The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) has been talking to the FCA over the 2020/21 regulatory fees to be levied on member firms.
The trade body said that, given the “extreme situations” facing society and firms it has requested that FCA considers deferring or reducing the fee costs facing firms.
The FCA has indicated that it will consult as part of its normal fees process on assisting smaller firms for July invoicing. There is no detail as yet on what that might comprise, but AMI warmly welcomes the support being considered. However, the 1,100 larger firms under FCA authorisation were required to make their ‘On Account’ payments on 1 April. These represent the bulk of the fees due in the year.
AMI considers that discriminating in favour of smaller firms is unfair on its other members. These larger firms have the same overheads and costs in proportion as smaller firms. Whilst able to meet these costs, these larger firms need to preserve cash to protect their business and staff in the same way as all in the economy. In making decisions which might include pay reductions, furlough or redundancy, having to make these payments increases the likelihood of having to make decisions which impact on people and their longer term business.
AMI says the housing and mortgage markets are changing rapidly and significantly. The FCA needs to be focussed on maintaining the integrity of the market for the recovery. It does not see the FCA making similar sacrifices as this week it announced the launch of its 2020 Apprenticeship Scheme. It continues to operate ‘business as usual’ as the firms it regulates struggle to manage their customers’ expectations whilst working from home.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of AMI, said: “We have asked for support for all our firms and have received some comfort. Firms are making decisions today to ensure they are here to support the recovery as we come out of lockdown.
“All firms need the same backing and I call on the FCA to reconsider this decision and not penalise larger firms by taking important cash from their bank at this difficult time. These firms are planning cash flow to year end and would really benefit from retaining cash in the business.
“We believe that government should be supporting the costs of our regulators at this time.”