Estate agents’ relationship with mortgage brokers to come under spotlight

The City regulator will be scrutinising the role of estate agents and their relationships with mortgage brokers.

The Financial Conduct Authority wants to looks at relationships within the mortgages sector as it starts its process of reviewing competition in the home loans market.

The relationships include those between estate agents, valuation services, brokers and lenders, to see if these inhibit consumer choice.

The FCA is aiming to gather views, including those from agents, before launching a possible market study next year.

Its current review will cover all types of mortgages including buy-to-let.

The FCA says it will also look at crowdfunding.

According to the FCA, it can be challenging for borrowers to compare the various mortgages on offer, with concerns about the quality and suitability of mortgage advice.

It also wants to look at the impact of the Mortgage Market Review, requiring stringent affordability checks.

The FCA will be looking at the role the major lenders play, with just four – Lloyds, Santander, Barclays and Nationwide – accounting for over half of Britain’s current 7m mortgages.

Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “For millions of consumers a mortgage is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, financial transaction they will enter into in their lifetime.

“The mortgage sector also plays a vital role in the financial services industry and many areas of the economy.

“Competition can play a key role in ensuring that the sector works well, delivering consumer benefits through lower prices, better customer service, and more product choice.

“We are seeking stakeholders’ views on competition in the mortgage sector. These views, together with evidence from the FCA’s wider programme of work on mortgages, will help inform any future FCA work on this key sector of the economy, including any future competition market study.”

The FCA’s ‘call for inputs’ is open until December 18.

An outline of responses received will be published in the form of a feedback statement in the first quarter of next year.

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One Comment

  1. Woodentop

    WOW   …. here is a story that will hit the media headlines when it is discovered how  some agents are not as independents as they tell the public when it comes to mortgages. I can’t think of an agent that doesn’t know of agents who only introduce mortgages that pay them a fat commission in favour of other lenders options, often far better?

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