One of the industry associations appears to have lost the confidence of brokers according to a recent straw poll.
According to The Adviser straw poll on the performance of the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), almost 80 per cent of the 483 respondents said that they believed the association had performed poorly over the past year.
Indeed, at the time of writing, of the respondents, 67.1 per cent (324) rated the MFAA’s performance as ‘very poor’, while a further 12.4 per cent (60) said it was ‘poor’.
Only 3.9 per cent said the MFAA’s performance this year was ‘good’. However, 7.9 per cent said ‘very good’ and 8.7 per cent were indifferent.
When contacted by The Adviser for a response to the poll, the MFAA head of marketing, Stephen Hale, declined to comment.
Call for 'damage control'
One of the MFAA’s most recent initiatives that left a number of brokers unhappy came in the form of a report earlier this month that probed broker commissions and the willingness of customers to pay a fee-for-service. The report, prepared by Deloitte, also looked at satisfaction levels of direct-to-lender mortgage customers.
Brokers commenting on the story largely slammed the report and questioned the findings, particularly in relation to fee-for-service.
The publication of the report comes after a troubling year for the industry association, which saw former CEO Siobhan Hayden step down in June over “strategic differences” with the board that are still not fully understood.
In September, one member of the MFAA’s lead team, Stephen Bisgrove, contacted The Adviser to reveal that he handed in his resignation on 24 August after becoming frustrated with the lack of support the industry body was providing to its brokers.
According to Mr Bisgrove, there is much more the MFAA could be doing for brokers in terms of education and support in light of the ASIC remuneration review.
"The board is now meddling and changing constitution...they are more worried about governance and how they look than running [the MFAA] for the true member and getting in front of ASIC.
“The ASIC review is really about making sure consumers are getting the best outcome. There are things that the MFAA could be doing to help brokers right now which they are not doing,” he said.
“They could be doing a lot more to prepare brokers, regardless of what the outcome will be.”
Mr Bisgrove held his leadership position at the MFAA for 12 months.
The news was met by a tirade of comments from brokers calling for "damage control".
"This keeps getting worse!" one broker said. "The MFAA are going to have to do some serious damage control to rebuild their brand. If they think they don't then they need more help than I thought.
"We demand more transparency from the MFAA, especially during the ASIC review. Given recent events the existing members of the board (who supposedly represent our industry) need to pull their heads in and get this sorted ASAP."
Another broker questioned the purpose of the industry body: "Why do we need MFAA? Since the inception of NCCP, the only reason they're still around is because it's either an aggregator or lender requirement. For $500 a year, all they seem to do is offer webinars and events - all at a cost (with the exception of a few training sessions). My aggregator does much more to help my business than the MFAA ever could. An outdated governance committee that exists for the sole purpose to exist."
Last week the industry body named Mike Felton, a 29-year veteran of banking and financial services, as its new CEO. While some readers welcomed the appointment, others took to The Adviser website to voice their disappointment that the new CEO had no broking experience.
One broker wrote: “Now more than ever having a broker aware CEO is necessary. I truly wish Mike all the best and I hope that he can provide what we as members are all craving.”
Speaking after his appointment, Mr Felton said his first priority will be to “listen and learn”.
“I’m looking forward to spending time with the board, the MFAA team, members and other stakeholders to understand and take stock of our current position,” he said.
[Related: MFAA appoints new CEO]
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.
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