AMI criticises FCA’s latest fees consultation

The FCA’s latest regulated fees and levies consultation has been criticised by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI).

The representative body for the mortgage industry said that it had hoped to see an improvement from the regulator on last year’s consultation paper, but warned there is still a “serious disconnect” with the FCA’s approach to fees.

A 14.8% increase in the appointed representative levy on networks was particularly condemned by the AMI, which stated that the increase is “not mentioned in the narrative but hidden in the rules”.

The AMI was also critical of the decision to charge mortgage brokers for new work surrounding cryptocurrency under the regulator’s money laundering requirements, warning that some crypto firms cannot afford the costs.

AMI chief executive, Robert Sinclair, said: “I am infuriated by the arrogance of this new fees consultation. The impossibility for anyone to hold the FCA to account is becoming damaging to the industry.

“Surcharging networks a further 14.8% on appointed representatives, for issues that exist in other markets, continues to cause us significant concern.

“The assumption that mortgage broker customers can find the money to pay for the process to review and authorise cryptocurrency firms displays a total lack of appreciation of the thin margins that most brokers operate under.”

The AMI did indicate that the fees consultation does “deliver a good three-year plan and business plan”, and that it does “broadly explain the future”.

However, the body also highlighted that the repeat of the five-week consultation period remains “the shortest in memory”. The regulator has asked for comments to be made on its consultation paper by 12 May.

Sinclair added: “The senior team at the FCA have said they hope to have the time to engage more with the industry later in 2022 than they have been able to do during the COVID crisis. It is to be hoped that there is enough of an industry left by then, as the increasing regulatory cost burden makes this a less attractive place to be.

“It is death by a thousand cuts, with increasing FOS fees, FSCS costs, Consumer Duty and the raw cost of the FCA activity and fees. Good firms cannot just keep having an escalating bill.”

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