06 March, 2015
The second-charge sector is busy gearing up for March 2016, when the market will have to adhere to the same rules as the first-charge mortgage market. As part of this, all advisers will need to hold the relevant mortgage qualification. The Financial Conduct Authority is giving firms until 21 September 2018 to ensure mortgage sellers have a Level 3 qualification, yet many brokers and lenders have already started the process of training their advisers. Loan Introducer speaks to Martin Day, vice principal at ifs University College, about what firms should expect from the exams.
Q: Have you seen a large number of second-charge brokers apply to sit their mortgage qualification?
A: The implementation of the MMR has certainly seen an increase in registrations for the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP). These registrations represent the whole of the mortgage advice sector so it is fair to assume that there will also have been a rise in the number second-charge brokers registering for the qualification.
Q: How long does it take for the average adviser to complete their CeMap exam?
A: CeMAP is widely regarded as the industry benchmark qualification, largely because it is rigorous, relevant and appropriate to mortgage advisers operating in the market. As one would expect, completing CeMAP represents a significant achievement in terms of study. As it is a distance-learning qualification, students can take as long as required for them to complete three necessary modules that make up the qualification enabling them to fit their studies around professional and personal commitments. To complete the qualification generally takes around six to nine months.
Q: Is it expensive?
A: The qualification costs £164 for each of the three modules which includes the learning materials and assessment.
Q: Is there any further training that needs to be done after CeMap?
A: CeMAP meets the examination standards set by the regulator for anyone wanting to operate as a mortgage adviser, so there is no regulatory requirement for students to continue studying after its completion. It is obviously important that, once qualified, advisers keep their knowledge up to date and ifs University College encourages all its students to continue their learning throughout their careers.
Q: Do you have a large pass rate? Are there any areas that brokers normally stumble on?
A: Each student’s learning and professional experience is different so it is difficult to assess whether any particular areas are more or less challenging than others.
Q: Are you working on any new qualifications for the mortgage/loan industry?
A: We are in constant dialogue with sector bodies, employers, and professionals to ensure its qualification provision meets the needs of the industry and inform the development of new programmes. Over the last 12 months we have launched or redeveloped a number of programmes in areas such as debt management, supervision and complaints handling.
Q: Are you seeing an increase/decrease in the number of young people wanting to get into financial services?
A: An increasing number of registrations are coming from those aged 30 and under. Research carried out by ifs University College found that registrations from this age group rose from 25% in 2008 to 46% in 2013. Added to this, 2013 also saw one student, Laura Evans, achieve both her CeMAP and DipFA qualifications, aged only 17.
Q: Do you welcome the ruling in the MMR that all advisers need to be qualified? Do you think more needs to be done to educate advisers?
A: We welcome any initiative that supports and promotes professionalism in the financial services industry. Qualifications are an effective means to raise professional standards and create positive outcomes for the industry, its advisers and its consumers. Most importantly, mortgage advisers themselves, who have taken CeMAP, have told us that the MMR will be successful in its aims. Research carried out last year shortly after its implementation revealed that a majority of advisers believe MMR will lead to the promotion of a more responsible lending culture, greater fairness and consistency in lending criteria and greater stability within the sector.