Terms of Business Effective 1st Jan 2023
Brian Melia, trading as Mortgage Options (Athenry)
COMPANY REGISTRATION NUMBER: 703672
This Terms of Business sets out the general terms and the basis on which Brian Melia, trading as Mortgage Options (Athenry) (Mortgage Options) will provide business services to you as a client. It contains details of our regulatory and statutory obligations and the respective duties of both the firm and you in relation to such services. Please note that by proceeding with your Mortgage Options quotation or policy you agree to the terms as laid out in this Terms of Business document. By accepting these Terms of Business you acknowledge that you have read and understand the information contained within your chosen quotation and/or policy. Please ensure that you read these terms thoroughly. If you have any queries we will be happy to clarify them. If any material changes are made to these terms we will notify you.
Authorisation with the Central Bank of Ireland
Brian Melia, trading as Mortgage Options (Athenry) is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as an Insurance Intermediary registered under the European Union (Insurance Distribution) Regulations 2018and as a Mortgage Credit Intermediary/Mortgage Intermedy authorised pursuant to Section 31(10) of the European Union (Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements) Regulations 2016 and Section 151A (1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1995. Copies of our regulatory authorisations are available on request. The Central Bank of Ireland holds registers of regulated firms. You may contact the Central Bank of Ireland on 1890 777 777 or alternatively visit their website at www.centralbank.ie to verify our credentials. Our Central Bank Reference Number is C6506.
Codes of Conduct
Mortgage Options is subject to the Consumer Protection Code, Minimum Competency Code and Fitness and Probity Standards which offer protection to consumers. These Codes can be found on the Central Bank’s website www.centralbank.ie.
Mortgage Options is a member of the Brokers Ireland. As a member of Brokers Ireland we must be in a position to place insurance with at least five insurers of the relevant form (life) and therefore can generally give consumers greater choice than agents and tied agents.
- the principal regulated activities of the firm are provided on the basis of a fair analysis of the market; and
- you have the option to pay in full for our services by means of a fee.
The concept of fair and personal analysis describes the extent of the choice of products and providers offered by an intermediary within a particular category of life assurance, general insurance, mortgages, and/ or a specialist area. The number of contracts and providers considered must be sufficiently large to enable an intermediary to recommend a product that would be adequate to meet a client’s needs. The number of providers that constitutes ‘sufficiently large’ will vary depending on the number of providers operating in the market for a particular product or service and their relative importance in and share of that market. The extent of fair analysis must be such that could be reasonably expected of a professional conducting business, taking into account the accessibility of information and product placement to intermediaries and the cost of the search. In order to ensure that the number of contracts and providers is sufficiently large to constitute a fair and personal analysis of the market, we will consider the following criteria:
- the needs of the customer,
- the size of the customer order,
- the number of providers in the market that deal with brokers,
- the market share of each of those providers,
- the number of relevant products available from each provider,
- the availability of information about the products,
- the quality of the product and service provided by the provider,
- cost, and
- any other relevant consideration.
New Business & Renewal
A consumer may cancel a contract of insurance, by giving notice in writing to the insurer, within working 14 days after the date the consumer was informed that the contract is concluded. The insurer cannot impose any costs on the consumer other than the cost of the premium for the period of cover. The consumer is under a duty to pay their premium within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance. A court of competent jurisdiction can reduce the pay-out to the consumer where they are in breach of their duties under the Act, in proportion to the breach involved.
Post-Contract Stage and Claims
An insurer may refuse a claim made by a consumer under a contract of insurance where there is a change in the risk insured, including as described in an “alteration of risk” clause, and the circumstances have so changed that it has effectively changed the risk to one which the insurer has not agreed to cover. Any clause in a contract of insurance that refers to a “material change” will be interpreted as being a change that takes the risk outside what was in the reasonable contemplation of the contracting parties when the contract was concluded. The consumer must cooperate with the insurer in an investigation of insured events including responding to reasonable requests for information in an honest and reasonably careful manner and must notify the insurer of the occurrence of an insured event in a reasonable time. The consumer must notify the insurer of a claim within a reasonable time, or otherwise in accordance with the terms of the contract of insurance. If the consumer becomes aware after a claim is made of information that would either support or prejudice the claim, they are under a duty to disclose it. (The insurer is under the same duty). If the consumer makes a false or misleading claim in any material respect (and knows it to be false or misleading or consciously disregards whether it is) the insurer is entitled to refuse to pay and to terminate the contract. Where an insurer becomes aware that a consumer has made a fraudulent claim, they must notify the consumer advising that they are avoiding the contract of insurance. It will be treated as being terminated from the date of the submission of the fraudulent claim. The insurer may refuse all liability in respect of any claim made after the date of the fraudulent act, and the insurer is under no obligation to return any of the premiums paid under the contract.
Life and Pensions
Mortgage Options provides life assurance, income protection, savings, investment products and pensions on a fair and analysis basis i.e. providing services on the basis of a sufficiently large number of contracts and product producers available on the market to enable us to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, regarding which contract would be adequate to meet your needs. We will provide assistance to you for any queries you may have in relation to the policies or in the event of a claim during the life of the policies and we will explain to you the various restrictions, conditions and exclusions attached to your policy. However, it is your responsibility to read the policy documents, literature and brochures to ensure that you understand the nature of the policy cover; particularly in relation to PHI and serious illness policies.
Specifically on the subject of permanent health insurance policies it is our policy to explain to you a) the meaning of disability as defined in the policy; b) the benefits available under the policy; c) the general exclusions that apply to the policy; and d) the reductions applied to the benefit where there are disability payments from other sources. For a serious illness policy, we will explain clearly to you the restrictions, conditions and general exclusions that attach to that policy.
Mortgage Options can provide advice on and arrange mortgage products from the following range: fixed-rate loans, variable rate mortgages, capital and interest mortgages, interest only mortgages, endowment mortgages, pension mortgages and residential investment property. Please note we hold agencies with Brokers Ireland Network Services Limited, Dilosk DAC and Haven Mortgages Limited. Mortgage Options provides mortgage advice on a fair analysis basis. (Providing services on the basis of a sufficiently large number of contracts and product producers available on the market to enable us to make a recommendation, in accordance with professional criteria, regarding which contract would be adequate to meet your needs). We will need to collect sufficient information from you before we can offer any advice on housing loans. This is due to the fact that a key issue in relation to mortgage advice is affordability. Such information should be produced promptly upon our request.
Do not assume a policy or cover is in effect until explicitly confirmed by Mortgage Options.
Sustainability Factors – Investment/Insurance Based Investment Product/Pension Advice
In accordance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (‘SFDR’), we inform you that when providing advice on insurance-based investment products/Investments, we do not assess, in addition to relevant financial risks, relevant sustainability risks as far as this information is available in relation the products proposed/advised on. This means that we do not assess environmental, social or governance events/conditions that, if they occur, could have a material negative impact on the value of the investment.
When providing advice on insurance-based investment products (‘IBIPs’) or investment advice, we do not consider the impacts of our advice that result in negative effects on sustainability factors (namely environmental, social and employee matters, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery matters), because currently there is limited relevant products on the market which meet these criteria. The area of sustainable is relatively new and as the issue progresses, we will review our position. We will review this approach on an annual basis in January each year.
We have not assessed the likely impacts of sustainability risks on the returns of Investment/Pensions since we have not been able to identify any sustainability risks that are relevant.
Disclosure of Information
It is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information for insurers or lenders when arranging an insurance policy or mortgage, throughout the life of that policy / mortgage, and when you are renewing it. It is important that you ensure that all information provided, and all statements made on proposal forms, statements of fact, claim forms, and other documents are, to your knowledge and belief, complete and accurate. Failure to disclose any material information to your insurers could invalidate your insurance cover and could mean that all or part of a claim will not be paid or your policy cancelled. Specific questions will be asked. Where you do not provide additional information (after being requested to do so) it can be presumed that the information previously provided remains unchanged. An insurer may repudiate liability or limit the amount paid on foot of the contract of insurance, only if it establishes that non-disclosure of material information was an effective cause of the insurer entering into the relevant contract of insurance and on the terms on which it did. Any failure to disclose material information may invalidate your claim and render your policy void. Completed proposal forms or Statements of Facts will be provided to you. These are important documents as they form the basis of insurance contract between the insurer and you the consumer. You should review and confirm that the answers contained within are true and accurate. If you have any doubts as to whether any information is material it should be disclosed.
Commercial Customers: Non-Consumer Disclosure of Information
It is essential that you should bring to our attention any material alteration in risk such as changes of address or use of premises. Any failure to disclose material information may invalidate your claim and render your policy void.
Remuneration and Fees
Mortgage Options may earn our remuneration on the basis of fee, commission and any other type of remuneration, including a non-monetary benefit or on the basis of a combination of these methods. A non-monetary benefit will only be accepted if it enhances the quality of the service to our clients. You may choose to pay in full for our services by means of a fee. Where you choose to pay in full for our service by fee, we will notify you in writing in advance and agree the scale of fees to be charged if different from fees outlined below. Where it is not possible to provide the exact amount, we will provide you the method of calculation of the fee. Where we receive recurring commission, this forms part of the remuneration for initial advice provided. We reserve the right to charge additional fees if the number of hours relating to on-going advice/assistance exceeds 2 hours. A summary of the details of all arrangements for any fee, commission other reward or remuneration paid or provided to us which have agreed with product providers is available in our office or on our website www.mortgageoptions.ie. In certain circumstances, it will be necessary to charge a fee for services provided. These are listed below for life, non-life business and Standard PRSAs. In other circumstances where fees are chargeable or where you choose to pay in full for our service by fee, we will notify you in writing in advance and agree the scale of fees to be charged if different from fees outlined below. If we receive commission from a product provider, this will be offset against the fee which we will charge you. Where the commission is greater than the fee due, the commission will become the amount payable to the firm unless an arrangement to the contrary is made. When assessing products, we will consider the different approach taken by product providers in terms of them integrating sustainability risks into their product offering. This will form part of our analysis for choosing a product provider.
You may elect to deal with us on a fee basis. Fees are charged on an hourly basis for services rendered and will reflect the seniority of the individual employee providing the advice or service. The current charge out rates is as follows:
Senior Advisers: €300 per hour
Support staff: €100 per hour
These rates will be reviewed from time to time and you will be notified of any changes implemented to the above scale. Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency. We will give an estimate of this rate in advance of providing you with services. If we receive commission from a product provider, this will be offset against the fee which we will charge you. Where the commission is greater than the fee due, the commission will become the amount payable to the intermediary unless an arrangement to the contrary is made.
Group Schemes, Executive Pensions, Personal Pensions, PRSAs
Level model: Up to 5% on annual contribution.
Initial and Renewal model: Up to 25% of initial contribution.
Annual renewal fee may also apply.
Where advice is requested for PRSAs, the following hourly fees will apply:
Advisor fees: €200 – €300 per hour
Support Staff: €70 – €100 per hour
Buy out Bond
Single Contributions: Up to 5% of contribution.
Annual renewal fee may also apply. Additional fees may be payable for complex cases or to reflect value, specialist skills or urgency.
2% – 5% of the amount Invested.
2% – 5% of amount invested and renewal fee may apply.
Term Assurance, Mortgage Protection, Specified Illness and Income Protection: Up to 180% of initial year premium and renewal fee may apply.
2% – 5% of investment amount and renewal fee may apply.
Up to 25% of initial year contribution and renewal fee may apply.
We may receive up to 1% (or whatever maximum is applicable) of the loan for arranging mortgage finance. This commission is paid by the mortgage lender. Mortgage Options may charge a fee up to €500 for the preparation, arrangement and administration of a mortgage application. This fee is in addition to any commission received from the mortgage lender. Please note that lenders may charge specific fees in certain circumstances and if this applies, these fees will be specified in your Loan Offer. You have the right to pay a fee separately and not include it in the loan. Typically, this situation arises in relation to specialist lending.
If we receive commission from a product provider [and off-set the commission against the fee which we would otherwise have charged you] but the commission is subsequently clawed-back by the provider because of early encashment by you or because of the transferring of the assets or business to another provider or in any circumstances consequent on your actions or omissions, we will charge a fee to you that is equal to [100% of] the clawed-back commission. That fee will be owing in simple contract upon the claw-back of the commission.
It is in your best interests that you review, on a regular basis, the products which we have arranged for you. As your circumstances change, your needs will change which may result in you having insufficient insurance cover and/or inappropriate investments. We would therefore advise that you contact us to ensure that you are provided with up to date advice and products best suited to your needs.
Conflicts of Interest
It is the policy of our firm to avoid conflicts of interest in providing services to you. However, where an unavoidable conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this in writing before providing you with any service.
Default on payments by clients
Our firm will exercise its legal rights to receive payments due to it from clients (fees and insurance premiums) for services provided. In particular, without limitation of the generality of the foregoing, the firm will seek reimbursement for all payments made to insurers on behalf of clients where the firm has acted in good faith in renewing a policy of insurance for the client. Product producers may withdraw benefits or cover in the event of default on payments due under policies of insurance or other products arranged for you. We would refer you to policy documents or product terms for the details of such provisions. Mortgage lenders may seek early repayment of a loan and interest if you default on your repayments. Your home is at risk if you do not maintain your agreed repayments.
This firm has a written procedure in place for the effective consideration and handling of complaints. Any complaints should be addressed in writing to the Managing Director, Mortgage Options. Each complaint will be recorded and acknowledged in writing within 5 working days of receipt, updates will be advised in intervals of not more than 20 days and we will endeavour to resolve a complaint within 40 business days and findings will be furnished to you within 5 working days of completion of the investigation. In the event that you are not entirely satisfied with the firms handling of and response to your complaint, you have the right to refer your complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO), 3rd Floor Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2, D02 VH29. Lo Call 1890 88 20 90.
Mortgage Options are subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Irish Data Protection Act 2018. The data which you provide to us will be held on a computer database and paper files for the purpose of arranging transactions on your behalf. The data will be processed only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given and as outlined in our Data Privacy Notice; this will be given to all our clients at the time of data collection. We will ensure that this Privacy Notice is easily assessable. Please refer to our website www.mortgageoptions.ie. If this medium is not suitable we will ensure you can easily receive a copy by hard copy, or telephonic environment. You have the right at any time to request a copy of any ‘personal data’ (within the meaning of the GDPR) that our office holds about you and to have any inaccuracies in that information corrected. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any concerns about your personal data. We may receive referrals from such firms and may advise them of any transactions arranged for you.
Compensation Schemes/Consumer Protection
- Investor Compensation Company Ltd. (ICCL)
Mortgage Options is a member of the investor compensation scheme established under the Investor Compensation Act, 1998 (“Act”). This legislation provides for the establishment of a compensation scheme and to the payment in certain circumstances, of compensation to clients of firms (known as eligible investors) covered by the Act. However, you should be aware that a right to compensation will only arise where client money or investment instruments held by the firm on your behalf cannot be returned either for the time being or in the foreseeable future, and where the client falls within the definition of eligible investor as contained in the Act. In the event that a right to compensation is established, the amount payable is 90% of the client’s loss, which is recognised as being eligible for compensation, up to a maximum of €20,000. For further information, contact the Investor Compensation Company Ltd. at (01) 224 4955.
- Brokers Ireland Clients’ Compensation and Membership Benefits Scheme (BIC)
We are also members of the Brokers Ireland Clients’ Compensation and Membership Benefits Scheme (BIC). Subject to the rules of the scheme the liabilities of its members firms up to a maximum of €100,000 per client (or €250,000 in aggregate) may be discharged by the fund on its behalf if the member firm is unable to do so, where the above detailed Investor Compensation Scheme has failed to adequately compensate any client of the member. Further details are available on request.
Governing Law and Language
The laws of Ireland form the basis for establishing relations between you and Mortgage Options. All contracts, terms, conditions and communications relating to any policies or services you may enter into with the firm will be in English.