FSA under further scrutiny over Financial Promotions enforcement

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

Mark Ehlinger, director of mortgage broker compliance services at The Coaching Platform, contacted Mortgage Introducer in response to the 18 November article ‘FSA warns of ‘firmer approach’ on Financial Promotions’, challenging the FSA policy regarding non-compliant Financial Promotions.

He questioned the comments made by Christopher Atkinson, manager of the communications and strategy team, Financial Promotions at the FSA, who said: “If you think you’re not seeing much action on Financial Promotions, this is because the dealings, up until a firm has gone through the full enforcement process, have to be kept private.”

However, Ehlinger explained that a broker client told him of how he regularly reported non-compliant adverts to the FSA over a period of several months because they appeared alongside his own compliant copy in the daily nationals. Ehlinger said if the FSA knew of a non-compliant advert it should immediately take it out of circulation.

He said: “I question the FSA’s consistency. We act for a number of small to medium-sized brokers and an advert was brought to our attention by the FSA as being non-compliant. The print and size of the ad was distorted from the original version we approved so we pulled the relevant ad and replaced it with a clearer, compliant one within 72 hours. It was a positive move but we are still seeing and hearing of regular offenders appearing apparently unchallenged which is breeding growing frustration and disillusionment.”

Chris Cummings, director-general at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “The FSA has continuing worries over Financial Promotions and there are still firms who think the rules do not apply to them.”

The FSA has announced a ‘firmer approach’ with firms who breach its rules and has hinted at imminent enforcement action.

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