If you are dealing with a mortgage broker it is a really good idea to find out a little about them, here is a quick list that we think should help you to navigate the financial waters and avoid potential sharks.
1. Are you individually regulated?: While many people work for a ‘regulated company’ they are often not regulated themselves, this means that if you have an issue that the recourse is to the company and if the person has done wrong they may lose their job but they can still go work somewhere else, we believe that by having individually regulated mortgage advisers it gives people the right message, that each individual in our organisation individually stands over their advice and actions, to the point that any issues fall directly upon their shoulders.
2. What qualifications do you have?: While there are many financial qualifications (ACCA, ACA, CPA, CFA, BComm, MScEcon etc.) the retail broker specific ones are QFA (qualified financial adviser) and LIAM dip (Life Insurance Association Mortgage Diploma), you should make sure that your adviser has at least some level of formal training in the advice they give, it won’t ensure that they get it right all of the time but it is a demonstration of their commitment to their profession, because financial regulation in Ireland only became modernised in 2003 there are many people who are authorised who have no formal qualification.
3. Do you have insurance?: By this we mean that they are part of the investor compensation scheme, that they also have public liability insurance.
These simple steps ought to help you weed out advisers who may not be up to scratch, it isn’t to say that an adviser without qualifications or individual regulation can’t do a good job, but when you have the freedom of choice why wouldn’t you opt for the ones who can prove their dedication and professional ability with a track record where formal education played a part in it and where they are willing to undertake the full responsibility of their actions via direct regulation?