FSA appeals for shadow visits

Ramesh Sharma

April 1, 2006

The regulator is appealing to brokers through the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI). It hopes that the initiative will help it gain a better understanding of the daily processes of intermediaries. Over 200 brokers have already expressed interest in the scheme and AMI is encouraging more to sign up.

Discussing the initiative, Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesperson at the FSA, said the aim was to get a better understanding of retail intermediary firms. He said: “The objective is to increase the FSA’s knowledge and understanding of the industry by sitting in on customer interviews and working through the key facts documents and gaining hands-on experience of the sales process. The placement is not a supervisory visit, and FSA staff will not be asked to report back. Instead, they will try to answer any queries brokers may have.”

The news has been welcomed in the market. Bill Warren, compliance director at network Complete Mortgage and Loan Services, said: “There are clear advantages to inviting the FSA to work shadow a business and I am in favour of anything that helps the regulator to understand the mortgage industry better. This is a genuine desire to learn, not a cynical approach to catch people out, and I believe that should be applauded.”

However, there are still some concerns about the impact the visits may have on the advice process. Peter Wright, financial adviser at CBK, said: “This scheme is a good idea as the FSA needs to understand the different sectors in the financial services industry. My only concern is that it may hinder the natural process of the client meeting.”

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