Q Advisor Group sets out licensing stance

Q Advisor Group will give advisers the choice of becoming a FAP in their own right or operating under its FAP licence under the new regulatory regime.

The group, formed in 2015, had been waiting for guidance on how regulators and banks would treat groups’ and advisers’ licensing arrangements.

Small groups have reported months of uncertainty on the subject, and feared banks and the Financial Markets Authority would insist on advisers working under a group FAP.

In recent weeks, groups, including Newpark Home Loans, have reported more constructive dialogue on the licensing issue.

Geoff Bawden, director of Q Group, said his group would become a FAP, adding he had been working towards that for “some time”.

He said recent discussions have given him more confidence that a FAP “can now belong to another FAP for mortgage aggregation purposes”.

Bawden added: “On that basis I have outlined the options to my advisers and I am giving them the choice. I have told them if they are unsure which way they want to operate then, to give themselves further time to decide, they should apply for a transitional licence.”

Bawden said Q Group had no preference on the choice of its members.

“From an operational perspective it makes no difference to me whether an adviser is a FAP. I will treat them the same in order to meet my commercial obligations to lenders,” Bawden added.

More small groups are setting out their stall on the new licensing regime. Newpark Home Loans managing director Andrew Scott says his firm is “coming to an agreement” with lenders around the new regime. Newpark wants its members to become FAPs under its own FAP licence.

Newpark will make its advisers undergo independent audits each year to make sure they adhere to banks’ standards, and will include a “principles-based approach” around duty and obligation into its broker agreement.

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