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‘Low-volume firms shouldn’t sell release’

The FSA is asking firms that only do a small amount of equity-release business either to stop selling the product or to pass leads onto experts.

The unprecedented request forms part of the regulator’s mystery-shopping results into the sector, leaked to Money Marketing, which show a slight improvement on last May’s disappointing findings into the lifetime mortgage market.

But the FSA says standards remain unacceptably low and it is ordering firms in the sector to improve.

The FSA found that brokers doing small volumes of business do not have sufficient systems and controls in place to protect consumers.

The regulator is also concerned that suitability is still not being fully assessed and that advisers are not paying enough attention to eligib- ility for benefits and grants.

The announcement of the mystery-shopping results was due to be made earlier this week but was delayed and a date for publication has not been set.

The results show that firms’ gathering of information to get to know their customer is now good in 55 per cent cases compared with only 30 per cent in last year’s sample and 56 per cent of firms are advising on the downside of equity release compared with 40 per cent last year. One-third are not giving out initial disclosure documents compared with 60 per cent last May.

The FSA’s leaked comments state that it “remains unconvinced by a number of aspects of advice” and that “standards are unacceptably low”.


Number of gay City workers increases

The City of London is employing more gay and lesbian people than ever, according to research from recruitment consultancy Joslin Rowe Associates and Origin HR. The study found that 6.3 per cent – or 55,000 – of the 900,000 employees working in the City are gay, a rise of 0.4 per cent from two years […]

Panel claims the regulator’s tests are statistically useless

The FSA’s mystery shopping and thematic exercises have been condemned as useless by the financial services practitioner panel. It claims that the small sample sizes used by the regulator mean there is little to glean from findings despite the FSA placing great emp- hasis on the results of its quality of investment adv- ice and […]

Edeus was nearly Verdant

The Gate advertising agency pitched two names to the Oakwood Group but the eventual choice was Edeus because it incorporated the tagline “mortgage creator”. The Verdant name was based on growth and the idea of a business “teeming with life”. Cleary says before the two names were pitched, Oakwood had been concerned that the lack […]


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