to a process which was only 20 minutes long, involved the sharing of the necessary facts and information, and could – at the end – provide the borrower with a clear idea on whether they would be accepted for finance.

Sinclair also focused on the much-discussed issue of lenders using the transitional arrangements available through the Mortgage Market Review to help those borrowers who wanted to remortgage and were not looking to borrow more.

He added: “The rules allow it but [they’re] not doing it. The big question is how we get the big institutions away from a ‘sausage-machine approach’. It’s a work in progress.”

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