Make joining AMI your top 2005 resolution - says Chris Cummings
Top of his list of New Year’s resolutions, a friend told me over Christmas, was to get more organised. “At least”, he added, “I think that’s what’s top of my list – unfortunately I seem to have lost the list…”

His partner, a management consultant, suggested that he really should put his list on a computer. That way he could refer back to it if he wanted, confident that he need never worry about losing a paper list again.

He looked at her, grinning, and said: “And I suppose your firm would have charged me a couple of grand for that advice?” “Oh no, we’d charge a lot more than that, especially if you’d already lost your list,” she smiled.

She was right though - if you have to ask for advice after you need it, the chances are it is going to be an expensive and probably time consuming business too.

It’s a principle that we have applied at AMI – the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries - and it’s one that I know Nick Baxter ascribes to as well. It’s also a very good reason to join AMI.

Now that we live in a regulated world, it would be tempting to think that all we have to do is abide by the rules and life will be plain sailing. As you have probably already found, that is not always the case.

For one thing, regulation does not stand still. Regulators and governments can’t resist tinkering and fine tuning their rules, which means that we must be ever vigilant both to help regulators create the right rules and regulations and to ensure that they do not ignore the needs of the people they are regulating.

That is why a large part of our work is with bodies such as the FSA and the Ombudsman and with the Government direct, both in the UK and mainland Europe. By creating and maintaining a strong dialogue, we look to influence positively their actions. Representing such a large part of the mortgage intermediary sector, our views are listened to, whilst we also have the experience and knowledge to be able to suggest better solutions or to help dismiss ideas that clearly have not been thought through sufficiently.

How to make regulation work for you
But AMI is much more than just an organisation lobbying and campaigning on your behalf – important as those roles are. So, we produce a regular newsletters on new regulation which answers three simple questions:

We also publish Member News. This is a regular e-mail newsletter that explains regulatory changes, compliance issues, market news and special offers.

Practice Notes
Our free best practice notes will also be invaluable too to your business. These plain English factsheets and guides explain how to survive and thrive in a regulated world. For example, existing practice notes cover how to offer general insurance advice, how to set up a T&C scheme and what a compliant sales process looks like plus a whole host of other practical issues.

The answer’s just a call away
The AMI members’ only website is information-rich, providing an invaluable source of regulation help, factsheets, guides and specialist services. Or, you can use the free Regulation HelpDesk to get answers to regulatory, compliance and market information questions from our dedicated team. Like all our services, the focus is not only on plain English but also on helpful, practical and authoritative advice that you can really use.

As if that wasn’t enough, AMI’s regular meetings and events are both an opportunity to hear first hand about developments and issues and also to join with fellow practitioners to share ideas, concerns and gossip.

Special discount
And, as a great way to get the New Year going, Nick has negotiated a 20% reduction on fees for all Mortgage Promotions members. Not only that, but that’s a reduction off our 2004 fees, so we have also ignored 2005’s inflation adjusted fees - giving you a double saving.

As a non-commercial trade body our job is simply to give you all the help, information and guidance you need not just to survive but to thrive in this new era of regulation. And, because your membership covers the whole firm, all services effectively cover every single person in your firm.

Fees are payable monthly or annually by direct debit or annually by cheque. To join AMI simply phone or email to get hold of a form and post it back to us. Then enjoy, straight away, the countless benefits that AMI membership will bring to you and to your business.

AMI membership offers remarkable value for money. Even more so if you compare our fees with the cost of needing to employ a lawyer or other specialist for a few days’ work after finding out you missed or misinterpreted some new rule or other…