Expo organisers say that intermediaries are taking regulation in their stride
Overall feedback from visiting intermediaries suggested they were looking forward to putting the time consuming process of regulation behind them and focusing on new business again in the New Year. Rachel Carl from Rainbow Loans Ltd, said: “M-Day caused hours of work and a lot of panic but it’s all worked out and business is picking up already.”
Intermediaries traveled from as far away as Scotland to attend seminars and make new contacts.
Henry Pirie, Regional Manager for Caledonian Mortgage Solutions, said: “The seminars are really useful and we’ve met lenders and packagers we didn’t even know existed. Our priority is to give our clients the best deal so we need to stay abreast of the products on offer.” Asked what he considered the impact of regulation, Pirie said: “It might mean more paperwork but it cuts out the dishonesty that gives the rest of us a bad name. We don’t want to get tarred with the same brush.”
The overriding attraction for mortgage professionals visiting Expo seemed to be the opportunity to meet lenders face to face. Kevin Minshall, an IFA with A3 Financial Services, said he came to Expo, “to get an idea of what the lenders strengths are, as it helps make a decision on whom to use. You can’t afford to spend lots of time out of the office visiting everyone in this business, but here you can cover a lot of ground in one day.”
A large number of intermediaries are still deciding whether they had made the best decision to be an authorised representative or directly regulated. Matthew Bright, managing director at Optoma said: “I feel visitors are using the show as a means to evaluate the correct route for authorisation for them be it DA or AR.”
A number of visitors commented that Expo was the perfect place to finally meet the voices at the end of the phone, saying they had to come to Expo to get in contact with a real person rather than being sent round endless electronic messaging services. Ray Boulger, Senior Technical Manager at Charcol, said “An event like Mortgage Business Expo is an un-missable opportunity for intermediaries who don’t usually get to speak to senior level management. There’s no doubt the show was a success.”
The show offered two seminar theatres this year. One programme was arranged to update intermediaries on topical industry products and the second theatre, aptly named ‘Surviving and Thriving in a regulated world’ focused on helping intermediaries deal with regulation.
Major industry organisations such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) and Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) were on hand to answer intermediaries’ questions. Joanne Buglass from the FSA commented that: “The FSA is encouraged by the positive attitude shown to regulation and was overwhelmed by visitors to its stand. Firms gave valuable feedback on how the market is coping with the new regulations. The FSA was pleased to correct misunderstandings and help firms with a wide range of enquiries on topical issues such as accuracy of Key Figure Illustrations (KFIs), describing fees on the IDD, clarifying ‘independent’ status and explaining the introducer exemption. The FSA also advised a number of new start-up companies on applying for direct authorisation.”
Exhibitors ranged from large lenders and packagers to surveyors and insurance firms, bridging finance specialists and software providers.
Richard Sexton, National Business Development Manager of e.surv, said: “It’s definitely improved again this year. The quality of visitors was excellent and we made some solid leads. There’s been a lot of uncertainty about post M-Day fall out but we’re cautiously optimistic again because lender take up is looking good.”
Edward Goldsmith, senior partner at Goldsmith Williams, said: “Mortgage Business Expo is a worthwhile event to come to, as it’s very rare in this industry to have everyone gathered in one place. It’s a marvelous opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. It’s been particularly interesting to hear how the dreaded M-Day went – and I’m delighted to hear that it wasn’t the end of the world.”