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Correspondent&#39s Week

I return late on Sunday evening after a weekend in Berlin with my wife Sarah, who has been singing with the Berlin Philharmonic Choir.

While in Berlin, I met the chief executive of Deutsche Bank Mortgages to see what regulatory lessons I could learn in Germany. I established, with some degree of satisfaction, that the UK is somewhat ahead in terms of real consumer protection.

I have now been in this role for four months and realise what a breath of fresh air it has been to establish a new organisation with a new team, mission, business plan and premises. This is especially rewarding after being in such a large corporation as BT where, although rich in resources, processes and procedures often seemed overly bureaucratic.

On Monday, I am at the Council of Mortgage Lenders where we speak about planned changes to the mortgage code and the need to make it more specific in certain areas such as e-commerce, interim disclosure and the delicate balance between statutory regulation of lenders under the FSA and the important role of the mortgage code.

The Mortgage Code Compliance Board&#39s plans for enhancing consumer protection through effective non-statutory regulation are really taking shape and we will consult with registered firms in the early autumn.

These plans include a fit and proper regime for mortgage practitioners and the introduction of training and competence requirements, including compulsory professional qualifications for advisers.

Tuesday sees me dash off to a meeting at HM Treasury where I present our proposed business plan, which appears well received.

My other meeting of the day is with the chief executive of an Australian bank who is seeking to learn more about mortgage regulation and customer protection initiatives within the UK. I find these discussions with overseas practitioners to be particularly refreshing.

My evening involves chairing a meeting of the East London Health Authority and deciding the allocation of almost £600m. Following a recent tour of a major acute hospital, those who work in the health sector have my greatest admiration.

On Wednesday, the big item on the agenda is finalising our annual report which, published in early September, is our flagship document for the year.

We also put the finishing touches to a new consumer brochure we have developed, How to Complain, which summarises the customer&#39s rights to redress under the mortgage code.

The leaflet will be widely distributed and also available online from our website.

Next, I meet with Sue Scott, our new legal and policy director, as we are heading towards a number of fairly significant disciplinary proceedings being undertaken against registered firms.

Thursday afternoon is spent in a meeting with consultants from Ernst & Young who are completing a major research project on mortgage-related e-commerce.

I still find it frightening that, with a few clicks of the mouse and after providing detailed personal information, I can receive what is termed a best buy and then, at the press of a button, the mortgage is all but there.

To hone myself into peak condition for Friday&#39s rigours and the weekend, I visit the gym on Thursday night. The training turns out to be ideal preparation for a morning battle on the Jubilee Line in time for meetings with FSA officials connected with mortgage regulation.

I update them on our proposals and seek their guidance on issues such as fit and proper, training & competence and discipline. I detect that we are on the same wavelength.

So, it is the end of another hectic week and I am ready to dash for a train to recharge my batteries over the weekend. I have to be in good form because the dogs expect it and the rigours of a county cricket festival will demand it.


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