Forza Mortgage Industry!

Pete Thomson

March 3, 2017

Pete Thomson is sales and marketing director at The Mortgage Lender

There’s something of an unfair stereotype about the way Italian football club chairmen run their clubs – the story goes that a manager has around six games to produce results and if they fail they face the chop.

But as with most good stories the truth lies somewhere else. In the case of football, it is Real Madrid (pictured is current boss Zinedine Zidane) and Nigel Payne’s beloved Manchester City that top the tables for managerial tenure – or lack of it!

And it feels a bit like that in the mortgage industry sometimes because just when we’ve got one lot of regulatory change embedded another lot comes along before we truly have chance to assess the impact of the first.

This year’s white paper, the UK Housing review, is a good example; even delayed it’s only two years since the last one.

Has the market really changed that much in the last couple of years? And beyond “housing is more expensive in some places than others”, “we don’t build enough houses” and “we need better planning” did it tell us much?

The desire for quick fixes, to chop and change all the time is part of the issue. In the first instance, it often does not allow the effects of changes to embed and truly show through. In the second, constant changes do nothing to help competition and improve the products available to consumers.

Regulatory change costs money to implement and the providers best placed to absorb that are the big lenders; they love it, because proportionately it is cheaper for them than the smaller players in the market.

And whatever your view of the politics, Brexit is heading this way. Well, eventually.

Frankly, they can decide what they want about fish quotas and the shape of bananas, what I am concerned about is the impact on us, the small lenders.

The European regulations we have in terms of advice and selling should, in theory, need little change simply because of Brexit; they were fitted around existing UK laws and regulation.

And change for the sake of it isn’t going to help anyone, except perhaps consultants and lawyers. So, if for no reason other than giving people some certainty, it would be good to hear the regulator provide the sector with some reassurance around what Brexit will mean for financial services.

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