The advent of mortgage and general insurance regulation is forcing dramatic change on those sectors. From October 31 this year and January 14 next year, mortgage and general insurance practitioners respectively will have to document how they have followed specific processes as they advise clients.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to look at how Sesame will be using technology to enable its members not only to meet the obligations of the new regime but also to operate more efficiently. This will be achieved through the delivery of Sesame Desktop, the latest version of its member software formerly known as Mi-Solution.
The system fully integrates with Mortgage Brain (including the Mortgage Trading Exchange) and Trigold for Mortgage Sourcing; to CETA and Paymentshield for general insurance products and of course to Assureweb for life and pension quotes. This means that the user really does only enter data once into the system. In any further instances where it is needed, such as the completion of electronic application forms, it is automatically pre-populated. This delivers very real savings in processes and efficiency and will go some way to counterbalancing the additional burden imposed by the new regulations.
A new My Sesame desktop menu is also delivered with this release. This will provide members with a single point of entry to all Sesame services. Within the utilities area, advisers can keep copies of all electronic documents, including scanned documents if they use a separate scanning package. This will enable advisers to greatly reduce the amount of paper they have to keep and give them access to all of a client's correspondence in a few mouse clicks.
Under the new compliance process the adviser must agree the scope of the discussion at the outset. The software lists all the different product areas an adviser might discuss with the client and the software records if the client declines to discuss each subject, wishes to consider it in the future or says it is not relevant. The adviser records the reason for each of the client's statements. After this process the software knows the areas the adviser might cover and can generate an initial disclosure document.
The IDD can be generated from a template or built on the fly as the discussion continues. The software will produce a protection and general insurance IDD, a standard mortgage IDD and a data prot- ection document to cover the changes to terms of business letter requirements in the new regulations.
All documents are previewed in Word. These can then be printed and/or emailed to the client and will be recorded as issues in the system for compliance purposes. Documents created here are automatically moved into document manager for storage.
At this point the software asks where the adviser wants to go next. It will offer the next logical part of the process but advisers can proceed in their own order if they prefer.
The recommended next step is to go to a series of sales qualification tools which can be pre-populated with a series of typical costs so the client can be given an early indication of mortgage costs. These are generated using the adviser's choice of the integrated mortgage comparison and general insurance quotation services as listed above.
Having used the sales quantification tool to make sure the costs are affordable, the adviser can return to Sesame Office and use the detailed mortgage fact find. All the data that has been used in the dedicated mortgage and general insurance tools along with any earlier information is pre-populated to the fact find.
Upon completion the system runs a checklist to ensure all mandatory compliance requirements have been met. The adviser could now choose to complete a general insurance fact find. Although this is not mandatory under the new regulations, the Sesame view is that it is best practice to do so. This also protects against the FSA deciding in the future that such fact finds should have been required and implementing retrospective regulation even though their requirements may have been different at the time the business was written. Given recent history, this is clearly not as absurd as it may sound.
After using the different sourcing tools the adviser is able to generate a Key Facts Illustration to include all personal details, the mortgage payments, buildings, contents and Accident Sickness and Unemployment cover costs – the total mortgage bundle.
Once sourcing is complete the user returns to Sesame Office and all quotes from mortgage and general insurance engines are populated to Sesame Office where they are stored in an area called sales administration. The adviser has the mortgage, term and general insurance quote in a single place and can see, for example, if an agreement in principle was obtained from the mortgage lender during the sourcing process.
The adviser is then taken through to the best way of applying for them, indicating if there are e-applications available, if enhanced terms are available for e-trading and/or if they can submit via the providers extranet.
Once the mortgage and general insurance quotes are complete the adviser may wish to continue to the designated investments fact-find if any investments are to be arranged. Again, the investment fact-find is fully pre-populated with any information previously obtained. Similarly investment quotes can be obtained and processed via the sales administration area.
When a mortgage is submitted the system will capture the date of the submission and invites the adviser to give details of why that specific mortgage was recommended as required for compliance purposes. The mortgage-sourcing tools are set up to offer the choice of whole of market or the Sesame panel dependent on the advisers status as independent or multi-tied.
As each application is submitted a new business submission sheet is created to meet the Sesame compliance process, which is pre-populated with all the information from the process and submitted electronically to Sesame.
The software can now generate the general insurance suitability report, pre-populating the details of the product sold and allowing the adviser to add the reason for recommending this product and provider.
In a similar way, a mortgage product confirmation letter can be generated. Again, this is not yet a regulatory requirement but the software allows the adviser to protect themselves against the virtually inevitable regulatory excesses of the future. This is a very simple document that attaches a copy of the mortgage fact find and stresses the importance of the client reading the KFI as the adviser is not allowed to restate any of the information in the KFI.
Each of the above letters are created in Microsoft Word. The other fact-finds can also be created for printing in this way with their issue being recorded in the document manager.
At this point, the system can return to the home page and generate a checklist to ensure that every necessary compliance obligation has been recorded and no stages have been missed. Finally the package allows users to set diary dates for the future such as the expiry of any fixed-rate period or a review date for the term policies to check they are still competitive.
Last week, Sesame began training advisers on the new software, which is due to be released early in October, in order to be with all existing users by October 31.
The basic version of the software includes modules to cover designated investments and general insurance as the latter will pick up protection products under the new regime. The full version also has a mortgage module and a mortgage (and GI) only version also available.
Training is mandatory for all users and the costs, which Sesame says are significantly subsidised, are £240 for a two-day course for new users or £70 for a one-day extension for the 1,600 existing Mi-Solution users.
The move to mortgage and general insurance regulation provides the ideal time for advisers to change their standard way of processing and submitting new business from paper to electronic. With software like this available,I cannot see why any Sesame member would not want to make that move now.