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&#39Criminal checks are being ignored&#39

Independent broker Mortgage Watchdog is accusing the Mortgage Code Compliance Board and FSA of failing to protect consumers by ignoring legislation requiring criminal checks on financial services employees.

Mortgage Watchdog managing director Monty Burn says Home Office legislation states applicants for financial services jobs must be passed by the Criminal Record Bureau to uncover any previous convictions, including fraud.

But this requirement under the Police Act 1997 and amendments in 2001 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is proving a grey area for regulators and employers in the industry.

Burn says he has spoken to Treasury and FSA representatives who claim to be unaware of the legislation. However, the FSA denies this claim, saying it does all it should to uncover convictions.

The MCCB considers the legislation covering the CRB is not clear cut as changes are always being implemented but its fitness and proprietary rules mimic the FSA.

FSA spokeswoman Karin Loudon says: “Individuals have to tell us about criminal convictions when applying for positions requiring FSA approval.”

A Home Office spokeswoman says: “Financial services is one of the professions broadly covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This would suggest to me that the mortgage broker&#39s interpretation is correct.”


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