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Watchdog fines broker for self-cert failings

The FSA has fined Andrew Jeffreys, trading as Chepstow Financial Services, £10,500 for failures in the sales process for self-certification mortgages.

Jeffreys failed to satisfy the FSA that he had assessed the affordability of recommended mortgage contracts and relied too heavily on customers’ affordability declarations.

The FSA says he did not put in place adequate procedures to counter the risk of his business being used by customers to commit mortgage fraud.

Jeffreys was also unable to demonstrate to the FSA that he carried out training, supervision and monitoring of advisory staff and in some instances he failed to disclose to clients the additional fees payable as a result of his use of packagers to source products.

FSA head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says: “Mortgage brokers are entitled to rely on information provided by customers about their incomes, but asking customers to sign a declaration that they can afford the mortgage repayments does not absolve brokers from taking steps to assess and record whether the recommended contracts are affordable and suitable.

“In all of the client files we reviewed we found that the customers had made false declarations about their incomes, and Mr Jeffreys simply accepted this information at face value. Consequently his business was more at risk of being used to commit mortgage fraud.”

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