Adviser network chiefs are urging the FSA to review the way it lists mortgage advisers on its register.
Whitechurch Network managing director Ian McIver says the FSA should amend its register and list all mortgage advisers individually rather than only naming the principal of the firm.
He says if mortgage regulation was designed to ensure all intermediaries are treated equally, then mortgage and general insurance advisers should all be named on the register as approved persons, as is the case with Cob advisers.
But the FSA says it is unlikely to enforce this on a cost versus risk basis and says future plans are to lighten regulation and bureaucracy rather than increase it.
It says as part of the Icob review, approved person status could be prescribed more lightly for pensions and investment advisers than it is currently.
But Tenet chief executive Simon Hudson says he does not accept the FSA’s argument that the cost would outweigh the risk to consumers and believes that mortgage advisers should be fully visible on the FSA register, just like all other intermediaries.
FSA spokesman Robin Gordon-Walker says: “It is about the risk versus the cost of introducing this level of regulation. We have to rely on the firm to ensure that, through standard terms and conditions, their advisers have the necessary qualifications. Occasionally, ones do slip through the net but they tend to be found out soon.”
McIver says: “In light of treating customers fairly, if a consumer wants to check out the background of the person giving them mortgage advice, then they are not able to do so. A dubious adviser could be hiding behind the name of the firm which might have a clean reputation.”