At the Money Marketing round table, O’Brien said the FSA mortgage market review proposal to put lenders in charge of affordability could
significantly change their relationship with intermediaries.
He said: “The big question for me is lenders and their definition of affordability and how they look at advisers in the future.
“They will say, wait a minute, if we have to take full control of affordability and intermediaries are going to have responsibility for preliminary affordability, given that many lenders already have stakes in distribution, they will say, why don’t we just own it?”
But Chartered Insurance Institute’s Society of Mortgage Professionals chief executive Richard Fox dismissed the idea that lenders would want to buy up distribution.
He said: “They have been there before and they lost a shedload of money through estate agency ownership.”
Nationwide for Intermediaries head of corporate accounts Paul Howard said: “I cannot imagine a regulatory situation at the moment where we would want to get into owning distribution. When you look at the quality of business that comes in through appointed representative and directly authorised routes there is very little difference, so we are very happy to carry on dealing with both those routes.”