It's reassuring for the reputation of the wider industry to see that the FSA are continuing their clampdown on rogue mortgage advisers.
With the banning of four advisers over recent days and some large fines it takes the total to 17 enforcement actions since the start of the year. This includes enforcement action on four firms for poor sales procedures in May and a hefty £900,000 fine for Thinc Group for problems with its sub-prime documentation.
Despite repeated warnings from the FSA, advisers are still falling foul of their record keeping and further enforcement is surely on the cards as the noose tightens on the mortgage miscreants.
Given the FSA’s stance, it’s a great opportunity for responsible advisers to go back to basics in terms of the management of their firms and to revisit their core practices. The risks are too high to ignore putting fundamental systems and processes in place.
Some key deficiencies have come to light over recent months that indicate a basic lack of business awareness and good practice by some. I’m not talking about vast infrastructure but the day-to-day running of the businesses. For example, because some firms do not have business plans or contingency options, they threaten their own sustainability as well as risking incurring the wroth of the FSA.
So what can be done to help advisers who are feeling the strain of meeting their compliance commitments as well as making ends meet in the current difficult climate? There are some simple, quick and cost-effective solutions on the market to assess whether your company is on track with its compliance commitments.
There is no longer any need to invest in expensive on-site consultancy or monthly retainers to assess whether your firm is meeting its commitments. You can get yourself a compliance health check for just a few hundred pounds and an hour or so of your time.
These packages will establish what progress you have made towards achieving compliance in all key areas, and advise you on action you can take to achieve 100% compliance. They basically amount to a compliance health check that will provide peace of mind and help to keep you a step ahead of the FSA when they come knocking and there is a one four chance of that happening.
With these smart compliance solutions available advisers can still stay focused on what they do best – looking after the needs of their clients – but safe in the knowledge that there are no dreaded compliance issues on the horizon.
Julie Alderson is director, MS2M
The views expressed in this blog are those of the individual.IFAonline
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