FSE Manchester: Robert Sinclair slams ‘dangerous’ and ‘deceitful’ FCA paper

Ryan Bembridge

May 15, 2019

Robert Sinclair has hit out at last week’s “deceitful” FCA consultation paper for its “dangerous” move to make it easier to carry out execution-only business.

Speaking at FSE Manchester at The Emirates – Old Trafford today, Sinclair argued that the FCA is rowing back on principles established in the Mortgage Market Review in 2014.

Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “[The paper is] one of the most deceitful documents I’ve seen from the regulator for some time.

“[The MMR was designed to] make execution-only difficult… and that lenders had to sign all this off by board committee.

“To say now, because they have an unfortunate lapse of corporate memory, that this is not what they meant is untrue.

“They meant it and there was a good reason for doing it.”

Sinclair suggested that the regulator is attempting to make execution-only business easier to write because it accounts for in excess of 30% of all mortgage business.

He argued that because the market is in a different place to what was intended post-MMR, the consultation paper is “an attempt to legitimise what has been done as opposed to actually going back and sorting the problem”.

Sinclair added: “This advice change is going to be difficult because they want to change affordability as part of this process.

“They want to make it easier to do execution-only and they want to legitimise it so that lenders can offer a product on execution-only which is cheaper than on an advised rate. I think that is dangerous.”

Sinclair added that a focus on price would not help mortgage customers who have more complex needs and where product criteria such as ERCs is not widely understood.

He also went on to say that the consultation paper could deliver some fundamental market changes.

He reckoned purchase in its various guises and additional borrowing will stay advised but there are definite moves to make remortgage borrowing a “low-cost utility”.

He went on to say that part of the problem is that the architects of the Mortgages Market Study and the consultation paper are approaching issues after dealing with a benign market where nothing has gone wrong for the past decade.

Sinclair said: “When we hit the next crash, as there has to be, all of this will go to hell in a handcart… if this happens.

“So I will be fighting quite hard to make sure that none of this happens. However, unless the other lender trade bodies fall behind us on this I think it will be hard to push back against all of it.”

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