Visitors to the FSA’s website can now compare a range of financial products including mortgages. 1,300 mortgages from 100 providers are listed on the site, so consumers are not spoilt for choice. However, there is some concern that consumers may not actually use the tables.
The UK’s Financial Services Authority has launched a series of comparative mortgage tables.
The UK’s Financial Services Authority has launched comparative mortgages tables. It now allows visitors to its website to compare unit trusts and OIEC ISAs, personal and stakeholder pensions, investment bonds, mortgages and savings endowments. It also plans to launch comparative annuities tables in early 2003 and has recently launched a pension calculator in conjunction with the Association of British Insurers.
The range of mortgage features that can be compared in the FSA’s tables is impressive. Penalties, additional fees, incentives and flexibility are important features of today’s mortgage market and have won a place in the tables. Furthermore, as the FSA is not trying to sell the user anything, the tables can be treated as truly independent. They provide the user with a shortlist of best-suited products who is then able to go direct to the lenders concerned or by discussing their options with a mortgage broker.
But while not wanting to ruin the FSA’s party, the regulator’s tables do little that other websites don’t already do. Users of the FSA’s tables can’t buy a mortgage on the FSA site. Yet, some may want to, making the comparative tables offered by the likes of Moneysupermarket.com and Moneyextra.com potentially more attractive. Users of these sites can both compare mortgages from a wide range of providers and apply online.
Indeed, other consumers may not feel a need to use the FSA’s tables because they expect their mortgage broker to do all the hard work for them. Consumers won’t exactly have to ‘wade through thousands of policies’ as some commentators have claimed but they may still perceive using the tables to be too much effort.
Time will tell whether the FSA’s comparative tables prove successful: the motives are certainly commendable, but whether there is the consumer need or desire is another matter.
Related research: Datamonitor, UK Mortgages 2002 (DMFS1505)
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