Survey reveals the UK’s money-laundering hotspots

If you’re a Russian kleptocrat who wants to launder money through the UK to help finance Putin’s war in Ukraine, do it in Northern Ireland.

New data has identified the province as the UK’s most vulnerable area for dirty money.

The region’s exposure to money laundering is revealed in a comprehensive, cross-sector survey commissioned by SmartSearch, the UK’s leading provider of anti-money laundering (AML) software and solutions.

Decision-makers in 500 regulated UK businesses across the legal, property and finance sectors were questioned on a range of AML compliance issues.

In Northern Ireland, almost three quarters (71 per cent) of those who responded had not changed their approach to onboarding new customers since sanctions were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

And even more (85 per cent) had not changed their approach to monitoring existing clients since the start of the war.

A report this year by the commons foreign affairs committee revealed that the government was still failing to tackle Russian kleptocrats who were laundering cash illegally through the UK – claiming that some of it was being used to finance Putin’s invasion.

Since the incursion, an unprecedented 7,200 individuals and 1,250 entities have been added to the thousands of sanctions already affecting Russia since the war in Ukraine began.

Other regions most vulnerable to money-laundering included the South West and the West Midlands, where more than half (58 per cent) of the regulated firms who responded had not increased their checks.

Conversely, Wales was revealed as the part of the UK most likely to stop Russians laundering dirty money – nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of regulated firms in the country had increased checks on clients since the war began. Firms in London and Yorkshire were almost as vigilant, with more than one in six (63 per cent) upping their checks on new customers since the start of the war.

SmartSearch managing director Martin Cheek said: “These shortfallings are a far cry from proper due diligence and it’s no wonder that criminals and kleptocrats are taking advantage of these loopholes to wash their money in the UK.

“Electronic verification (EV) is the only robust way to monitor new and existing clients – it can even retro-screen them. It is the most effective way for firms to show they have sought to avoid sanction breaches and the fines and reputational damage which come with them.”

The survey is the second in SmartSearch’s continuing Electronic Verification Uncovered campaign, which aims to make regulated firms aware of the dangers of relying on flawed, old-fashioned methods of identity verification.

Mercantile Trust accepts automated bridging valuations up to 75% LTV

Mercantile Trust, the specialist bridging, buy-to-let and commercial lender, has introduced Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) into its bridging loan process.

AVMs are now available on residential bridging up to £100,000 and a maximum loan to value (LTV) of 75%, subject to confidence score and criteria.

Unlike the majority of bridging lenders which allow the use of AVMs, they are available with Mercantile Trust in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The lender adds that the broker controls when the AVM is run so they know very early on in the process if a traditional valuation is needed.

The introduction of AVMs complements other enhancements Mercantile Trust unveiled during 2022, including in-house and free legals on refinance applications. For those who require rapid finance, these changes collectively make bridging even more attractive, as they enable cases to be processed more quickly than normal.

Maeve Ward, director of commercial operations at Mercantile Trust, commented: “The introduction of AVMs is a further enhancement to our process and another step in our mission to improve the customer’s journey and reduce operating cost.

“We are committed to investing in technology and streamlining our existing processes to provide a platform that brokers can rely on to transact at speed. They can also be confident that they are partnering with a lender which offers flexibility and certainty of funding.”

Tuscan Capital appoints Jade Lidiard as underwriter

Tuscan Capital, the short-term property finance specialist, has today announced that Jade Lidiard has joined the lender as Underwriter.

Jade joins Tuscan Capital from United Trust Bank (UTB), where she spent a year as Underwriter/Relationship Manager in Structured Finance. Prior to that, she worked for nearly five years at MT Finance where she started in the New Business department and over time worked her way up to the position of Underwriter.

Jade began her finance career at MT Finance after graduating from Portsmouth University with a first class honours degree in Psychology.

She joins the underwriting team providing bespoke decisions across the lender’s short-term finance proposition and reports into Dena Thompson, Tuscan Capital’s Head of Credit and Risk.

Tuscan Capital provides non-regulated bridging finance to the residential, commercial, semi-commercial, HMO and mixed-use real estate sectors in England and Wales.

Colin Sanders, CEO at Tuscan Capital, said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Jade to Tuscan Capital. She joins to further improve the excellent underwriting standards that we are known for in the marketplace.

“Since our launch of our Fast Track service, demand for our products has further increased and we fully expect this to continue in 2023.

“Jade’s addition will further add to the wealth of experience in Dena’s team and we’re delighted to have her on board.”

Jade Lidiard, Underwriter at Tuscan Capital, commented: “It’s great to join Tuscan Capital and get back into the bridging market; I love the fast-paced nature of the sector.

“It’s clear that everyone at Tuscan really plays their part in making it such a dynamic place to work; it really is a lender that is truly responsive to the demands of the market. I can’t wait to get started.”

FICO Achieves Top 5 Ranking in the 2023 Chartis RiskTech100® Annual Report

Global analytics software provider FICO announced it moved up a spot from sixth place to top five for the first-time in the Chartis Research RiskTech100® annual report of the world’s leading risk technology providers. FICO again ranks number one in the Innovation, Artificial Intelligence Applications, Financial Crime – Enterprise Fraud, and Retail Credit Analytics categories. Marking first-time wins, FICO ranks number one in both the Innovation – Retail Finance and Innovation – AI and Decision Management Platform categories.

“FICO secured the top spot in the innovation category for the sixth consecutive year. That’s no mean feat given the quality of the competition. It’s really a testament to the company’s determination to fulfil its mandate as a global innovator. The critical differentiator for FICO is its continued investment in developing open architecture technology that consistently delivers reusability and repeatability. It’s fair to say many of FICO’s clients are in a very good place right now and are well positioned to meet consumer expectations for fast, smart, personalized decisions and solutions – delivered at speed and at scale,” said Sid Dash, research director at Chartis Research.

2023 marks the 17th anniversary of the RiskTech100® report. This inclusive report studies the world’s major solution providers in risk and compliance technology. The rankings reflect the analysts’ opinions, along with research into market trends, participants, expenditure patterns, and best practices.

“We are delighted to see that FICO is again recognized for delivering on our mission as a global innovator in applied intelligence. FICO Platform has unleashed an innovation mindset among our customers’ organizations. It’s a springboard for smart collaboration, a route to improving real-time decision-making and bringing new products and offers to market faster than ever. This enables our clients to better serve their customers with an exceptional and more personalized customer experience,” said Nikhil Behl, chief marketing officer at FICO.

One in ten have been a victim of financial abuse: what can you do?

The police recorded 910,980 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year to March 2022 – up 7.7% in a year. 85% of domestic partner abuse is non-violent, and of this 69% is emotional or financial abuse.

Our research shows 11% of people have been a victim of financial abuse. This rises to 15% of those aged 18-34, and 17% of those with children living at home.

Only 8% of us think a friend may have been a victim, and 6% think a family member has: 72% say they don’t know anyone who has faced financial abuse.

HL data from a survey of 2,000 people by Opinium in September 2022. Domestic abuse data released Friday 25 November: Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk):

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown said: “When life is impossibly expensive, it’s not a surprise to see a rise in financial abuse. And to make matters worse, those same rising bills and rents make it even more difficult for victims to leave. It means we all need to know how to spot if someone is going through this, and understand how to help our loved ones if they’re suffering.

“Domestic abuse isn’t always the stuff of soap operas. Most of it is a far more subtle and gradual grinding down of the victim, either emotionally or financially – or both. It can be difficult to realise what’s happening to you when you’re going through it, let alone from outside, so it’s no surprise that the vast majority of people don’t think they know anyone who has been through it. Given that more than one in ten people have been a victim at some stage in their life, it means an awful lot of suffering behind closed doors.

“Rising prices give abusers another tool for coercive control: a survey by Women’s Aid found that two thirds of abusers were using rising prices this way. They might try to make your situation worse by running appliances unnecessarily to hike bills in your name, or refuse to let you go out or do any of the things you enjoy – while they carry on spending as usual. They might take away things they have decided are too expensive – like your mobile phone. Or they may simply blame you for the problem, constantly telling you it’s your fault for spending money before the crisis hit.

“It can be difficult for people to understand why victims put up with the abuse, but it’s easy to feel like you have no choice. It often comes alongside other forms of emotional or physical abuse, so it can feel too dangerous to stand your ground. For those who push back, the abuser will ensure that the consequences are bad enough to stop you doing so again. Often the only option is to leave – and this can be incredibly difficult too. Not only is there the fear of reprisals, but also the fact that financial abuse will often leave you without money, so you don’t feel able to leave.

“An abuser can make sure you leave with no money and no job. They can deplete any savings you had and run up debts in your name, so you have a huge battle to get back to zero – let alone to have the financial strength to start again. When you try to take that step, higher rental charges and runaway bills can make it impossible to find a place of your own, so you feel trapped in a toxic relationship. According to Women’s Aid, three quarters of victims either said they couldn’t leave because of rising costs – or they found it much more difficult.

“If you claim Universal Credit, this creates an added problem, because usually couples who live together will make a claim as a couple and the money will be paid into one bank account. You can request the money to be split and paid into more than one account in special circumstances, however, in cases of coercive control, it isn’t always possible to make this request.

“It means that anyone facing abuse needs all the help they can get – both from professionals and from those who love them. It comes in all sorts of different guises, so it’s worth understanding exactly what it entails. And because victims may feel ashamed of what’s happened to them, or too afraid to talk about it, we need to know how to spot the signs, so we can step in when we need to.

What is financial abuse?

This comes in many forms, but here are a few examples:

  • Stopping you from studying or working
  • By contrast, forcing you to work longer hours or more jobs while they refuse to work
  • Demanding that all assets are held in their name
  • Making sure all bills and debts are in your name
  • Insisting you hand over your salary to them
  • Taking control of your bank account
  • Forcing you to ask for money for household expenses
  • Insisting on seeing receipts for every expense
  • Paying a household allowance that forces you into hardship
  • Not allowing you to spend money on yourself or your children
  • Paying for things and expecting something in return
  • Denying access to information about the household finances
  • Stealing money from you
  • Destroying your belongings
  • Controlling your use of your property – like a mobile phone or car
  • Withholding child maintenance payments

Who can help?

The police: If you feel in danger, call 999. Even if you plan to leave without the help of the police, they can support you later. They can take legal action to force your partner to leave your home, and stay away. If you have been forced to flee without your belongings, they can come home with you to fetch essential items.

A solicitor: If you have the money, this can be incredibly valuable, because they will push to ensure your rights are upheld and can establish court orders to keep you safe. If you cannot afford legal help, you may qualify for legal aid. Otherwise, you may be able to get support from charities.

Helplines: The National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by Refuge (0808 2000 247) will be able to explain the help on offer – from housing to financial or legal advice. The Financial Support Line for Victims of Domestic abuse is run by Money Advice Plus on 0800 196 8843.

Steps to take if you’re considering leaving

Sometimes it’s impossible, but if you can make any preparations it will help. If it’s possible, try to gain a picture of your finances, any joint accounts and any debts in your name. It can also make things far less stressful if you have key financial documents.

It may be too difficult right now, but if you can, try to save a small emergency fund, and possibly get a family member or friend to look after it for you. If you’re concerned that this will put you at risk, it’s much more important to stay safe.

Try to find a safe place to go. Speak to family and friends. People can feel so humiliated to find themselves in this position that they don’t reach out for help, but they may offer a place to stay while you get your life back together.  If they can’t help, domestic abuse charities may be able to find you space in a refuge.

Track down local support. There’s a really useful directory on the Women’s Aid website: Women’s Aid Directory – Women’s Aid (womensaid.org.uk)

Signs someone may be a victim

  1. They might have started spending less. Clearly there are all sorts of reasons why someone may be cutting back at the moment, so you’re looking for someone spending less when you know they have enough money, or doing so when their partner is spending as they like. They might refuse to come out when it involves spending money, or they may clearly be going without things they need – like winter clothes. If this is happening, it’s difficult to bring up, but it’s vital to ask why.
  2. They might have changed their working or studying patterns. There are plenty of reasons for this, and a lot of people are working overtime and extra jobs at the moment, so you may need to bite the bullet and ask whether there’s anything wrong. Similarly, if they stop work or their studies, this may be an indication they are being coercively controlled – particularly if they can’t really explain why.
  3. You may notice a change in their attitude. They may be anxious around things that involve money, or they might start talking about having to ask permission before spending, or not being allowed to. Again, plenty of people are anxious about money right now, but don’t assume this is just the result of rising prices without checking.
  4. They may seem in the dark about their own finances. Sometimes everyone will lose track of exactly where they stand, but if it seems their partner controls all the finances, has all the money paid into their account, refuses to reveal how much money or debt they have,  or makes all the decisions, then any of these things are worth asking about.
  5. They may withdraw from you. An abuser will deliberately cut their victim off from any support. If someone stops getting in touch, or stops coming out, don’t take it personally: check they’re OK.

Biggest weekend for online shopping beckons scammers

During the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, fraudsters are targeting online shoppers by offering bogus discounts and deals, spoofing websites of trusted retailers and stepping up phishing attempts—all in the name of exploiting consumers.

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning members of the public to think carefully before divulging their personal and financial information when shopping online.

Recent Cifas figures show a 34% increase in identity fraud compared to this time last year, as well as a sharp increase in facility takeover, where fraudsters gain access to an existing account, such as a bank account, and take control. This now accounts for 1 in 11 fraud cases on the National Fraud Database.To check whether a website you are visiting is safe or hiding malware— software that is designed to provide a backdoor to private information on your computer — shoppers are advised to use the Check-a-website tool launched earlier this year by Cifas and Get Safe Online.

Mike Haley, CEO for Cifas, said: ‘This time of year is fraught for consumers navigating the online retail space. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, fraudsters have been quick to update their tactics, zeroing in on people seeking the most affordable options whilst household budgets remain squeezed.

‘If purchasing goods online this weekend, be careful when parting with your personal or financial details and never click on links in unsolicited emails or from unknown mailing lists. To maintain confidence when shopping online, use our Check-a-website feature, and report any suspicious websites to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).’

Tony Neate at Get Safe Online advises: ‘With Christmas online shopping in full flow, now is the time to stop and think about how you shop online and what you can be doing to do so as safely as possible. Whenever buying online, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

‘Avoid paying by bank transfer as much as possible and always stick to the platform you are using to make a payment. Use a credit card if you can as this will provide the strongest protection if you are scammed.

‘Finally, if you’re using a website you haven’t used before, check it is genuine before you buy by using Get Safe Online and CIFAS’s ‘Check a Website’ feature on getsafeonline.org.’

Police to text 70,000 victims in UK’s biggest anti-fraud operation – comments from expert fraud lawyer

Further to the news that the Police have begun texting 70,000 victims of a major banking scam in the UK’s biggest anti-fraud operation, Nicola McKinney, Partner at Quillon Law, commented: “There are risks associated with the police using the same phone numbers that victims were scammed on to send them legitimate texts. Fraudsters will no doubt be alert to the police’s communication that victims can expect a text in the next 48 hours, and could tailor any fraudulent communications to correspond with that timeline.

“Whilst the police say they are aware of the potential dangers, it is unclear how they are mitigating the risks. Victims may understandably be reluctant to trust a communication received on their phone after previously losing money to an apparently credible message.

“The police are reportedly confident that the iSpoof website which assisted the fraudsters at a price was backed up before it was shut down. How the fraudsters came to have the victims’ phone numbers is unclear, and these contact details may be in the hands of other fraudsters who are still at large.

“Today’s police operation raises the broader question of whether this represents a change in how the police tackle fraud. The iSpoof website was reportedly identified as among those posing the ‘greatest risk’ to the public, with a large number of victims and up to £3 million in individual losses in one case.

“The iSpoof crackdown also included an element of cross-jurisdiction cooperation between police and other investigating bodies in the UK, The Netherlands and the USA, which may point to increased unity and cooperation between law enforcement agencies tackling international frauds.

“The Police’s method of communicating with the victims suggests that chronic underfunding within the police remains a serious problem. Whilst a strenuous logistical endeavour, a way to avoid having to contact victims by text message would be to arrange in-person meetings, which are far harder and riskier for fraudsters to impersonate.

“For victims of the fraud, there are unfortunately significant hurdles to ever being compensated for what they have lost. Victims often look to their banks for compensation, but with the banks providing more warnings via online banking apps, encouraging customers to consider any information they give out or to consider fraud risks when making transfers, a voluntary provision of a passcode may mean that banks will not be willing to make good these losses.

“Taking legal action to recover lost funds is an option that is unlikely to be available to most victims, and identifying the fraudsters or those holding the funds is likely to be nearly impossible without obtaining information from banks, which in itself could be a costly exercise. Speed is also of the essence, as funds are often transferred to inaccessible locations very quickly.

“The overall legal costs of taking civil action is likely to be prohibitive, and aside from instances where hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds have been lost is likely to be disproportionate.”

AYLIEN makes waves with trailblazing financial services innovation

Dublin, Ireland – AYLIEN, the award-winning news intelligence startup has today unveiled a pioneering breakthrough in financial services risk management which will send innovation shockwaves through the sector.

AYLIEN’s Risk Signals application has been selected as one of the first three applications to be offered via a first-of-its-kind procurement marketplace – the Innovation Data Platform or iDP, built by ORX, the largest operational risk management association in the financial services sector.

The world’s leading financial institutions are being given direct access to an AI-powered proactive risk monitoring solution, designed by the Irish-headquartered startup, which will turbocharge global innovation in risk management.

iDP is a ground-breaking platform providing banks and insurers one highly secure space to house and transform their risk data, as well as deploy pre-validated and accredited risk tech applications.

It’s designed to make innovating in risk management faster, cheaper and safer. Long procurement processes, different security standards and ways of handling data across financial services currently impact project development, increase costs and impede appetites to innovate.

Parsa Ghaffari, founder and CEO of AYLIEN, said: “The risk landscape is evolving faster than ever before, which means access to innovation is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have in risk management. However, certain barriers such as long procurement processes hinder a financial institution’s ability to access the latest innovation. For risk professionals, a central marketplace of tried and tested specialist providers is a game changer as it will turbocharge innovation, reduce risks, and enhance opportunities, while empowering risk teams.

“We’ve worked very closely with the iDP team in developing Risk Signals and we are incredibly excited about bringing the solution directly to our target market via this cutting-edge platform. Being chosen as a flagship vendor by an industry leader in ORX has really bolstered our expansion in the financial services space.”

The launch of today’s commercial partnership between AYLIEN and iDP cements the Financial Service sectors in the US and UK as the primary markets for the growing Series A startup.

AYLIEN’s Risk Signals product is the first of three solutions to be offered through the new ORX iDP platform. The solution informs customers when a potential risk is emerging, provides the investigation capabilities to validate and assess the risks associated with events, and simplifies documenting and reporting on critical risks where necessary.

Simon Wills, ORX Executive Director, said: “We are delighted to be working with AYLIEN on this exciting new venture. ORX is built on a strong foundation of finding innovative solutions to shared industry challenges. That’s what led to the development of our loss data service back in 2002, and it’s what has continued to drive the work we’ve done with our members ever since.

“However, due to the relentless pace of change in financial services, the need for digital solutions is now greater than ever. That’s what led us to begin working on this pioneering new platform, and we’re pleased that with applications such as AYLIEN’s, we are now seeing it come to life in our 20thanniversary year.”

AYLIEN’s AI-powered Risk Intelligence platform ingests, understands, and tags more than 1.5 million news articles every day in up to 15 languages, providing a powerful search and alert capability that highlights critical news events based on a customer’s third parties, counterparties, competitors and risk types and topics that matter to them.

Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning identifies and contextualises emerging risk events related to an organisation’s risk landscape.

With AYLIEN, risk management teams in the Financial Services sector are able to streamline traditionally labour-intensive, manual monitoring processes and free up analysts for more high-value work.

The company’s customers identify 10 times more potential risks while reducing their identification and investigation time by up to 95%.

Ghaffari added: “At the moment the financial services market is messy and lacks standardisation because each financial institution is working with individual producers independently and reinventing the wheel. With today’s announcement, we are convinced the procurement and innovation wheels will turn much more smoothly.”

AYLIEN was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. It works with a range of international banks, including Wells Fargo in the US, the European Investment Bank and Fidelity.

Homebuyer feeding frenzy starts to slow as less homes selling within two weeks of reaching the market

Research by estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has revealed that the frantic market conditions of the pandemic property market boom have started to fade, as the level of homes being snapped up within two weeks of being listed has fallen to 6.8% across the UK market, down from 11.2% six months ago.

Barrows and Forrester analysed for sale stock levels across the major property portals, looking specifically at homes that have been listed within the last 14 days, what percentage of these have already been sold subject to contract and how this has changed since June of this year.

The research shows that six months ago, 11.2% of all homes listed for no longer than two weeks were being snapped up by buyers across the UK market. Today, however, this proportion has fallen to just 6.8%, indicating a clear cooling in the manic market conditions that have gripped the property sector since the pandemic.

In fact, every area of the UK has seen a drop, suggesting that the high levels of buyer demand seen in recent years are starting to fade.

In Wales, 5.8% of homes listed within the last two weeks have been sold subject to contract, down from 12.3% just six months ago – the largest change at -6.5%.

Scotland (-6.3%), the West Midlands (-5.1%) and the East of England (-5%) have also seen some of the most notable reductions when it comes to home sellers securing a buyer within the first two weeks of listing their home for sale.

These regional trends are also apparent at city level, with Edinburgh (-13.9%), Glasgow (-8.7%) and Birmingham (-6.7%) seeing some of the largest reductions, along with Sheffield (-6.9%).

Just two cities are currently going against the wider grain. In Liverpool, 15% of all homes listed within the last 14 days are securing a buyer, up 4.5% versus the last six months, with Leeds also seeing a marginal uplift (+0.2%).

Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented: “The property market has been moving at an extreme pace in recent years, with a vast number of homebuyers fighting it out for limited stock as soon as it reaches the market.

“In many cases, we’ve seen numerous buyers offering on a property within weeks, if not days of it being listed online and this has been one of the driving factors behind the meteoric rates of house price growth that we’ve seen up and down the nation.

“However, this feeding frenzy certainly looks to be subsiding to some extent as the increasing cost of borrowing has dampened the appetite of the nation’s buyers.

“That’s not to say that homes aren’t still selling, or achieving a good price when doing so, but there has been a notable reduction in the urgency with which buyers are acting.”

Fleet Mortgages announce rate cuts across all five- and seven-year fixes

Fleet Mortgages, the buy-to-let specialist lender, has today announced rate cuts across all five- and seven-year fixed-rate mortgages for both 65% and 75% LTV.

From today, advisers can access the new pricing for fixed-rate deals which covers all three core product areas:

  • Standard/limited company products – 65% LTV five-year fix priced at 5.69% (from 6.39%) and 75% LTV priced at 5.79% (from 6.49%), with Fleet’s 75% LTV five-year fix Green mortgage product – available on properties with an EPC rating of C and above – now at 5.69% (from 6.39%). 75% LTV seven-year fix now at 5.83% (from 6.53%)
  • HMO/multi-unit block products – 65% LTV five-year fix priced at 5.83% (from 6.53%) and 75% LTV priced at 5.93% (from 6.63%), with the 75% LTV five-year fix Green mortgage product now at 5.83% (from 6.53%). 75% LTV seven-year fix now at 5.93% (from 6.63%)

Fleet has also changed its revert rate for all fixed-rate products after the end of the special rate to Bank Base Rate plus 3%. Formerly this was BBR plus 5% for standard and limited company products, and BBR plus 5.25% for HMO/multi-unit blocks.

The lender is also withdrawing its 80% LTV products, with completion fees moved to 2% for all products, and booking fees now at £199 for fixed rates.

Fleet’s range of Trackers remain unchanged with 75% LTV products for both standard and limited company Trackers available at a rate of BBR plus 1.75% while the HMO/multi-unit block Tracker is available at BBR plus 2%.

The recently launched 75% LTV Green Mortgage Tracker products are also still available, again to those landlord borrowers seeking to purchase or remortgage properties which have an EPC level of A through to C.

They come with a 10-basis points reduction off Fleet’s core Trackers with both standard and limited company offered at BBR plus 1.65%, and HMO/multi-unit block offered at BBR plus 1.9%.

Steve Cox, Chief Commercial Officer at Fleet Mortgages, commented: “With these new fixed-rate products we are effectively dropping rates by 70 basis points across the board, and now have a range of five- and seven-year fixes with prices all below 6%, some by a considerable margin.

“In recent weeks, we’ve seen a degree of stability return to the markets which means lenders like ourselves can be much clearer about our ability to fund longer-term fixes, which has translated into these significant price cuts.

“At the same time, we’ve also made the decision to withdraw our 80% LTV products – we acknowledge it is difficult to secure higher LTV mortgages at present because of the current rental stress rate environment, but will continue to review our options in this area if we feel there is a demand for such products.

“We’ve also simplified the range in terms of completion fees, shifting all to 2% which we believe is still competitive and inching our fixed-rate booking fees up to £199 after not changing these for the last eight years.

“Overall, we are very pleased to be able to cut rates across our entire fixed-rate product offering and coupled with our unchanged tracker range, believe we have a very strong proposition to support advisers and their landlord borrower clients.”