FSA website accused of double standards

Ramesh Sharma

June 1, 2004

The facility on the FSA website allows consumers to access a mortgage calculation to provide them with an estimation of likely repayments. But Nick Battersby, compliance director at the Regulatory Alliance of Mortgage Packagers (RAMP), contacted Mortgage Introducer to explain that the facility appeared to specifically contradict 5.4.14 of the MCOB rules.

He said the rule reads: ‘If the customer initiates the accessing of quotation information on screen (for example, by using the internet or interactive television), the following warning must be displayed prominently on each page on screen: ‘This information does not contain all the details you need to choose a mortgage. Make sure you read the separate Key Facts Illustration before you make a decision,’ and a firm must not provide a customised print function where the information on the screen would not be in the form of an illustration if the information were printed in hard copy.’

Battersby said: “Neither of the requirements seem to be in place on this website; the wording is not included and you can print off the quick quote. I can see what the FSA is trying to achieve but it appears to have disregarded the measures that have been put in place for intermediaries and lenders.”

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesperson at the FSA, defended the website. He said: “The FSA is not an authorised person as it doesn’t carry out regulated activities ‘by way of business’. The placing of the mortgage repayment calculator on our website doesn’t require authorisation (or exemption).

“To obtain the mortgage the customer will still need to go through a firm’s regulated sales process – they cannot obtain the mortgage from the FSA. The calculator does not aim to recommend any particular mortgage but only gives people information they might need to plan for the future.”

Sign up to our daily email