The MFAA is radically changing its member offering, by segmenting the industry through tiered professional qualifications.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, MFAA chief executive officer Phil Naylor said the industry body would be redefining exactly what constitutes a professional broker and encouraging all of its members to become fully qualified ‘professional credit advisers’.
Under the proposed framework, all MFAA members will be required to meet certain educational standards. Members will be required to have an MFAA recognised diploma in addition to their certificate IV qualifications, and meet a higher level of continuing professional development (30 hours CPD) for annual practising certificate renewal.
Qualifications for members will be tiered under the umbrella of "Professional Credit Adviser", enabling members to be Associate Credit Advisers, Credit Advisers or Certified Credit Advisers, depending on their knowledge and experience level.
The MFAA has proposed a transitional period ending 1 July 2012 for existing members and earlier (1 January 2011) for new members, to facilitate members' compliance with the new professional development strategy.
“The focus is not who is our membership, it’s more about what we represent moving forward into the future,” Mr Naylor told The Adviser.
According to Mr Naylor, being an MFAA professional credit adviser will not only help brokers improve their own professionalism but also raise their profile among consumers.
“The position earlier was that brokers were not advisers, because they did not want to be caught under the Australian Financial Services licensing regime. However, we will have our own legislation now – the National Consumer Credit Protection Act – and this will change the face of how the whole mortgage broking industry is perceived by consumers,” he said.
“Being a member of the MFAA post licensing will give members that competitive edge – the national licence is just a ticket to practice, but the MFAA standards will set the standard for quality brokers across Australia.”
Intelligent Finance managing director Justin Doobov said the MFAA's push towards professional credit advisers was a step in the right direction.
"It will help brokers be percieved as professionals, which is ultimately how we want to be seen," Mr Doobov told The Adviser.
"The requirements the MFAA will put in place are just the bare minimum. Any broker that considers themselves to be a professional should well and truly exceed the criteria anyway. At the end of the day, brokers don't want to be bogged down in regulation, so I think the MFAA has created a framework that strikes the right balance."
Mr Naylor said the industry body would be posting a copy of the drafted professional credit adviser framework to all of its members in order to help them understand the educational requirements and prepare for the new initiative.
The adviser framework was first released in December last year.
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