The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has accused the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of being more opaque than transparent with fees.
The trade body said the new FCA regimes second fees consultations not been an improvement on last year’s.
It said that: “Whilst delivering a good three year plan and business plan, which does broadly explain the future, there is still a serious disconnect with the approach to fees.”
Once again there has been a five-week consultation period, the shortest in memory. The consultation includes a 14.8% increase in the Appointed Representative levy on networks which is not mentioned in the narrative, but is in the rules, as well as significant increases to the minimum fee phased over two years.
Meanwhile, AMI says there is an assumption that firms can just pay for the FCA’s National Insurance increases by passing it all on in fees with no consideration of prioritisation that AMI firms have to go through.
There is also a decision to charge mortgage brokers for the new work on cryptocurrency because they are obliquely captured under Money Laundering requirements.
Robert Sinclair (pictured), chief executive of AMI, 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 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.”