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Brokers strike back at FSA over IDDs probe

The FSA has warned mortgage brokers that only only one of the 300 initial disclosure documents tested in its latest quality of advice survey was compliant.

But the regulator has come under fire from brokers for sending out mixed messages by wanting lighter-touch principles-based regulation while insisting on strict guidelines for IDDs.

The regulator revealed ongoing failings by firms in the preliminary findings from its quality of mortgage advice investigation in a speech by head of mortgages and credit unions Michael Lord last week.

But he admitted that although only one IDD presented to the regulator at a recent series of roadshows from 300 firms that attended was completely compliant, many of the offences were minor.

However, Alexander Hall chief operating officer Andy Pratt says the regulator is confusing brokers by being so strict over petty errors, such as the order in which insurance and mortgage information was placed on the IDD, when the quality of advice given is what is crucial.

Pratt says: “If 98 per cent of those IDDs that were wrong on things like spelling also contained good advice, then what is the problem? It is not joinedup thinking from the FSA as there are different approaches to different parts of regulation, with rules on one hand and principles on another.”

Purely Mortgages chief executive Mark Chilton says: “It is ridiculous to be being prescriptive on things that do not reflect the quality of advice or the nature of the sale, which are more serious issues and more important than the IDD itself.”

The regulator says early analysis of the quality of advice results has mainly identified concerns about affordability, lending into retirement, interest-only mortgages and training and competency. The full results are not expected until later this year.

Lord also urged brokers to keep good records to help defend any future claims against them.

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