IFAs are accusing the Council of Mortgage Lenders of living in the past after it defended lenders’ decisions to withhold client data from brokers.The CML is locked in a dispute with the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries over whether brokers should be allowed access to client information. The CML claims the client’s privacy should be respected but the AMI says lenders are trying to hide behind the Data Protection Act. Mortgage Portfolio Services mortgage planner Simon Chalk is frustrated by lenders which refuse to disclose any information about the client after the mortgage has completed. He says: “The CML are absolute fossils, they are living in the past. Why is it so hard to get information about our clients? Lenders close the door on us once they have the business. We need lenders to change and intermediaries need to be a little more confident about requesting this information from them.” Mortgage Force managing director Rob Clifford feels lenders could be exaggerating the constraints of the Data Protection Act. He says: “For years, lenders for years have been uncooperative on this sort of issue. They have been very reluctant to issue a no-cross-sales guarantee and this cannot be right.” Clifford believes clients should be able to choose whether they deal with the broker or the lender. He adds that lenders are not impartial and consumers should realise this. He believes the relationship between lender and broker should be the same as the relationship between life insurers and brokers. Life offices share client information with brokers and he does not see why lenders should be different. But CML spokesman Bernard Clarke says: “Lenders need to respect customers’ privacy, irrespective of the Data Protection Act. Why should they just give out information if brokers request it? It may be seen as an opportunity to sell something that the customer does not want.” But Brentchase Financial Services mortgage specialist Mike Fitzgerald says: “It is absolute rubbish that we will push products on to clients. As soon as lenders get the business, they seem to think they are their clients and they can do whatever they like with them. I view it as a partnership between the broker and the lender.” Fitzgerald believes that if lenders refuse to release information, they could lose out on business because advisers will stop using them. He says there is a gulf between “professional” lenders and others. He names GMAC, RBS, Halifax and BM Solutions as examples of the professionals. But Fitzgerald says advisers cannot expect to “own” clients if they do not nurture them and keep in contact with them. “Just because the adviser introduced the client to the lender, it does not give them carte blanche to ignore the client for the next few years and then suddenly claim they are still their clients later down the line,” he says. John Charcol senior technical director Ray Boulger says: “If a broker is told by a lender that they cannot provide information, then there is no question that they are hiding behind the Data Protection Act.” Boulger says brokers and lenders need to agree on how this relationship should work. He says Halifax is an example of a lender which has been “very accommodating” and adds that the lender is looking to work with brokers more closely than it has in the past. Chalk says: “The CML backing their members’ interests seems to me odd because it is not necessarily in their interests. Sixty-four per cent of their members’ business is from intermediaries. We are the dominant salesforce so why do they put these obstacles up? “Nothing has moved on and it is very frustrating. Brokers are afraid of saying anything and we need a change in the relationship between the lender and the broker.” Accord Mortgages has been praised by Chalk and other IFAs for having a signed declaration in their application forms which lasts for the full life of the mortgage. Accord Commercial director Mark Underhill says: “I sympathise entirely with brokers’ frustration on this, which is why we built in this declaration. It makes the broker’s life easier. It is a three-way partnership.” The Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates and enforces the Data Protection Act, says that as long as the client’s consent has been given, the lender is allowed to pass information to the broker. But the ICO says the length of the agreement should be defined between the broker and the client and intermediaries should only seek access to information about their clients when it is necessary. The AMI has produced a suggested letter on its website for clients to sign to give consent for lenders to release data when requested by brokers. AMI associate director Rob Griffiths says: “The AMI urges its members to redraft any authorisation given by clients to expressly include consent to the lender to provide information after the mortgage has completed.”
The continuing saga of calculating transfer values for DB schemes
First Actuarial is finalising its expansion plans as it celebrates itssecond year of trading with strong business figures.The actuarial consultancy is planning further recruitment at its four existing offices and the opening of a fifth office in Peterborough next month.Latest annual trading figures from First Actuarial show annual revenues up by 40 per cent on […]
Most investment trusts were badly hit by the recent downturn but this means that there are now good buying opportunities. Investment trusts generally outperform unit trusts over longer periods because of their gearing. One of the best ways in is through Nick Greenwood’s Iimia accelerated fund, which is cautiously run but has an outstanding record. […]
As financial advisers or product providers, we have a moral obligation to persuade the public that efficient financial planning means that money works harder and goes further.
The continuing fall-out from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) review, the rise of the private GP and digital engagement will be the primary focuses in the private healthcare industry during 2015, according to Iain Laws, managing director, healthcare and group risk, at Jelf Employee Benefits.
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