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Self-cert inquiry set for Q4

The FSA says it will conduct a full-scale investigation into the self-certification market as mortgages dominate its thematic work in the coming months.

The inquiry will begin in the fourth quarter and will involve desk-based reviews and supervisory visits of intermediaries. Results are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2007.

The investigation follows a 2005 probe which found that affordability and suitability checks were inadequate but brokers dismiss suggestions that there are major problems in the market. In the coming weeks, the FSA will also conduct a review of mortgages that extend into retirement, which will involve visits and desk-based work.

It has postponed its investigation into the sub-prime market until Q4 as it waits for the results of its look into the quality of advice in the mortgage market. The review was due to begin this month.

Interest-only mortgages, lifetime mortgages, payment protection insurance and the effectiveness of mortgage regulation are also on the FSA’s radar. It will also look at general insurance call centres and firms’ control over customer data.

Mortgageforce managing director Rob Clifford insists the focus on mortgages is mainly because they are new to the regulatory regime rather than a reflection of any inherent problems in the market. He says: “There are fewer than 0.5 per cent of mortgage customers that complain. There are no rife misselling practices and it is not a dysfunctional market.”


Advisers wary on PTA suitability

Significantly more Icob advisers have recommended pension term assurance to consumers than Cob advisers, says Standard Life. Its survey, undertaken by George Street Research among 206 advisers in June, found that only 40 per cent of Cob advisers have recommended PTA compared with 54 per cent of protection advisers. Overall, 43 per cent of advisers […]

Oil is well?

A strange development occurred in the oil market last week. With prices easing as fears of further disruption in the Gulf of Mexico receded and with a potentially major new find in that region, the price of Texas crude was actually lower than at the same time last year. This was the first time this had happened for more than two and a half years.


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