In order to stand out to hirers in an increasingly competitive market, a growing number of financial contractors are upgrading their skills to include mortgage qualifications, the Recruiter website reports.
According to a nationwide study of 173 contractors, the majority of whom work in the area of financial conduct risk, 15% of respondents currently hold a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (Cemap). An additional 11% had plans to acquire this qualification within the next year.
Commenting on the development, a spokeperson from financial services and technical recruiter Grovelands – who conducted the report – expressed that mortgages were likely to become a topic of growth among financial service contractors.
This is partly a consequence of the Financial Conduct Authority's 2012 Mortgage Market Review, which has generated more work by introducing new policies about how individuals are assessed when applying for a mortgage.
"We are seeing increases in cases where consumers argue this was not done correctly or where new levels of testing make it impossible for certain consumers (who are credit worthy) to pass," the spokesperson stated.
Furthermore, concerns have been raised over how consumers are treated by mortgage providers when they have difficulty making a payment. While the focus "should always be on helping and assisting with any difficulties," said the spokesperson, some banks and building societies have come under fire for poor handling of customers who were struggling to make ends meet.
With cases of this kind increasing, clients are also having to increase their recruitment to help meet the growing demand for help. But with PPI cases now tailing off, the market has "become flooded with readily available, qualified people in need of work" - meaning that clients are now in a much better position to request certain qualifications and experience.
"This is also why we have seen a decrease in flexible working for contractors," they explained. "Contractors are treated far more like perm staff by management which means their flexible working is reduced."