The association has addressed recent criticism from brokers and acknowledged that its communication with members has suffered this year.
In a letter to members on the eve of its AGM, the chairman of the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), Cynthia Grisbrook, said 2016 has been a “difficult year” for the association.
Ms Grisbrook cited a recent straw poll by The Adviser that found almost 80 per cent of the 483 respondents said that they believed the association had performed poorly over the past year.
“As a board, we are disappointed to see this story in the media, especially in light of some of the issues it raises about communications to members, and our engagement with ASIC on its Remuneration Review and other issues. We will redouble our efforts to communicate to members on the work we are doing on their behalf.
“I acknowledge that 2016 has been a difficult year for the MFAA, and we have spent significant time rebuilding the organisation, and reviewing our activities and capabilities. This year has also seen an unprecedented level of regulatory issues, which has meant our efforts have been directed more than ever on meaningful engagement with government. Unfortunately, as a result of this, member communication has suffered.”
However, since The Adviser ran the poll results on Tuesday, the MFAA has communicated to its members more than once and provided a comprehensive overview of its activities.
Ms Grisbrook highlighted the appointment of a new CEO last week and said the MFAA will continue to address the series of reviews and inquiries facing the industry, including ASIC’s Remuneration Review.
However, some brokers believe there is still room for improvement among industry associations, particularly around consumer advocacy.
Brisbane-based broker George Samios, who was crowned The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year on Friday, said there is much more industry bodies could be doing for their members.
“We all pay them our fees every year and they could be doing a lot more to help benefit us,” Mr Samios told The Adviser. “Why can't they advertise on TV and radio and push people to go to a mortgage broker? With all the money we pay them, I don't really see any money going on advertising for us.”
However, fellow young broker Joel Wyld, who was ranked 7th in this year’s 30 under Thirty report, is part of the MFAA Young Professionals initiative and says the association is working hard to drive the industry forward.
“They're really trying to understand how to attract new people to the industry,” Mr Wyld told The Adviser. “We go through workshops and they do send out information to brokers, and I'm sure a lot of them don't read it,” he said.
“But if you want the MFAA to do more for you, contact them and tell them. They're really keen to hear.”
In a separate letter to members yesterday, Ms Grisbrook explained that she has led a series of broker roundtables in five capital cities around the country, to give members the opportunity to hear more about MFAA’s advocacy activities and provide feedback from the industry’s perspective.
The roundtables, which were held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, represent an important part of the MFAA’s ongoing mission to represent the entire industry with stakeholders, and to update members of progress, she said.
“The MFAA has stepped up its efforts to engage all levels of government and key regulators in 2016, and is now holding regular meetings with Commonwealth ministers in key portfolios such as Treasury and small business, as well as regulators such as ASIC,” Ms Grisbrook said.
“These meetings are designed to inform stakeholders about the role the industry plays in Australia, advocate on behalf of members, understand government feedback on the industry and give MFAA a voice in critical policy conversations.
“These broker roundtables are part of a more proactive effort to keep our brokers informed of our sustained engagement with government and regulators at all levels.”
Ms Grisbrook added the association has done “an incredible amount of work” to advance brokers’ interests with stakeholders, but conceded it must do more to keep brokers informed of its activities.
[Related: Brokers slam MFAA performance]