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FCA confirms launch of intermediary comparison tool

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The FCA has confirmed plans to launch an online tool which allows consumers to compare intermediaries. In its Mortgage Market Study, the regulator said it is difficult for consumers to compare intermediaries and current tools are "limited in both scope and coverage".

Participants from a working group agreed that the new Single Financial Guidance Body, which will be known as the Money and Pensions Service, should host the tool as an addition to the existing MAS Retirement Adviser Directory.

Other feedback supported the inclusion of information on fees, the number of lenders intermediaries place business with, areas of particular expertise such as lifetime mortgages, channels for communicating advice, and adviser certifications and qualifications.

It also encouraged close links with the FCA's Financial Services Register and its proposed Directory.

The FCA said information about intermediaries’ services should clearly show the extent to which an intermediary uses a broad or narrow range of lenders and products, distinct from the range of products they offer.

In its Study, the FCA said: "We believe this will incentivise intermediaries to use more lenders. This should drive up quality among intermediaries and improve competition between them (as well as competition between lenders). This might also help consumers referred to an intermediary by estate agents and/or developers. Consumers would be better placed to identify whether that intermediary offers the level and quality of service that they want."

The Money and Pensions Service will undertake discovery work during Q2 and Q3 to scope the project and establish exactly what information will be presented on the directory and in what format.

Posted by MMB Finance Swindon and Gloucester on 13 April 2019