Concerns over falsified qualifications intensify
An anonymous broker contacted Mortgage Introducer and said he knew an intermediary at a previous workplace who obtained direct authorisation from the FSA using forged certificates created by photocopying another broker’s documents and using computers to change names and numbers.
He said: “I have on no fewer than four occasions, the first in November 2004 and most recently June 2005, informed the FSA of this via its whistle-blowing line and yet I still see this firm as active on the FSA register. It’s very worrying that the regulator doesn’t seem to be taking action. It needs to when someone whistle-blows in this way.”
Last month Mortgage Introducer exclusively revealed concerns over networks accepting photocopies of broker qualifications rather than insisting on original or certified copies.
The broker added: “I believe it’s the networks rather than the FSA who operate the more stringent policy by insisting on viewing original certificates.”
Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesman for the FSA, said it does not require a certificate to be sent and that responsibility ultimately rests with senior management. He said: “There’s no onus on the adviser to produce a certificate as the firm applies on their behalf. We rely on employers to do the bulk of the checks as it’s more a human resources matter; firms should want to ensure their advisers are qualified. If this forgery is occurring then this is not being open and frank with the regulator.”
Gordon-Walker added it was not in the FSA’s plans to begin insisting on seeing adviser’s certificates. “We have an incredible number of approved individuals and for resource reasons cannot do full checks. By the time it reaches us, the application information should be accurate.”