Mortgage Advice Compliance requirements.
Written by Charlie Palmer on 10/08/2018

I think it is true that many mortgage advisers sometimes feel when files are reviewed, that file checkers can be a little over zealous, or perhaps too picky and pedantic.

However, I have recently become aware of FCA comments on some files that they have reviewed, the summary of which is below:

  • Why was the existing lender not used / ruled out?
  • Why specifically was the new lender selected and recommended over others?
  • What particularly were fixed rates discussed and recommended, and the justification for the specific terms of the particular rates?
  • How was affordability arrived at and confirmed, employed and  / or self-employed?
  • What evidence was being obtained for customer deposits, whether big or small?
  • Why the overall term of the mortgage is appropriate / suitable?
  • Why is the advice suitable when it takes the client to beyond normal retirement age?
  • Where additional borrowing was recommended, what was it for, why was it best advice to add to the mortgage?

These are all queries and questions raised by IFAC and other file checkers on a regular basis, and occasionally, there is a degree of negativity in response, but hopefully, as you see, IFAC are simply trying to make sure that your files are, and remain compliant, and that in the event of any Complaint, hopefully your file will stand up to scrutiny and investigation, and provide adequate defence.

Other areas that have been highlighted by the FCA and previously the FSA, revolve around Fees!

If, as an adviser, you charge a fee, either for administration, or a broker fee etc, make sure that your documentation evidences this.

So what fees do you charge? When are they payable?  What are they for?...And very important, what is the firm’s refund policy?

It is good practice to use a formal Fee agreement to eradicate any possible misunderstanding by the client, and ensure that all fees are quoted on KFIs produced, and if being added, that a KFI is produced with the fees not added etc.

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